A lot of millennials are trading in our romantic partners as rapidly as clothes, cars and cell phones, always on the hunt for something better and not willing to put in the effort long-term relationships sometimes require. Still, to the people spending time constantly “working on their relationship,” I say this: if your relationship isn’t easy most of the time, you’re in the wrong one.
There’s a difference between a rough patch and a constant battle. I’m not saying that you should ditch your relationship the minute you have a disagreement with your partner. Any healthy relationship is going to have good and bad patches, and spending time talking through issues is a natural and vital part of building a connection that’s going to last. Still, a bad patch should be just that—a brief period, not your whole relationship.
When you’re in a relationship, you should be trying to make each other happy. The best relationships happen when both people genuinely care about the other person’s happiness and will do anything that’s reasonably in their power to make it happen. Whether that’s coming home with flowers every Friday or letting the other person choose which movie to watch, those little gestures go a long way towards avoiding bigger problems like feeling unappreciated or unloved.
Compromising and constantly trying to change each other are not the same thing. If you feel like you’re always working on your relationship, ask yourself if it’s a problem you’re trying to fix or the person. Issues that come up time and time again are more likely to be do to with your incompatibility as a couple than a problem that’s worth working through. If the same problems keep chipping away at your relationship, it’s time to find someone whose values are more similar to your own.
A healthy relationship is your break from the stress of daily life. What’s the point of a relationship if not to make you happy? If being with someone is adding to your mental and emotional load through all the stress it causes, you’re absolutely better off spending some time being single and carefree. What’s your go-to pick-me-up when you’re stressed? If you talk it through with your other half, that’s a good sign, but if they’re the cause of the stress, it might be time to let them go.
You have enough stress in your life without your date adding to it. Seriously, you have plenty of things on your plate as it is. How many times have you put in a sub-par performance at work or the gym because in the back of your mind you’ve been stressing about your relationship? If your BF is making your daily life harder rather than putting you in a good mood for the week ahead, you’re better off without him.
Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It should be more like 95/5. You might have heard of the 80/20 rule—the idea that you and your BF should be on good terms 80% of the time but that it’s fine if you fight 20% of the time. Sorry, but I’m calling bull on that right now. Twenty percent of the time is more than one day every single week of your life when it’s supposedly OK to be upset with your guy. Personally, if I’m not loving my relationship at least 95% of the time, the guy’s not worth my energy.
You can’t change someone to fit your ideal. Putting work into your relationship makes it sound way less romantic and way more like a group work project. Do you find yourself constantly having to solve needless arguments, or trying to persuade your BF to come around to your way of thinking? Relationships are about give and take, yeah, but it helps to have at least a basic mutual understanding. You can’t change someone’s core personality and if you keep disagreeing, there’ll be someone out there for you who’s a much better match.
Having an argument is fine but being constantly at each other’s throats isn’t. This isn’t to say that you now need to panic whenever you sense a disagreement arising—far from it. Getting arguments out in the open air keeps your relationship honest and prevents you fighting over the same thing the next week. That said, if you and your BF are endlessly nagging each other, it’s time to accept that something might be wrong.
If things aren’t working, it’s fine to walk away. People that are married or who’ve been in relationships for years will tell you that the only way to achieve relationship success is to be prepared to work through your differences. The thing is, long-standing couples are kind of stuck with each other the way casual daters just aren’t. If your relationship isn’t working, the braver decision is to walk away—don’t waste your time endlessly working at something that’s not worth your time.
You deserve someone who instantly puts you at ease. The best thing about being in a relationship is having someone who’s there for you no matter what. You deserve someone that has your back and who’d never knowingly do anything to make your life hard. Screw working at a relationship—hang in there for someone who makes dating feel like a piece of cake.
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