i subscribe to many psychology, self-help, and relationship publications. a lot of times it's the same old stuff recycled with a few words changed here and there to make it their own, but it's the same basic ideas over and over and over. "love yourself- others will love you". "don't try too hard - put yourself first". and so on.
a few days ago, this email landed in my inbox, and it was so full of ideas i had never seen published before. but it was like it was straight out of my journals.... i have thought many times before about discussing this topic here on the blog, but for whatever reason - have always ended up shying away from it. when this email arrived - i knew it was time to share it :D enjoy <3
Sabrina here and I want to talk about one big truth about healthy relationships that no one really talks about. Knowing this will give you a lot of clarity regarding the state of your relationship and can help guide you toward the love you want if you aren't in a relationship.
It's no secret that our society idealizes love. We have these expectations of what love should be, how it should feel, what it looks like. Then maybe we find ourselves in a relationship and feel a little frustrated and disappointed when reality doesn't quite align with that vision.
Here's the thing: good relationships don't always feel all that good. It's not for the same reason that bad relationships don't make you feel good, though.
Bad relationships are the ones filled with all the drama. The highs are higher and the lows are lower. A bad relationship can be anything from a toxic, codependent situation to a man who won't commit in a significant way but somehow has you hooked, or a match that is simply incompatible.
These "bad relationships" are a great escape from real life. They give you the chance to lose yourself in someone else's drama... or your own created drama. When you're spending hours trying to figure out how he feels...where this is going... what he meant when he said X...why he's taking so long to text back, you don't really have to face yourself. You lose yourself in the emotional high of it all. This happens even more so if your guy has a lot of emotional baggage. Investing in his problems is like a vacation from dealing with your own.
But in a good relationship... a relationship where you're on the same page, when you aren't waiting anxiously for the next text, a relationship where you just know how he feels and there is zero need to question or wonder (and doing so would almost feel ridiculous)... well those are the relationships that bring you face to face with who you truly are. Sometimes they will bring out the best in you because we all have inherent goodness within us. And sometimes they will bring out the worst in you because a lot of us have been burned in the past or are holding onto traumas from the past that we didn't even realize were still buried within us.
Sometimes there will be nothing wrong in the relationship but you will feel sad or anxious or upset. You won't be able to blame this on the fact that he didn't call or text or that you're not his girlfriend or he hasn't said I love you because he never leaves you hanging....he was proud to call you his girlfriend...he adores you and you know he does. The feelings aren't coming from him; they're coming from you. If you've been hurt in the past, these feelings of unease are your deep-seated trust issues coming to the surface. If you can't seem to trust that he'll be there for you, then out come the fears of abandonment.
In a good relationship, your actions, your mindset, your behavior, the things you say, and so forth all impact someone else. Sometimes you will really hurt them and will realize how insensitive you can be. Sometimes you won't recognize that he had a really tough day and needs your support because you're stuck in your own head and consumed with your own issues. Sometimes he'll say something innocent and it will become a huge fight because that innocent comment hit an open wound that you didn't even know existed.
When you're in a relationship, your negative traits and past pains don't only impact you anymore, they affect someone else making it much harder to avoid them.
Even in the best relationships, sometimes you'll feel unloved, sometimes you'll feel insecure, sometimes you'll feel angry, sometimes you'll want to just run, sometimes you'll feel really lonely and that will surprise you because how can you be lonely in the company of someone who truly loves you.
Some will make the mistake of thinking this is the wrong relationship and they'll leave. Some will blame their partner for "making" them feel that way and issues will continue to arise until the relationship implodes...and some will realize that you can't let love in from the outside if you don't feel it on the inside and will do the work as hard as it can be. They will face their demons, they will deal with the pain from the past, they will communicate openly and honestly with their partners about their fears and their doubts and they won't hold onto anger and resentment. They will realize that all relationships, even the best ones, take work but it starts with working on yourself.
There's this idea that in the right relationship, everything will be perfect. He'll be the other half of your soul, you'll reach a level of happiness you never knew existed, you'll feel secure and comfortable and confident. A good relationship can give you these things for sure, but not on it's own. It has to start from within. If you don't already feel good, if you still have issues to work through, if you have a void within, you will never fully be able to trust him, you will never truly feel "good enough" no matter how many sweet things he says or does, and you will never be able to give and receive love freely. When we're single, we're often unaware of the work that needs to be done because those parts of us that are hurt and need to be healed don't get accessed. Or maybe we do know, but think the right guy will make it all better.
Love forces you to face yourself. Love brings up all that is unloved within us. And you can't hide who you are when you are in a good, loving relationship. Instead you are forced to face it and deal with it. Your partner will always reflect back who you really are (and vice versa).
When all you've had are bad relationships, it's hard to really know what you're doing when a good one comes along. You're not used to this feeling of things just being right. You're not used to just coasting along on placid waters and you can't trust it. Instead you stand on high alert, waiting for a storm to roll in and knock you overboard.
For some of us, it might genuinely feel weird to just know how a guy feels about us and not have to guess and decode and look for clues. It can be unfamiliar and we may take that to mean something is amiss and we're overlooking something. Maybe we pick him apart, maybe we start fights, maybe we feel despair because this isn't how it's supposed to be.
You can find the perfect person for you, but he still won't be a perfect person. And you're not a perfect person. And the relationship will force each of you to deal with your issues and work on yourselves to be better because in the right relationship, you want to be your best self not just for your sake but because you're accountable to him and you don't want to cause him any hurt and pain. But the path to becoming your best self isn't always a smooth one. There are bumps and sharp turns and it can be dark and scary sometimes...but it's OK. It's normal in fact. And that's what no one tells you about good relationships.
Lots of love,