7 Things You Shouldn't Expect To Be Able To Control In Your Relationship
Being in a relationship is amazing, but it can also bring out insecurities. You've made yourself vulnerable to this other person and you're happy, so you want everything to continue as planned. But there are some things you just can't control in a relationship. No matter how much you might want to.
I'm looking at you, type A personalities. I get it, I am one. Chronically on time, anxious, and an overthinker, I can find hard to not be in control all the time. But I respect my partner's autonomy too much to actually want to control her — or how she feels about the relationship. Plus, I want to, and have, an active social life completely independent of my partner and I like that she has the same thing.
"Here's the bad news: You actually can't control anything that anybody else does. Nothing. This can be a hard truth to come to terms with, especially if you struggle with wanting to control things," relationship coach Pella Weisman tells Bustle. "What you can do is to ask for what you want. The more specific you are in your request, the more you have a chance of your partner meeting your needs. You can also notice what your partner is doing right and appreciate them for it (out loud!)."
So you need to focus on the positive. But it can be hard to do — if you've found something that makes you happy, you want to share it with them. They'll be happy too, right? Nope. If you've worked out a system that's good for you — a lifestyle, a routine— that's great. For you. But you can't assume that that's also what's good for your partner. You have to learn to put away the faux-altruist "I just want what's best for you" motto and let them be their own person. And that also means letting go of how they feel about the relationship. And I know it's easier said than done.
But there are just some things you can't control in your relationship, so let's try to let it go:
1. Your Partner's Time
Sorry, you need to let go of this one. If you have a certain amount of time you want to see you partner, that's totally understandable, but you can't have them on demand. You have to respect that they might not want to spend as much time in a pair— some people need more alone time — and have interests outside you they might want to pursue.
2. Your Partner's Style
Your girlfriend loves wearing sweatpants or jeans but you just know she'd feel amazing in this mini-skirt if she tried it, right? Wrong. Put the skirt down. Step away from the skirt. And it's not for their own good.
3. Their Relationship With Their Friends
Some people really have problems with the amount of time their partner spends with their friends and family— but you have to get over it. If they spend a lot of time with them, share a lot with them, or seek advice from them, it's all normal behavior. You should want your partner to have their own life.
4. How Your Partner Feels About You
Obviously this is to some degree dictated by how you treat your partner and your actions, but some of it isn't. You can't force someone to feel more, or less, than they do. All you can do is be the best partner you can be and accept the rest.
5. Your Partner's Goals
Of course you should encourage your partner to be the best they can be — but only the best they can be that they want to be. Just because you think they should push for a promotion, or be desperate to start a family, or completely change their long term plans, doesn't mean it's the right thing for them. And on a more fundamental level, they should be able to chose what they want. Everyone's goals are their own.
6. Your Partner's Lifestyle Choices
If you don't like smokers, drinkers or drug-takers, that's your choice. But if you date someone with certain habits, you can't expect the to change those habits for you once you're together. It's completely up to them, and you knew what you were getting into. I know it's frustrating at points, but their body, their choice. I'm a teetotal vegan and my partner is a drinker and a carnivore, all without issue. You can make it work.
7. The Future Of Your Relationship
Like Weisman suggests, you can (and should) tell them what you want when it comes to your relationship's future. But can you control what they want? Absolutely not. Whether you stay in love, if you keep wanting the same things, the pace the relationship moves at, etc. — none of these are things that you can expect to be in total control over. Let it go.
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