Last night, I was Skyping with my boyfriend, and it was the most frustrating thing. We weren't clicking for some reason. It was like we were two people who were totally wrong for each other.
I wanted to flirt with him, play around. He was tired and serious. He didn't laugh at my jokes. I worried there was something on his mind, left unvoiced. He seemed distracted. I felt unloved. I became frustrated and curled up inside myself. He told me I looked beautiful tonight, not noticing anything stewing in my head. I sighed and pretended there wasn't anything stewing in my head.
We both hung up and went to bed.
This morning, I woke up feeling as sad as I had falling asleep last night. I still couldn't figure out the problem.
I had too many questions in my head. Why were we on such different pages? Aren't we supposed to be perfect for each other? I mean, he's the most incredible guy I've ever been with. So why, I wondered, are there moments when everything ISN'T perfect? And what do they mean for our relationship?
I had to give myself a little time to wake up, drink my coffee, and slowly think through the worries on my mind. These are the moments when I actively stop myself from following my negative thoughts down into a dark hole, and instead consider why I'm feeling the way I am.
I found my mind coming back to something I had read recently on the consequences of being in the right relationship. It was basically about how all relationships – even the most incredible ones – require work, but usually, the first step is working on yourself.
This is what the author says:
"When we’re single, we’re often unaware of the work that needs to be done because those parts of us that are hurt and need to be healed don’t get accessed. Or maybe we do know but think the right guy will make it all better.
Love forces you to face yourself. Love brings up all that is unloved within us. And you can’t hide who you are when you are in a good, loving relationship. Instead, you are forced to face it and deal with it."
First, thank god there are smart people out there to inspire us with words like those. They really helped me remember something: no relationship will complete you.
What I call "the Disney Lie" teaches us, as we grow up, that when we fall in love, we find the other half of what was previously an unfinished, imperfect version of ourselves. Suddenly all our dreams come true. We find happiness and contentment and confidence. We become as strong, successful, and perfect as we've always wanted to be.
This is not true.
Disney tells you the story of the first two weeks, MAYBE, of a relationship. That's when you'll feel invincible and ridiculously happy, as though life is a beautiful, perfect, wild adventure, and yada yada yada...
The fact is, even when you're in a good relationship – a great relationship, even – you'll still feel sad sometimes. You'll still feel lonely once in a while, for no good reason at all. You'll still have your insecurities and your fears.
But now, the big difference is that you don't have a terrible significant other to blame your problems on. Your significant other is wonderful, and does all the right things – text you back immediately, treat you like a princess, brim with pride when they show you off to their friends...
No. Now, when you have problems, you have no one to look to but yourself.
Real love forces you to face yourself, in all your insecurity and brokenness.
Love doesn't fix you, it won't heal you – but it will help you heal yourself. The right person will love and support you all through the lengthy and often difficult process of working through your own issues. Heck, you'll love and support them too, because everyone's got something they need to work on.
I'm glad I took the time to carefully sort through my doubts and worries to figure out that when I don't feel happy or loved, despite being with a guy who's everything I've ever wanted, and who constantly surprises me, challenges me, shows me how very much he cares... it's not an "Us Problem." It's a "Me Problem."
It's me worrying that I'm not good enough, or that he doesn't like my sense of humor. It's my ridiculous fear that I don't deserve a guy like him, and that sooner or later he'll figure out that I'm not as amazing as he thinks.
Listen, being in love is hard. Not because it's not the best thing ever. But because life is still life, even when you're in the perfect relationship. Your insecurities are still there, clamoring to be dealt with. The parts of you that are unfinished won't miraculously complete themselves.