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Self Care in Romantic Relationships

1 + 1 Equals 2 not 1

By Justice for AllPublished about a year ago 8 min read

The argument that there should be no self care in romantic relationships is a fallacy. While you are part of an interdependent system, two pieces can't function without some balance. Without it, interdependence becomes codependency, and can even become separate functioning lives.

Consider this, how do you support a partner if you aren't able to have your own time and space? Not months or years but even the ability to decompress from a long day if you are not "allowed" to pursue individual goals and hobbies. Obviously within the bounds of what you both expect from a relationship.

I have hard rules for what I expect in one - I'm always a serial monogamist. I don't share my coffee, my phone, or men. I expect to be treated with respect, but I also practice what I preach. The good girl with an IQ of 170, a heart of gold and the messed up idea that love still exists.

The latest in what I would need to ask a guy if it was a date or not because it was but it wasn't but that has happened before and only like three years later was it explained to me it was a date- I thought it was hanging out with a friend but now it makes less sense, ended with me having a moment of maybe but I expect to courted and pursued. I sent him a gift card for his favorite coffee shop- not just to say go away but because he didn't treat me like the man who destroyed my life and everyone I trusted to keep me safe from him. There have been a few first dates- well not recently because on top of everything being backwards- I lost a baby that would be being born in a month. It took a lot after what I have been through to even consider going on a date, it was a brief solace from the crazy world of paralegal work, having to relearn to trust the world in general in the middle of the crazy pandemic.

I'm the girl who a guy calls ma'am and I thank him because it is so unlike what I have had to live with because of one bad ex.

I'm also the girl who takes her neighbor in a hotel pizza because she ordered too big of one and never went into the room at any point or was trying to. Simply just being kind because he had mentioned someone hurt him and I know what that feels like.

I cook for men I date, could tell you every little cute quirk that made me love them, all about their kids, and until the ex even though we weren't dating or were ever going to again could call them if I needed advice or guidance and vice versa. But even they have lost their minds apparently..

So I guess there is something probably wrong with me from the get go.

Relationships are not mutually exclusive to having needs, wants, dreams and hobbies that don't have to include your significant other. People need interaction with other people to maintain their own sense of well being, but one person can not nor should they fulfill every need for socialization.

Spending every waking moment together is the fastest path to destruction of a relationship.

It's essentially a type of control. When you can't have coffee with a coworker or even have a little "me" time you are literally making one person your world. That type of isolation removes the freedom to exist from an individual.

I may love going to get coffee and going to the movies. If my significant other doesn't like coffee and has a preference for playing flag football - should either of us be forced to endure something we hate to fulfill the others need? No. Healthy relationships are about trust not imprisonment. I should be able to go get coffee and see a movie either by myself or with a friend while he may choose to go play flag football with his friends.

You can have too much alone time and too much together time. Just like joint Facebook accounts. If you can not trust your partner to have their own social media accounts do you have a significant other or are you someone's babysitter? We exist as autonomous individuals before a relationship and to maintain that individuality we must keep a part of that while we are in a relationship. No one person should ever hold the entire relationship at their beck and call. There has to be room for individual freedom. For years I had many friends who were married, none of whom I was trying to or did sleep with. What threat does a friendship pose to a marriage when there is simply a commonality or discourse between two people? None. The attribution of every time two people speak to each other they must be engaged in some sort of sexual activity is crazy.

I happen to get along with men better than women. Taking into account that I worked in a predominantly male field this is not a surprise. I found my male coworkers to be less petty and more trustworthy than my female ones. They would often be the people who wouldn't judge or gossip around the water cooler and I wasn't interested in having them in my bed. In fact they become adopted brothers to me. Nothing more.

The foundation of a good relationship is not any one person holding the power. Relationships grow and change over time- in response to people growing and changing. You can't force yourselves to become one singular entity. That is neither healthy or ideal.

Being best friends is something I have always had first in my love life. What has always been my normal is two people who fall in love with each other because of each other, not in changing each other. 7 years ago I met the man who was the love of my life, randomly on Twitter as he was going through hell with a divorce. Every man after him envied how I loved him, despite him turning me away when I was being beaten up because of him, despite he let unspeakable things happen to me I still went to him because I trusted he was the man I had always known- I was wrong. Yet I still have tried to move heaven and earth to protect him and his daughters, because he meant something to me, clearly more to me than I did to him but I can't explain why the last few years has happened.

A few months ago I met a firefighter, this simply amazing man who was there when no one else had been. What was a professional colleague turned into a friend, and he will never know it but I fell in love with him a little. Aside from the cute, simply his way of reassuring me, another fail on my part I guess because I was not going to tell him what I had been through because I know he has his own trauma. He made me believe men were gentle and caring again, something that would have fixed something so big in me- I'm wired different, I fall in love with people's hearts in the stupidest ways, it has always been the case, but this one took the cake- hook line and sinker I fell for his child, his dog and his intelligence. Not the right guy wrong time, he just well I'm not going to psychoanalyze him.

We don't change people, in relationships you get the broken pieces of people not perfection. You get the rough edges you get the emotional baggage. You love them despite it, because of it.

Friendships are not about using people, they are about things like checking in on people, being there even when it is not pretty. It's about doing what you can to uplift people, not judging them and on occasion saving them from other people.

Every relationship is a partnership.. it's about treating people as individuals and not serial numbers. You don't have to earn people, you can either treat them like they are on your team or as if you respect them until they lose your respect.

One of the things you learn from seeing the worst of everything is that when you see something that reminds you of what was always your normal you are grateful, but I always was for my friends. I guess it wasn't for a single one of them because everyone and everything good literally disappeared from my life in the last 3 years, with only the things that either hate me or the bad things being constantly present.

Three years ago in what I thought was the biggest disaster I didn't create I was dreaming about what it would be like to be an attorney and in love and happy. What I ended up with was working too much as a paralegal, trying to fill any free time with some form of work and not even sure I want to walk into a courtroom in entire states because of a bunch of lawyers and cops.

I always knew these amazing men who I looked up to, who I thought I mattered to but like everything else it is Georgia which has literally just about been the death of me- I refuse to let the example be who I am, and never was. I was always one of a kind and that has never changed, the world has but not me. I refuse to be someone's mom, or caregiver-friend yes, lover-maybe but not their keeper.


About the Creator

Justice for All

"Justice delayed, is justice denied" "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Tattooed, Employed and has a Psych degree..Always on the look out for a group of Avengers.

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