Relationships Take Work
Updated: Dec 28, 2022
We've all heard this saying time and time again. Some view it as a rule to live by, some view it as a guideline and others view it as a caution. If we grew up as people pleasers, choosing to put other peoples needs over our own, finding false safety in placating rather than asserting; "relationships take work" becomes something almost sinister. It is internalised as I need to be second, I need to conform to what my partner wants me to be, I need to compromise who I am at my core, I need to take up less space. It can also be internalised as if I just worked harder we wouldn't fight as much, relationships are exhausting and made up of fighting and making up. In reading these statements, how many of them are things you've said or thought to yourself? When you thought it, what happened internally? Did you deflate? Feel worthless, insecure, tired? or did you find one more reason to dig deeper and try again?
Let's take a moment and reframe this. Would you tell your best friend to put all their energy into a new hobby, a boyfriend or their family and drop the routines and self-care they have in place? Probably not. Now let's take a look at healthy perspectives on the adage "Relationships take work". Statements that could be associated with healthy work are: it takes work to identify and communicate your wants and needs to a partner, it takes work to actively listen and understand your partner, it takes work and intentionality to maintain the relationship longterm and continue to "date" each other.
If you fall into the second category of statements, well done on the work and growth you've done to get there. Take a moment and congratulate yourself and also check in, is there anything I wish I was doing better or more of? For those who are still in the first paragraph of statements, we wouldn't be human if we couldn't evolve, shift and change how we show up. Think about relationship role models you have now and growing up, what was taught and normalised? How has that shaped who you are now? Take a moment and reflect on how you feel about yourself in your relationships. If you could change 1 thing, what would it be? Just because youre in camp #1 currently, doesn't mean it's time to ditch the relationship. It might take some "work" but you shift how you react and respond to each other.