For years, I’ve prided myself on being a “low-maintenance girlfriend.” I’m a pretty chill person in general; I like to go with the flow and keep my expectations reasonably low. I thought that was one of the keys to being a happy couple, and it wasn’t until five years into my long-term relationship that I realized the passive, seemingly-low-maintenance way I’d been going through our relationship was actually putting us in a really tough spot. It had been quietly wreaking havoc on our relationship for years and I had no idea. Here’s why it’s such a terrible trait to have.
You have unrealistic expectations.
If you’ve spent the entirety of your relationship trying to convince your partner that flowers on your birthday or a card on your anniversary weren’t as important as just spending time together, then why are you secretly a little upset when he doesn’t do those things? It’s fine to want those romantic gestures, but if you don’t express that you’d like those things to happen, you can’t be too upset when he doesn’t do them. These unrealistic expectations are just unfair to your partner who has no idea what you really want and then finds himself in the middle of an argument because he didn’t do what he didn’t know you wanted. Yes, that does sound ridiculous, because it is…and yet, it’s a very real fight that couples have. I had it plenty of times myself.
You become resentful.
The number one thing that happens when you take on a seemingly passive stance in your relationship is that resentment builds. It might not happen all at once, but slowly, you start to resent little things about your partner or about the way your relationship works. It becomes harder and harder to talk about it because you’ve actively allowed your relationship to function this way for so long.
Snarky sarcasm becomes the norm.
Belittling your partner with sarcasm and snarky comments is a surefire way to make them feel resented and unloved. Do you want to know why you can’t help letting these little jabs slip out? Because you’ve been holding back any negative emotion at the risk of starting an argument. See how this is becoming a really big problem?
Little annoyances turn into big arguments.
Suddenly, arguments about the dishes become about how they never take your feelings into consideration. And there’s no one to blame for that but you. If they aren’t giving you enough attention or thinking about your feelings, maybe it’s because you never actually say what you’re thinking or express when something has made you unhappy.
You start to share less and less, you miss out on conversations with your partner. You feel disconnected because you no longer even talk about the little things like how your daily commute went or that your friend Susan at the office got that promotion she’d been waiting for. There is some kind of distance between you and you don’t understand you’re the one causing it.
You slip back into passive behaviors.
The distance and silence between you are too much. You’d do anything to feel like the care-free, happy, seemingly perfect couple you were before. You start to think that if you just went back to the way things were before, that things will be okay. But very quickly, you realize that this isn’t working because it never worked. That’s how you got here.
You start to question their love.
They aren’t showing you enough support because you’re not letting them know you need it – which then makes you question if they even care about you at all. They aren’t resolving the tension between you because you’re not explaining why the tension is there in the first place. He can’t do what he doesn’t know you want him to do, and you can’t blame him for that…but you do anyway.
You start to question your own feelings.
This is a big red flag that you’ve been passive for too long. When you start to question how you feel about the person, it most likely has nothing to do with them and everything to do with your communication with them. They aren’t withdrawn and incapable of giving you the attention you need—they just have no idea how you feel about things because you act as if it’s no big deal.
You start to crack.
You’ve held in all of these negative emotions for months, maybe even years, and your facade is cracking. Little by little, you’re releasing negativity into your relationship…snarky comments, constantly venting to your friends about how you wish he’d be more romantic. You find yourself starting an argument on a day trip to the zoo or being bitter and recluse at his friend’s birthday party, all over things you’ve never said.
All hell breaks loose.
This is inevitable. The argument of literally all arguments you’ve never had, the drama, one of you sleeping on the couch. You just explode, letting everything out, all at once – maybe even going back years to things they have done that upset you. Your partner (rightfully) becomes offended and angry because this is the first time you’ve ever mentioned that you were unhappy with the way things were.
If you genuinely don’t care to get flowers, cards or fancy dinners, that’s fantastic and more power to you. But if there comes a time when you do want those things, don’t be afraid to say you want them. Being passive can be a good thing, going with the flow is great and the world needs more people who are laid back and positive, even in the hard times. But being completely passive in your relationship will most definitely backfire. No one person is care-free, passive or low-maintenance every second of their lives.
Be who you are, want what you want but let your partner really see you. You’ll be glad that you did.
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