There have been many times in my life when I’ve reached that point when a relationship seemed too broke to fix.
But I’ve come to realize that rough times are just that—a rough patch. It does not mean you have to give up the moment things get tough just because you don’t want to deal with it. If there is a good reason to end the relationship, like abuse or if you realize that you can’t imagine committing the rest of your life to this person, then by all means break up and move on. But if there is not a good reason, other than that you are just scared and want to run instead of confronting conflict, it is worth facing your fear and working on the relationship.
Relationships aren’t easy and take a lot of personal growth and understanding. As I’ve talked about before it also takes communication, something that did not come naturally to me because I don’t like confrontation. I don’t want to hurt anybody. I don’t want to make anybody’s life miserable. I want to make sure everybody’s happy.
But over the past year I’ve learned a lot about myself and my boyfriend and how we can communicate better, even about the tough stuff that used to scare me. Let me tell you it wasn’t easy by any means and took a lot of work, but I think we have figured out for the most part what makes us each tick. The big thing was communication and realizing that holding things back didn’t help anyone. Holding things back only made things worse because we weren’t getting our feelings out and frustration would fester until one of us blew up. I was especially bad about this, as well as being afraid to talk to my boyfriend, because I didn’t want to upset him or make him mad. But how was he supposed to know how I felt if I wasn’t telling him? When I would try to talk to him, he would just shut down and say, “I don’t know” and then leave the room. Clearly we did not know how to communicate.
Even though I felt like giving up, I decided that I was not going to give up just yet. I knew I did love him, and when things were good, things were really good. I was trying to grow up and have a mature relationship, so I needed to be willing to put in the work that our relationship required.
Because I wasn’t willing to give up and he was willing to try to fix it, we discovered that we needed to talk about things even if it upset or made the other person mad. We learned that fighting got us nowhere and just made it worse. So we talked and didn’t raise our voices. He told me things that I never would have noticed about our relationship, but that he did. I didn’t deny those things and actually ended up agreeing with him on them. And I talked about the things that I felt were wrong in our relationship, and he saw them, too, and we agreed to work on them together.
You can’t go through a relationship and pretend everything is fine. Sometimes all it takes to solve a problem that seems so huge is a conversation and a drive to make it better.
Don’t get me wrong, our relationship is not perfect. But what matters is that we are both trying and continually growing—and I hope that we never stop growing together.
Photo credit: Flickr/David Leo Veksler