Damn. I really have no idea how this post will go, let alone begin. I’m going to try to not over-think or over-edit my thoughts and just get them down before I change my mind. I used to have some pretty cut and dry, one or the other type views on relationships that pretty much boiled down to:
You’re happy with them or you’re not.
You’re together or you’re not.
Without delving into the details, I currently find myself in a gray area of these two realms. Humans are complex, dynamic creatures. So is it that surprising that our relationships are not simple and one dimensional? As I work through some things, I have reflected on many different components of love and relationships.
Now, this will sound terrible, but as of late, I have felt comforted by the recent and seemingly constant difficulties my friends, coworkers, and even strangers I’ve overheard have been going through when it comes to the matters of the heart. I think the best remedy for pain/struggle/falsely believing that we’re the only one experiencing what we’re feeling…. is realizing we are, in fact, not alone in our feelings. Perhaps, the same hurdles that plague us are plaguing someone we know and the way they handled it can teach us something and vice versa.
I’m in no way claiming to have cracked the code. I suppose it’s a compilation of a few of my thoughts, observations and experiences that maybe you can relate to.
Part of me cringes thinking of who might be reading this; that people would think certain things about me. But ya know what? Life is about being vulnerable, connecting, and sharing and learning. I am fortunate to have a handful of really caring and loving friends & family in my life that have helped me tremendously during various times of heartache or frustration. So I’ll tell myself this is for the person that might not have those kinds of people to turn to. If this microscopic corner of the internet that I take up helps you…then #WORTHIT.
This list isn’t definite or complete. Inevitably, things will be added to it over time. That is the point, isn’t it? To evolve, change, learn from our relationships, experiences, love, and loss. Crushes, hookups, flings, committed relationships, long distance, and those “almost” relationships that weren’t official but weren’t just friends have made their marks on this list.
You might be saying, “Syd. Yo, this list sounds kinda…negative.” And to that I would say:
Mmmm…yes and no.
I’ve learned more about what successful and happy relationships are by experiencing what they are not. I’ve had many beautiful memories amidst the tough times as well. None of these points are jabs at any of the people part of my past. Even the suckiiiiiiiiest ones have taught me something. Some of these things I’m still working on and others I’ve nailed down. The blunt, matter-of-fact pieces of advice shared with me when I was/as I am going through it were/are the most effective so I suppose this is patterned in a similar outline. The stuff that’s so beyond obvious, no brainer, easy to point out when you’re not in the situation. The same stuff you ignore and lie to yourself about when you are in the situation. I am not going to bullshit you, sis.
Without further ado, my mind and heart purging in no particular order:
Hey, Sis: No response…is a response.
Hey, Sis: Relationships take work and effort. They’re not easy but at the same time they shouldn’t be that hard. The kind of hard that doesn’t flow. That feels unbalanced in effort. That feels forced. That the sacrifices aren’t bringing you closer together but leaving you still feeling distant or unhappy.
Hey, Sis: Timing. Timing. Timing. The make or break of many relationships. The only other one killing more relationships being: ineffective or incompatible communication styles.
Hey, Sis: Every person has different communication methods. Can’t fault them for theirs. You’ll need to acknowledge each others and find how to work with them. But. If it’s not working, it’s not working.
Hey, Sis: Keep your edge. Keep your friends, your hobbies, your interests. Keep your own life and your own goals progressing and flourishing. Let the guy/gal be someone that adds to your life and not becomes your life. It’ll not only make you better, exponentially more attractive, but fulfilled regardless of how the relationship pans out.
Hey, Sis: Your feelings ARE valid. They are how you feel. No one can tell you how you are/aren’t feeling but you.
Hey, Sis: No one is busier than someone that is not interested in you. People make time for what/who is important to them. Period.
Hey, Sis: It shouldn’t be a power struggle, a winner/loser, an upper hand. It’s a team. A partnership.
Hey, Sis: You are extending your pain so much longer and more intensely than you need to when you attach memories. Don’t confuse real memories of the past with false realities of the present. When things are bad or coming to an end your mind will naturally revert to the beginning or the middle; to the highs and the best parts. To the times before whatever has lead you to be unhappy, to leave, or be left.
Hey, Sis: Your gut is almost always right. Listen to it.
Hey, Sis: Not everything has to be looked at so fatalistically black or white. “Failed.” You hear that so fucking much when it comes to relationships not working out. You failed. It failed. It’s failing. Failing to me is what happens when you’re not prepared or willing to try; when you’re not willing to be wrong; when you haven’t learned from your experiences or mistakes; when you quit.
Hey, Sis: But in the same respect. I don’t think it’s quitting when you’ve done absolutely everything you could to make it work. Given every last ditch effort. Sometimes things have run its course. Or the timing is wrong. And while it may be difficult and painful to walk away, you still have had some amazing memories and time with that person and that is not a waste.
Hey, Sis: Do not stay with someone if you are not happy because you don’t want to make them sad. Breaking up is hard. Duh. If it was easy, there wouldn’t be this ghosting phenomenon we have today.
Hey, Sis: Not everyone deserves you. Your time, energy, love.
Hey, Sis: People come into our lives for a reason. People come into our lives for a season. And few come into our lives for life.
Hey, Sis: Speak up. About your needs. Your concerns. The things they do you love. Your goals. Things that don’t sit well with you. No one is a mindreader. You, included.
Hey, Sis: Hooking up, Friends With Benefits, whatever you want to call it…only works if you each talk about and understand the terms from the jump. If you or the other person says they’re not looking for a relationship...they or you cannot get butt hurt if they follow through with what they told you in the first place and do not pursue a relationship with you.
Hey, Sis: You can’t go into something or stay in something on the condition or wish that the other person will change. While it is possible, it’s never guaranteed. Look how hard it is to change things about yourself. You can’t change people. You can support, encourage, help, listen. But change and lasting change must intrinsically come from them. Or you, if that’s the case. I’ve never been married but have seen too many people believe this falsehood that “once we’re married, _____ will be different or ____will change.” Bruh, don’t kid yourself. Those same issues will follow into married life.
Hey, Sis: Not everyone in a relationship is happy. Not everyone who is single is miserable. Quit idolizing or comparing people you see on social media or even in real life. We won’t ever know all the facts nor is it our right so how could we ever really know how it actually is.
Hey, Sis: Being in a relationship won’t solve all your problems. It’s not the cure-all.
Well I think I’ll cap this list here for now. I hope that you took each of these with a grain of salt. Or maybe a mound. I am a weird romantic/realist blend. Best of both worlds but it does make for a periodic conflict within my very own thoughts about how I perceive things to be.
As much as we each might like to be the exception to the rule, the one they’d change their ways for, the unlikely underdog that comes out on top at the end…you got to look at people’s actions. Not their words.
I really think it all boils down to those elements. You have so much about you that makes you great that have nothingggg to do with your looks. Do not confuse what you’re offered with what you’re worth. This is the time of our lives to be selfish with our investments. Invest in yourself and in people that will grow with you. And learn to thank and release the ones that are no longer coming with you on your growth journey.
Real love is out there. Stay soft for it. Sharpen your wits about yourself. “Not all guys are garbage. Not all girls are crazy. Most are damaged. Many confused.”
I truly appreciate everyone that finds themselves reading these messy words.
Hey, Sis: don’t stress. They’re out there. Make yourself happy first.