Stop Panicking About These Relationships "Problems"
Worrying about these relationship problems isn't, well, normal.
In life, we only have so much we can care about.
We only have so much effort to invest in situations. Or, as Mark Manson so rightly puts it, we only have so many f**ks to give.
I'm obsessed with this approach to life. Not only is it so true it hurts, but it also helps you quit spending all your time and effort on things that don't matter.
Or, as I should rightly put it, quit spending your effort on things that don't matter to you.
- Quit caring about what your neighbour is planting in their front yard.
- Quit caring about whether your friend has popped the question to his girlfriend yet.
- Quit caring about arguing over fifty cents in the line at Target, when you literally spent your week's pay on a spontaneous weekend away.
But how do you apply this to your romantic relationships? Shouldn't we worry about everything that happens or could happen in our relationship?
I've been asking myself that. It seems counterintuitive to pick and choose when it comes to the relationship we have with our partner.
Yet, like everything in life, if we invest all our time and energy into every aspect of our relationship, we're going to end up with relationship burnout.
In my experience, when you only have so much energy in your life, don't devote your panic and concern to the following relationship "problems".
Because, in short, you will have wasted your time.
Is my partner cheating on me?
Cheating is a common and boring problem in relationships.
When a relationship falls apart because of cheating, it's so cliched. Not to diminish anyone who had it happen to them (been there!), but it's so unimaginative.
Humans really haven't strayed too far away from the classics, have they?
People love to panic about their partner cheating. For some, it's a sport. And for others, it's a niggling, ongoing concern they can't quite shake.
Why worrying about your partner cheating is a waste of your energy
- Cheating will happen whether you worry or not - The amount of energy you focus on cheating doesn't control whether your partner will cheat. If you spend your nights worrying about it, this won't change the outcome. It won't do anything at all, except give you sleepless nights.
- You can't stop the committed cheater - You can't control what your partner does. Sure, you can make vows and promises to each other. And you can be the best partner in the world, doing everything to make them feel loved and secure. But if they want to cheat, they will.
- You could destroy your relationship over nothing - Trust is a fickle concept. For as long as people abuse trust, we're going to continue to wonder if it's happening to us. But not all people are abusing our trust. If your partner is being unfairly accused of cheating, don't expect them to stick around.
Is the XYZ part of my relationship "normal"?
We can analyse what's normal in a relationship until the end of time. I can think of so many "normal" relationship questions off the top of my head, without much thought.
- Is it normal to leave the toilet door open when your partner is around?
- Is it normal that my husband doesn't want to spend time with his kids?
- Is it normal that my girlfriend sleeps with her male best friend in the same bed?
- Is it normal to never have sex, except once a year?
- Is it normal not to defend your partner in public?
- Is it normal to call yourself a good partner?
We can easily become stuck up on this idea of normal. This is especially true when start comparing what's normal with other people. Welcome to the comparison rabbit hole you can't get out of.
Why worrying about the normalcy of your relationship is a waste of your energy
- There is no normal - Let's be real here. Whilst there are things that most couples do, or what healthy couples do, there is no normal. In relationships, they flat-out don't exist. Sure, you have what's normal for your relationship. Leaving the toilet door open is normal for you. But what isn't normal is a matter of public judgement.
- If you're happy, then why does normal matter? - This is when getting fixated on the labels isn't worth it. If you're already happy, if you have a functioning relationship, the label shouldn't mean anything to you. You're wasting your energy worrying about something that isn't an issue.
- Labelling "normalcy" doesn't change the relationship - And if there is an issue in your relationship, focusing on what's "normal" won't improve the relationship. It doesn't help you work through your problems. It won't find you any answers, either. You're putting your energy into the wrong place.
What to do if the relationship ends?
I can understand how you can invest your energy in worrying about your relationship ending.
When things get tough, when you see those red flags popping up everywhere, the concern is only normal. Some would say you're smart in your mental planning of the situation.
You know it's going to end, better prepare for it.
This worrying can also happen when you've suffered through past relationship trauma. And bad breakups.
Some would say it's understandable, too.
But not every relationship is the same. You can't go into it thinking history is about to repeat itself.
Why worrying about the potential ending of a relationship is a waste of your energy
- You're focusing on the wrong thing - You're focusing on the outcome, but not the process. When you focus on the end, you miss everything in between. You're missing what makes a relationship enjoyable for you.
- You're doomsday-ing - There's nothing to say your relationship will ever end. Focusing on the end is like predicting the end of the world. You're trying to anticipate something that, until very close to the end, is almost impossible to foresee.
- You're putting in a backup plan - By focusing on the end of your relationship, you're subconsciously putting in a backup plan. You're making sure you're ready, which puts you in the position to initiate the breakup. Backup plans are problematic and are often a sign you aren't really invested in the relationship.
- You have the information, should it happen - We have the internet to tell us what to do, or who to speak to, should this situation ever happen to us. We all know someone who has been through a break-up. We aren't alone if it does happen. The world has your back.
There's something in the past you don't know about
Unless you've known your partner since you were born, and followed them around their entire life, you will never know everything about your partner.
In many ways you will always have questions about part of their life. Sometimes you might get answers. Other times you might find your partner unwilling to tell you about their life.
Deep diving into the past isn't always the best dinner-time conversation. Or late-night romance starters either.
We all have secrets. We all have some parts of our past relationships that no one knows. And despite how close you get, you may never know.
Why worrying about your partner's past relationships is a waste of your energy
- You can't change their past - Sometimes you need to hear it from a friend (that's me), but all the worrying in the world won't change your partner's past. Or how they feel about it. They have a past just like you.
- Their past made them who you love - The person they were back then, and the things that happened to them, led them to be the person you care about today. You might need to thank their past instead of hating on it.
Worrying about something else?
We have plenty to worry about in relationships. The list is endless.
In case what you worry about isn't on this list, this is how to disperse your relationship energy so you aren't headed for worry burnout:
- Only focus on what keeps you up at night
- Only focus on the red flags, or the yellow flags turning red
- Focus on the good, not the bad
- Write down what you can't control and metaphorically burn it
Without being dismissive of your genuine concerns about your relationship, you deserve better.
Your time and effort could be better used to make you happy elsewhere in life.
Focus on that happiness.
About the Creator
Ellen "Jelly" McRae
I’m here to use my wins and losses in #relationships as your cautionary tale | Writes 1LD; Cautionary tale #romance fiction | http://www.ellenjellymcrae.com/
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