Last weekend we spent some time in bed, listening to NPR’s This American Life. Cuddling while listening to a radio show just might be the most indulgent thing I can think of. Anyways, it was their Valentine’s Day special – all about the things we do for love. Mostly the crazy things. Or the things we convince ourselves to be totally ok, but if a sane person were to look in on the situation in an objective manner, they would tell you you were crazy and to cut it out.
While listening to different peoples’ experiences and the crazy (albeit endearing) things they did, I couldn’t help but cringe. And by the end of it I was throwing my hands up in frustration because, “Ugh! Didn’t they know it was over WAY before then?!” Spoiler Alert: The majority of the stories on the show don’t end well… except for this short story about a duck, but we skimmed that one.
I have gained a copious (read: most definitely more than I wanted) of knowledge and wisdom about when-to-let-go because I am, in fact, that biggest hanger-on-until-my-hands-are-bloody person. Have you pretty much told me, out loud, that the relationship isn’t working? Well then, I’ll do my best to fix all of the “holes” and drag it out another 6 months. Distance that is making us both completely insane? Just a small challenge that any real romance can withstand! You make me cry more than you make me laugh? It’s probably my fault for being so emotional.
Obviously, I’ve learned my share of lessons and have learned some fail safe (until you prove me wrong, which is guaranteed to happen in the comments) methods for preventing the crazy (if you have the mental awareness and are not in a haze of tears and desperation), and cutting your partner loose. They were most definitely bringing you down anyway.
I’m speaking to the big you, the capital You. Not individual you. And although I am cringing a bit about what the comments might bring (Yes, I understand that there are exceptions to every rule and my little list is no… exception), I’m not going to devalue my thoughts here – even though it’s my gut reaction. I’m not going to say things like, “this is just my little opinion, pay no attention!” because I really do think these things are true and it feels so very good to say them with numbered bullet points.
Now… in order to continue you must sign a mental agreement that acknowledges the fact that relationships end, and! even though we would rather not believe it to be true – there are 99.9% of the time warning signs, even if we only see them in hindsight.
I’m calling this Lauren’s List of Relationship Truths:
- If you have the strong urge to hire a private investigator because you think they might be cheating… your relationship is already over (and they most likely are).
- If you feel the overwhelming urge to read their diary, it’s because there’s something you can’t ask them out loud because you’re not going to like the answer. What you find in the diary won’t be good either.
- If it’s been a lot (I’m dodging the bullet of being overly specific, yes I am) of years and the conversation about marriage just *hasn’t* come up (no hypothetical time line, no assertion of “Yes someday”, zero-zilch-nada), and you’re unsure why: It’s because you don’t really want to marry them and you should move on.
- If you have gone on more than 3 dates with someone and you are angsting over whether or not to text them something fun, invite them over, or plan another activity with them, etc. because you aren’t sure if they like you: Either you need to clarify what’s going on so your head doesn’t explode OR they don’t like you as much as you like them. The good ones make it exceedingly clear.
- If you have to renew your vows every year in front of others, then you need to be convinced the other person is in it to win it. Or you’re trying to convince yourself.
- And above all: Relationships (friendships or romantic ones) are not games. Say what you mean, tell them what hurts your feelings, be honest with your self and others, be vulnerable, and be loving. If the other person runs for the hills – the sooner the better. They weren’t going to appreciate you anyway.
What are your truths? What have you discovered along your (many) relationship journey (ies)? Is there any tidbit you’ve put in your back pocket to use at a later date? The good things, the warnings, the quickest ways to conflict resolution, a breakthrough moment you had, etc. I’m all