As wonderful as it would be, the reality is that no relationship is completely drama-free. But if you’re an adult looking to be in a healthy grown-up relationship, there’s just some types of relationship drama that you're way too old to be dealing with.
“You can never be too old for a great toe tingling kiss or mind-blowing sex with your [partner]. But one thing you can be too old for is jacked-up relationship drama,” Tawana Lowery aka "The Serial Overcomer" and author of 5 Easy Steps to Life Changing Prayer tells Bustle. “Time is precious. So don’t waste it on people who are brain-dead about the simple basics of a healthy relationship. If I learned anything from a failed 26-year marriage it’s that you must have a few basic things down in order to keep the relationship from blowing up.”
According to Lowery, healthy adult relationships are comprised of the three C’s:
- Commitment: This can manifest in simple things like being on time, keeping your promises, holding down a steady job, and being dependable. “When you’re in a relationship or thinking about one, take notice of the person’s personal commitment traits,” Lowery says. “The truth is, if they can’t manage the simple details of day-to-day life, how on earth can they possibly handle the weightier issues that go with marital fidelity, raising children or providing for a family?”
- Consideration: This means having the ability to be thoughtful of the rights and feelings of others. It’s about being mindful that our actions have the potential to impact the people we are in a relationship with, and thinking about the wellbeing of our partners when making plans, setting goals or making major decisions.
- Compromise: It's all about flexibility. According to Lowery, resiliency and flexibility are the hallmarks of a successful person. “I wish I could tell you that life will be predictable one day. But sometimes no matter how much you plan or prepare, life is going to throw you some serious curve balls," she says. “You need to be a person that can ‘roll with the punches,’ and you need to be in relationship with someone who can do the same.”
If you’re in a relationship that doesn’t have those three basics down, then you’ll probably have to deal with at least one the following types of drama you’re too old to be dealing with:
I totally understand the concept of trying to play it cool. But there is a point where playing it a little too cool will get you nowhere.
“If they can’t be direct with you about their feelings and whether or not they’re into you, it’s time to move on,” Samantha Daniels, relationship expert and professional matchmaker tells Bustle.
There's nothing wrong with being open and upfront about your feelings.
2Unclear Relationship Statuses
“If they won’t call you their girlfriend even though you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, this is childish. It's a sign of someone who's immature and still wants to play the field,” Daniels tells Bustle. The confusion of not knowing where you stand with someone you’re seeing can be the worst.
So as an adult, it’s super important to communicate and define the relationship when the time is right. “Either they show you the respect you deserve at your age or you need to move on," Daniels says.
3Being With Someone Who Constantly Ogles Other People
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being attracted to other people while you're in a relationship — it's human nature. However, if your partner is all over other people when you go out or is constantly commenting on how hot everyone is, Daniels says your partner, “might be too immature to realize that they’re lucky to have you.”
They're also totally inconsiderate for failing to see how they’re actions are completely insulting and disrespectful to you.
4A Messy Partner
The person you’re dating should be an adult who knows how to take care of him or herself. One of the very basics of doing that is maintaining a clean place to live.
“If they can’t complete basic household tasks, it might be time to rethink a long-term relationship with them. After all, how will you be able to share a house together if they can’t even keep an apartment clean?” Daniels says. Remember, you’re their partner, not their maid or their mom.
Jealously is completely normal but the way you handle that emotion is the key to having a drama-free relationship. As relationship therapist and co-owner of Ex-Boyfriend Rocovery, Jennifer Seiter, tells Bustle, "If you have someone looking through your phone, breaking into your passwords on Facebook or looking through your computer without your permission you might want to reassess the quality and maturity of the relationship."
Drama and gossip seem to go hand-in-hand. "If someone is preoccupied with gossiping all the time, it's going to be difficult to be around and wear on a relationship," Antonia Hall, MA, psychologist, relationship expert and author of The Ultimate Guide to a Multi-Orgasmic Life tells Bustle. "It could also leave your partner wondering what you're saying about them behind their backs, and have them questioning if you're trustworthy."
I'm personally guilty of getting sucked into juicy bits of gossip here and there — just don't over do it and avoid bringing it into your relationship. "Sharing in truly meaningful conversation is one of the joys of connecting with your sweetheart, so leave the gossiping in the past and move on to more engaging forms of communication," she says.
Part of being an adult is learning how to open up and allowing yourself to feel deeper emotions. Being emotionally closed off will rarely ever lead you to the happy, healthy and fulfilling relationship that you want. “If the person isn't willing to let you in and continually withholds their feelings, it will leave you feeling confused, anxious and generally ill at ease,” Hall says. “We're too old for guessing games and trying to change someone will never work.”
Neediness isn’t the sexiest trait to find in a partner. It's actually more of the opposite and tends to turn people off. “Trying to date someone with a continual need for conflict and attention is exhausting,” Hall says. “Staying in this heightened state of need is unhealthy and can't provide a basis for a truly connected, loving relationship.”
9Losing All Sense Of Chill
"A common pattern I see in some of my dating clients as well as a widespread misconception about drama is that it only has to do with pain and suffering," dating coach Pearl Flax tells Bustle. "Most people ignore the fact that we chose the level of intensity we want to focus on when issues arise. As adults we have the choice of mindful thinking and making healthy decisions, yet many people chose to lose their inner balance when issues arise. They become so wrapped up with how they feel in that given situation that they lose the ability to maintain a balanced perspective."
How many times have you gotten into arguments with your partner that you realized were unavoidable after damage has already been done? That's why it's important to take a step back and breathe before reacting to issues.
Flax suggests waiting at least 20 minutes to react since this is the minimum amount of time it takes our brains to reset in stressful situations. You can go for a walk, listen to some music, or talk out your initial feelings with a grounded friend who'll help center you again. "Accept the fact that we don’t have control over what other people chose to do or not do," Flax says. "We can only control what we do and how we react to situations."
You have the power to choose what you do in your life. If you know you're too old to be dealing with relationship drama as seen above, then choose to remove yourself from that situation. Instead, make the choice to be in a healthy, happy grown-up relationship with someone who wants the same thing. I'm not saying your relationship will be completely drama-free, but you'll get pretty close to it.