Shortly after my boyfriend and I started dating seriously, I began to experience some serious boredom and doubted whether the relationship was worth it. What I didn’t realize, however, was that I’d gotten so comfortable that I stopped trying to be a good partner.
I ignored the signs that he was unhappy. Part of being a good partner is paying attention to your other half’s moods and general frame of mind. Their mental state isn’t your responsibility, but you should at least be aware of it. I got so tied up in my own life that I stopped paying attention to my boyfriend and never realized he was pulling away because he was unhappy.
I waited for him to pursue me. I love being admired and chased after, but the dynamics of playing hard to get have to change once you’re in a committed relationship. I kept acting like it was his responsibility to pamper me and give me attention, and when things got a little rough, I waited around for him to ask me about my feelings instead of going to him when I sensed something was off.
I didn’t meet him halfway. Relationships need to be equal and ours wasn’t. He was the nurturer and I was the passionate live wire. We may have been attracted to each other because of our differences, but we let them dictate our relationship in a way that drove us apart. I let him fix things when they went wrong, and let myself off the hook entirely.
Even when we fought, I didn’t fully listen to why he was upset. When you have the same argument all the time, it’s easy to tune the other person out and only hear your own voice. In my defense, he was never very explicit about me needing to try harder at our relationship, but if I’d made the effort to pay more attention, I would’ve heard him loud and clear.
I started looking outside the relationship for excitement. When I could feel the relationship declining slightly, I turned to other people instead of trying to fix it. I started going out on my own or with my girlfriends, leaving my boyfriend to do his own thing. While it’s important to have “me time” and to have deep friendships outside your relationship, they should never feel like an escape or a way to add spice to an otherwise unfulfilling existence. If they are, there’s clearly something wrong with your primary relationship.
I thought relationships should be effortless and therefore didn’t bother working on it. Love should be easy, right? Wrong. It shouldn’t be a total slog, but you should be prepared for ups and downs and the need for occasional serious conversations about why you love each other and are prepared to work for it. If you expect it to be a walk in the park, you may as well resign yourself to a life of one-night stands because you’ll never be able to handle an actual relationship.
I stopped spending alone time with him. Possibly the worst thing you can do when your relationship is suffering is stop spending time together. The decline of our relationship bored me more than it worried me, and I assumed that was because my boyfriend and I just weren’t as compatible as we used to be. I started my own life outside our partnership and we continued to drift further and further apart.
I mistook stability for indifference. The whole reason the relationship began to suffer was that I didn’t recognize a good thing when I had it. I love excitement, and once my boyfriend and I had settled down and grown comfortable with each other, it felt like our chemistry had disappeared. Relationships evolve and they can’t be insanely passionate forever—no one would want that anyway—but I confused my boyfriend’s contentment and comfort in our relationship to be indifference, and that bored me.
I waited around for him to fix things. I assumed that if my boyfriend really cared about me and our relationship, he would make an effort to fix it, not realizing that the reason it was broken was that I’d become so complacent. He’d tried to keep us together constantly. When I finally understood how much I’d relied on him to make things right and how little effort I made to do the same, our relationship turned around.
I was never all-in. Even though I’d found someone I wanted to settle down with in theory, I had a hard time with it in practice. I love dating and the excitement of meeting someone new, and coming to terms with being permanently attached to someone was an adjustment. Even though I adored my boyfriend, I resented the seriousness of our relationship at first because it felt like defeat. It wasn’t until I almost lost him that I realized I was ready to be all-in.
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