Healthy relationships are the pot of gold at the end of a sometimes-jagged rainbow. But that doesn't mean they're all glitter and unicorns. Sometimes it totally sucks to be in a healthy relationship. No matter what anyone tells you, sometimes being a mature adult is not #Goals all day, every day. Sometimes it's more like #KillMeNow. I'm not trying to be a downer, but there is no perfect relationship. Even if you're happy together 99 percent of the time, you're still going to have that 1 percent that's made up of crying, pulling your hair out, and imagining what life would be like if you lived in a monastery on a deserted island off of Antarctica.
It doesn't make you a bad person to admit that sometimes the love of your life drives you crazy. You know, like that thing they do in their sleep where they end up with all the covers in a weird blanket burrito? Or how about that defensive streak they have every time you make the tiniest suggestion? Or maybe they are the grossest bathroom sharer. Or they leave cups all over the house, as if a person needs to drink out of 30 different cups in one day.
As a former Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator, I can promise you that it's better to get these small annoyances out of your system before they build into a toxic pool of resentments. It's OK. You're among friends. Here are some more common instances when it can suck to be in a healthy relationship. Let's commiserate. Let it out.
1. When You Have To Compromise
You want something really, really badly. Your partner hates the idea with equal passion. Now you're left finding middle ground. It's OK to have a miniature internal temper tantrum. Sometimes it's like, "Gosh! Can I ever just get what I want without compromising?" Take the other day, when I wanted to put up a nail polish rack, but my wife is against putting holes in our cheap, thin apartment walls. So I had to settle for a desktop storage solution. It's fine, but it's not those glorious wall shelves. I'm still a little bitter.
2. When You Have To Be Respectful During An Argument
People in healthy relationships can disagree (and even argue) without name-calling, and with an eye on finding solutions to the problem. It's awesome, but sometimes it's really not as satisfying as cussing your partner out and letting them know all of the ways they suck and are clearly intent on ruining your life. What is it about playing the victim that just feels so dang good sometimes? It's totally better to skip the theatrics and find a peaceful solution. But it doesn't always feel better in the moment when you're taking deep breaths and searching for empathy.
3. When Your Partner Is Sick
I'm not talking about sniffles. I'm talking about gross, whiny, plague sick. The kind of sick that's not serious enough to require medical attention, but just sick enough to require you to wait on the other person for days. And clean up their soggy tissues. And listen to them vomit. Because you're a good partner in a healthy relationship, you remain kind and helpful and nurturing, but what you really want to do is run screaming into a vat of Lysol and then flee the country. We all get it.
4. When Your partner Is Bad At Sharing The Bed
Holy ham sandwich. Is there anything more frustrating than when you're dead tired and your partner is snoring, stealing the blankets, awkwardly trying to cuddle, and/or taking up the whole dang bed with their endless limbs, pets, and pillows? And it's not like you can get mad at them, because they don't know. They're sleeping. But lack of sleep messes with a person, and very tired people have a harder time being kind and respectful. And in those moments, all that sleeping alone when you were single sounds pretty darn magical.
5. When Things Are Good For You And Bad For Them
There's this awkward thing that happens occasionally: Things are going super great for you and super bad for your partner, and you have to try hard to find a balance between being supportive when you don't want to and being supported when they don't want to. Like, say you got a killer promotion on the same day your partner lost their job. You want to celebrate and cry in the same moment. And you want your partner to be happy for you, but you also understand that they might have a hard time being totally happy in the moment, no matter how hard they try to be sweet and supportive and excited. Relationships are hard work.
6. When Someone Dies
When someone in your partner's family dies, but you didn't know them very well, it's kind of a weird time. You're sad for your partner and their family, but you're not that sad because you didn't know the person. But you still have to go through all the motions of grief and death and funerals and so on. You're being supportive and doing everything your partner needs, because that's what people in healthy relationships do, but in the back of your mind, you just can't wait for it to all be over. That's the worst. It's OK to admit it.
7. When You Get The Urge To Go
Are you the adventurous, spontaneous type who can't be caged? If so, sometimes that makes it sucky to be in a healthy relationship. Because when you just want to throw all your stuff in your car and disappear into the woods for a week, or when you want to spend your entire savings balance on shoes, you can't do it without pausing to discuss it with your partner. Sometimes a relationship feels like being tied down -- even a happy, healthy one. It's totally normal to occasionally wonder what you would be doing if you weren't committed to building a life with someone, especially if considering other people before you make decisions is a new thing for you.
These are definitely not the greatest parts of being in a relationship, but for the most part, they're not deal breakers. They're just examples of the ways relationships require hard work and dedication. And that work is totally worth it, the rest of the time.
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