Be Attentive

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It takes a lot to set me off. Most of the time, I can brush off whatever is bothering me, or I can see where the other person is coming from so I don’t get as angry.

There’s one thing that truly annoys me, though.

I’ve been told multiple times that my relationship with Nathan is perfect. Are you aware of how ridiculous that is? I know it’s meant as a compliment, and I appreciate it, but we are nowhere near perfect.

I know I’m not a relationship expert. Oh my goodness, believe me. I’m an idiot in my relationship. I get upset randomly, I take  jokes too far and hurt Nathan’s feelings, I am selfish, I am stubborn. I’m especially stubborn.

It’s funny, I used to have the “You guys are PERFECT” mindset when I wasn’t in a relationship. It all seems perfect, you know? You see their cute pictures. You hear cute romantic things the guy does for the girl. You see them in person (on one of their good days) and they’re as in love as they could be. But you know what that is? That’s their highlights. You don’t see their entire story. I see this in every situation in life. Social media is meant to highlight everyone’s lives. We compare our lowest points to everyone’s highest. How messed up is that? We fail to remember that everyone is struggling.

But instead of bashing on social media like I usually end up doing in my posts, I’ll give some advice I’ve found useful in relationships.

1. Communicate

I can’t stress this enough. Don’t keep your feelings inside. If you are hurt, tell them! I’ve found that if I don’t tell Nathan, he probably won’t realize that what he did/said had a negative impact on me. Except it’s really obvious when I’m upset, so I can’t hide it anyway…

2. Don’t discuss an issue when you’re boiling with anger

Or when you’re irrationally upset. Or both. Personally, I can’t even talk when I feel this way. I physically cannot get myself to talk about it. I have to wait and think about what I’m truly feeling and then I open up. I like to close myself off and shut off my emotions. Which brings me to my next topic.

3. Be vulnerable

This is my biggest struggle. I hate vulnerability. I love being independent. I want to be seen as strong and capable of living my life without a man. It takes a lot of courage for me to admit that the help of a guy is really beneficial. It takes a lot for me to realize that a relationship won’t work if you aren’t vulnerable. I’m sure guys feel the same way on this subject. Well guess what? We need to suck it up and get over ourselves. We are human and we need other humans. Life without relationships (be it romantic or platonic) is lonely and not worth it.

4. Ask, don’t badger

There’s a huge difference here. Ask with kindness. Example: Your boyfriend was supposed to plan a date for the two of you, but he hasn’t followed through. You can go one of two ways here. You can ask him “How is the plan coming along?” or “Are you going to start planning for our date yet?” The first shows that you trust that he is trying. The second makes him believe you don’t think he is trying or he isn’t capable. Does that make sense?

5. Love languages

My primary love language is Acts of Service. I can truly tell Nathan cares about me when he does things for me that I could do myself (or couldn’t…). But Nathan’s primary love language is different than mine. For example: Your love language is Words of Affirmation. Your significant other’s is Quality Time. If all you do is compliment them and tell them how much you love them, but don’t spend time together, they won’t feel as loved.

Click here to take the quiz to find out what your primary love language is.

6. Better yourselves

Periodically, ask each other what you can work on in the relationship. Trust me when I say this: It hurts. I hate hearing that I’m doing something wrong. But wouldn’t you rather be hurt, fix the problem, and be able to have a better relationship, instead of never realizing you’re doing something wrong and be hurting your SO constantly?

Above all else, realize that everything you do can affect your SO. Be attentive.

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About chall29

Photographer from Northwest Arkansas pursuing degrees in Print Journalism and Speech Communication at Arkansas Tech University.
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