HAVE YOU EVER HAD a misunderstanding with your partner? Have you had that moment where you could just throttle him/her/hir? If you have, you’re not alone. And if you haven’t, should write to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us your relationship life hacks!
It's not that I didn’t realize this was coming. I tried to prep him for it by sending what I think of as pop-culture “how to” books on my personality to give him a heads up. These are things like a Buzzfeed list telling him how I communicate with helpful tips like my tendency to be very direct. For instance, my desire for prompt text replies comes out as, “Text me back, or die.” Which I admit may be a bit excessive.
He in-turn asked me to take a personality assessment to better understand other. He says I am a blue personality with hints of red, which means I am perfectionistic and moody (This may be true, although I hate it when personality tests tell me such things of which I am already aware.) He is a moody blue too so when our two moods crash things get stormy.
Another point of tension between us is that I tend to persist on things until I feel they have been talked out. In contrast, he lives by the rule of the “Hair Flip” for most problems, which essentially means figure out the solution and move on from the moment as quickly as possible.
Case in point: after two weeks of me being away for work and him remodeling his new home, he went on vacation. The lack of time together had us annoyed with one another. On the phone, we realized that it was the lack of time together that had both of us out of sorts and we agreed that we should address the issue.
For me, addressing it meant “let’s talk about this on the phone right now and be together in this way.” For him, addressing it meant, “let’s wait until I get back.” I agreed to wait, but in truth I was still annoyed, missing him, and ticked.
I mentioned this frustration to my roommate and started to rant when he stopped me and asked me to explain what I meant by, “win this one.”
After hearing my explanation, he paused and then reminded me that being in a relationship with someone isn’t about winning. He went on to say, “Something I’ve discovered about romantic relationships that you have to believe for them to work is that you’re on the same team…You’re not two teams who called a truce. You’re not two boxers in a ring duking it out. You’re on the same team. Sometimes you have to accommodate the other person, but remember it’s not about your needs versus his. Winning in a relationship means working on your relationship until you both are as comfortable as you can be with addressing one another’s needs.”
Do you know that feeling when all the air goes out of you and you instantly deflate from your self-righteous soapbox of martyrdom? Well I do and in that moment my ego popped; and when he got home, we were able to resolve our problems.
As I continue to bonk my head and my heart in this relationship, the thing I have to keep reminding myself is that I am good enough to get things wrong with him. Maybe that’s why I never felt I could fall in love before; I didn’t know I was good enough in the eyes of the other person to make mistakes. But with him I am.
In the middle of the misunderstandings, annoyances and fights, I hope you consider what I am just now learning: if you’re in love with someone that ultimately uplifts you, there is room to fall short and even fail. Winning is not about beating the other person; it’s about how you play together. Remember that in a relationship you’re on the same team.