Tuesday, February 14, 2012

How to not F*ck Relationships Up

 (not just on Valentine's, but for the whole year!)

The most festive title for the most festive of occasions!

        For two people who share a lot in common or understand each other and love and respect each other very deeply anyway, for love to work is natural. What really happens when shit hits the fan is that we get in the way. We weatherproof, we get greedy, we get needy, we worry, we blame, we overthink... We create all of the batshit craziness that ends up spoiling all the fun.

        These are things I've learned and am still learning about relationship maintenance. A lot of this was inspired by an article I found in Reader's Digest back when I was single, awkward and forever alone (I was around 15) Being the big emosh-fixer that I am, I somehow felt the need to remember the information even though it didn't apply to me yet. I read the article over and over, flipping back and forth, absorbing all I can, and I even took notes in my cellphone. I felt like it was my duty to keep this treasure that I found (seriously, it felt really precious and revolutionary to me) and if I die single and never get to use it for my own life, I could always comfort my friends with it when they are in the middle of hard times. Little did I know that very shortly I would have found the magic of internet archives and it would be available online anyway.
          Anyway, time has fermented the teachings in me, and through osmosis they have been reduced to simpler, easier to remember nuggets of wisdom that have either become natural to me, or more accessible to remember. I'm now going to simplify the best things that I learned and lived, and share them:

1) Blame is Lame
Optimism: Because anything can go wrong if you set your mind to it.
       Intimate relationships. They are sensitive. When we become so attached to a particular person, we start to become dependent on them. They are suddenly responsible for our whole emotional well-being. We identify to them, and when they fail to give us something we think we need from them, we freak out. Calmeth thine teats. Take a step back brosef, and understand that sometimes we need to ASK for things. Not in a "WHY HAVEN'T YOU DONE THIS" kind of way, but in a "You know what? I would like it if you..." Because let's face it. Most of the population is not psychic. Instead of freaking out and blaming your partner for their shortcomings (or whatever else goes wrong in your life, like your toilet not flushing) give them a gentle poke towards the right direction (okay, not necessarily the "right" direction especially if you're kind of a psycho, but towards whatever you feel you might need.).. This way, with some hope, and time, and some laws of nature, your partner will get to know you better and better and feel encouraged to do it whenever s/he does something right. I don't want to sound like I'm comparing people to dogs but, positive reinforcement, man. (great. now I sound like a speciesist. Whatever.)

If you try to change each other by scolding and complaining, you will already feel like you failed at something. It just sucks the fun out of everything. We start feeling insecure now, and stupid, and in some cases, we start looking for other people who will give that great feeling again, the one we felt at the start, when our loved one made us feel good about ourselves. Rather than pure evil. 

You keep hurting meee. You keep hurting mee!

2) See the Good.
Extreme Grammar Nazis: The new cat ladies
    It only makes sense to be right if it betters the situation. OR if you're in a debate in national TV or something. And even in that situation I think the same goes. I would still want the (for example) politician who can make the world a better place to be the one regarded as "right". I'm not saying we should let each other get away with everything. I'm just saying that, in our individual quests for justice I hope we don't fail in the quest for happiness. And joy. And joyness. I don't see the sense in being right if it antagonizes my loved one senselessly.

Instead of looking at it as "you're right I'm wrong" or "I'm wrong you're right" let us focus on just "how do we make this work for both of us?" Think win-win. The question of wrongness or rightness is just a matter of pride, mostly. Feel free to consider each other's opinion, and be honest with what you really THINK is correct instead of what you WANT to be correct. Think in third person. Now, this is very sensitive and difficult at times. For example, when one is like, TOTALLY in the wrong, and one is in the right but a very gentle person? Would it be good if the gentler person yielded to the psycho one? Not really. So this really only works with people who are in it together and understand and respect each other. So, if you're reading this and you want to implement it, it's really a lot more beneficial if you let your partner read it too. *cough*

See the general good, the universal good, and what's good in your partner. That's really all that matters. The good stuff. Look at the stuff you LIKE about them. Because if you focus on the bad... Little things become really bad stuff and... You'll get a hurricane on your face.

3) It's the Little Things
Cheesiness: Not so disgusting when you're both guilty of it. PS: Hi hairy arms :p~
     Be silly. leave them notes. They don't have to be overtly cheesy or romantic, they can be just hilarious. And it would still be sweet, because no matter what it says, what it says under the lines is simple: "I thought of you." Making our presence felt as much as we can can mean everything to our partners. Even if its just putting the blanket over their sleeping bodies, leaving a text, cleaning the toilet, whatever floats your boat, when the person feels like you thought of them even when you weren't around them, it makes it clear to them that you're CHOOSING to be with them. You're not just stuck in something you signed up for in the start and don't really want anymore, you're not just comfortable and used to the routine of it all, you're really there and you love them, and you're choosing them again and again everyday.

Have a lovely Valentine's day (or night c;)