In our modern society, people have an idealised version of dating and relationships but are rarely actually willing to create a functioning partnership. We are collectively obsessed with the status of “being with someone” portraying it as the holy grail, the ultimate achievement. Not even achieving actual connection and intimacy, but just constantly having that relationship “slot” fulfilled.
Paradoxically, that reflects horribly on the actual quality of our relationships. Just because you are with “someone”, just anyone, doesn’t mean that relationship is good and adds positive value to your life. Sometimes being in a relationship just means someone is holding your hand while you still keep crying. It doesn’t solve all your problems or make all of your worries go away. There is a big chance, that if you enter into a relationship with a person, who doesn’t respond well to you and you were depressed before, you will still be as depressed being with this person, if not more.
We all have parts of us that are still like children. These parts in us never truly grow up. The problem in adulthood is proper management of this part of us, because now if we keep making more of a mess in our lives, there is no parent figure to clean up after us.
The reality in any relationship is that when you enter into it, you are also entering into a partnership with this person’s inner child, that might be more or less damaged. As you move in together, years pass, the initial attraction passes, you interact on deeper and deeper levels, and these inner child mechanisms come into play. Then, it is truly put to the test, if you can handle being with that person… together with the reactive, conditioned childish side of them.
The other problem also surfaces, when people don’t discuss what truly interests them and don’t have any values or topics in common. Then, as time passes and routine sets in, they wake up to the fact that not only do they have divergent goals in live, but they also have incompatible personalities and they can’t handle each others most vulnerable parts.
The reality of any relationship is that it’s always hard work and it comes with challenges. First, you need to be actually lucky to meet someone, with whom your interests and personalities align enough to create a foundation. That’s why some people say that you meet who you love doing what you love, because it is that common interest and drive that leads you into the same environment. It is a purely chance event, and trying to control it through excessive dating has never brought anyone closer to a good relationship. Then, as a friendship develops and potentially transforms into something deeper, the level of intensity grows and with that you discover the baggage the other person carries with them, you start the never-ending work of being constantly challenged by how two people in close proximity constantly feel triggered on an individual level due to the presence of another person.
Even at a friendship stage, the other party may trigger your instinctive fears or responses, which then makes you lash out or behave in a specific way, which will cause a reaction in the other person too…at every stage of this journey both people are constantly challenged by their own inner problems and external circumstances - mutually handling adversity that always comes in life. This process never quite ends, just as it never ends for you as an individual for as long as you live…but it is also what lets you experience some of the most magical moments in life, if you do your job well.
If I were to give any love advice to everyone it would be:
1. Make sure you have enough in common. It doesn’t have to be 100%, in fact some oppositions are stimulating for growth, but it has to be enough to make things stick. Let’s say goals and achievements are important to you, but your partner is a couch potato, that doesn’t respond well to your motivation. This will be a source of constant frustration to both parties.
2. Stay with someone who is willing to fight for and put in effort into this connection. You also need to be a person who does that yourself. That doesn’t mean just passively staying in a relationship while doing nothing. People running away from problems and difficulties won’t make any relationship work. And problems always appear, because that’s life.
3. Be with someone whose “dark side” you can live with, and show them your “dark side” too. Everyone deserves acceptance and people have different levels of trauma. People also have different levels of tolerance for witnessing and dealing with other people’s trauma. If you have had bad experiences in life, and someone is ok with your emotional outbursts and trauma responses, it’s a very good sign, that this is a person that is compatible with your natural reactions, even if things get difficult.
4. Stay friends who have sex. A sense of humour is one of the few things, that makes this existence bearable on a worse day. Being able to enjoy each others company on the daily is important. Keeping a regular sexual routine is essential, or both parties start looking for fulfillment of it elsewhere. Sure, sometimes it’s about that spark, but over time it’s about making a conscious effort. Be with someone who makes that effort and make it yourself.
If only one person in a relationship puts in the work, it will never be enough. Of course nobody is perfect, but both parties have to be at least willing to work on committing to certain things, or everything falls apart in the long run. People give in different ways, but the intentional effort must be reciprocal.
Your article amazed me. In many ways, it concerns me. I read every sentence and understand that this is about me. Thank you for your advice, I definitely want to try them. Could you please tell me, in a relationship, do both people need to adhere to your advice or just one?