Why do we continue to put our time into people that don’t deserve us? Why do we continue to put our time into people that don’t understand us? Or want us? Or choose to find faults in the big things about us?
When friendships or romantic relationships don’t pan out, we are always left with a million questions. These questions flood our brains. The whys. The million questions about why the relationship went south– why THAT person was wrong usually. We tend to leave ourselves out in the fault category here.
I have been reflecting on the many relationships I have had and lost, and rekindled and/or maintained. Relationships are insanely hard and every one is different. Everyone takes different things from us and gives us something different. We tend to separate friendships and romantic relationships in this way, but friendships have always hurt just as much to lose for me, if not more. You never expect to lose friendships whereas lovers come and go. I speak of these two types of relationships interchangeably here.
The biggest thing I have learned about all relationships is they depend on communication. Before even trust, communication is key.
Trust is actually built on someone communicating with you. That’s what makes you trust them, knowing they will tell you what is on their mind or more specifically when something is bothering them. Trust is knowing communication will happen because all we have without communication is lies. Omission is lies! My past is full of omissions that I only found to be wrong later on.
Open is communication. Omitting is silence.
I used to feel that omitting the other parts of me was fine when I was young. Omitting other actions. Omitting what I didn’t want the other person to see. I was fine being this one person for this one person and someone else for someone else.
I often joke that my straight self is a complete different person than my gay self. In this example, omitting one over the other was always easy, for when I was one, the other wasn’t in the room per say.
Not to say that it’s easy to share those things, but I am talking past mere bisexuality here. I am talking about it all, all of the things in our heads. I am not saying to share everything with the world broadly, but in our close friendships and partnerships, if you leave out the things that make you tic, the big stuff underneath– the big omissions create distrust.
People you love can read that there are things you’re omitting and that’s where communication shuts down. When communication shuts down, trust is gone.
When trust is gone, you can stay and fight or run and be free.
Choice seems easy to most, but I’ve always been a fighter.
Now, to be fair there is always a delay in communication because we don’t always know what we want right away or what’s bothering us. When we do, we hesitate. That hesitation makes our friends and partners feel like we hid it from them. We hid what we wanted, we omitted. Lied. No one wants to be lied to. In fact, even in the most casual of relationships, all people really want is communication.
Say what you want as soon as you know you want it. This gives people the fair chance to say whether they have that to give you or not. Some people just won’t have what you need as friends or lovers, either at that time in their life or ever. Saying what you want and need gives them the opportunity for the out and that is fair to them and you.
In a 2014 journal, I wrote about dating “Dear God please no more games this year.” I just wished someone would say what the hell they wanted or if they even actually liked me. The irony is I was playing so many games myself. Yea, was I getting my heartbroken by this goddess over here? Sure. But was I breaking some other sweet girl’s heart at the same time? You bet.
We only care about our own hurt when we’re young, or I hope most grow out of that. Even if we know how to communicate what we want, we ignore others communicating what they want from us or vice versa.
If I did a brief study of all the relationships I have had, I would say communication has been horrendous more than half of the time. The times it has been good has maintained friendships, partnerships. The times it hasn’t has rocked my life. Now communication is a two way street and I own that. I am not saying it hasn’t been me as well– but I’m growing and learning.
The thing is no one ever knows what you want truly. People get to know you and can master some of the things you like. Sure, but you can’t expect anyone to ever really know what you want or need 24/7. It is our duty to communicate and downright demand our needs if they aren’t being met. It is our duty to get our own needs met even if it means getting away from someone who can’t meet them or blocks them from being met. In good relationships, needs are being met for both parties.
I so often in relationships have waited until something has been bothering me so much that the relationship is basically over before the argument is had. I bottle. And bottle. I create this bomb that is placed on egg shells and pray that, what? The person will magically stop doing that thing I hate? Does that make sense? Does it make sense that someone will do something over and over that you don’t like and then magically will just not? With no words or anything?
This is where we falter. We expect our friends and lovers to be mind readers. We expect them to just know. KNOW WHAT I WANT! Do that thing!
It just doesn’t work like that.
My boyfriend in college never came to surprise me at rugby practice. He didn’t run on the field at a game, pick me up, and spin me– my favorite thing he used to do. We didn’t go to that new restaurant after. I never communicated that I wanted him to come. I DID get frustrated, however, that we never did any of those things. I was annoyed he never came to a practice or a game– annoyed he never did the thing I never asked him to do.
By the way, he never even knew what time my practices were or where they were. We set people up for unrealistic expectations and wonder why they fail.
Relationships are built on communication. We fake communication these days. We say we are fine. Try to act strong. Be normal. Don’t be crazy. Don’t say that the text message you just read PISSED YOU OFF. We act fine when we could just say the thing. That’s it. Just say it. We spend so much time trying to be and act like the rest of the world that we bottle the things we need to just say.
Most people are their own kind of crazy in their private time. No one unmasks for everyone. Remember that.
The people you can truly unmask around or let loose around get the full brunt of everything you bottle. So if you bottle things up about them as well, you’re creating more havoc for yourself and them. Instead why don’t we all just try to figure our own heads out and then say it to the important people in our lives? You can hide from the broader world, but let’s give the important people the gift of openness.
Openness is saying what you need. Openness is expectations. I think we fear giving people expectations thinking this pressure will make them leave, but not meeting your expectations will eventually make you leave.
For me, this is it. This is me. I will no longer omit. In friendships and partnerships, you can omit or commit. That’s it. They don’t coexist because the more you omit, the bigger the bomb you’re setting up gets and eventually it always gets set off.
Omit or commit– you can’t do both.