I read something the other day that said being in a relationship today is like being in a competition to see who cares the least. I found this to be extremely true. It seems as though the relationships I, and many of my friends, get into don’t amount to much. We end up in some unspoken competition to see who will catch feelings first and be the first to leave. These types of relationships occur for a number of reasons, I discussed in a previous post, but it mostly has to do with the culture of dating that exists today. I see more and more of us ending up in situationships (basically a relationship, but without the title), rather than relationships, and getting our hearts broken time and time again. We’re too afraid to assert our true feelings, wants, and needs in fear that the other party may back out after revealing them.
I’ve decided to abandon that fear and speak up. I would get caught in many situationships, where my partner and I would do everything that consisted of being in relationship, but we wouldn’t have a title. As the “relationship” progressed, we found ourselves becoming more emotionally invested, but neither of us wanted to express our feelings out of fear of being rejected. Every situationship I’ve been in has not ended the way I’ve wanted them to. I’ve decided to stop allowing the walls I’ve built, from fear of rejection (amongst other things), to prevent me from growing in my relationships. Expressing yourself and opening up emotionally is scary, I’m not going to lie and say it isn’t, but what you gain from opening up amounts to so much more than what you can lose. Before deciding to become emotionally open it’s important to first…
Be honest about what you want
We get easily caught up in friends with benefits situations and similar relationships because we’re not honest with ourselves about what we want with someone. I’ve ended up in plenty of unsuccessful flings with people because I settled on terms that weren’t aligned with what I actually wanted from the relationship. It can be easy to settle for conditions you don’t want just because you want to spend time with that person but, if you’re going to be hurt in the long run, is it worth it? If we’re honest about what we want from the start, and stick to the relationship standards we set for ourselves, the less likely it is that we’ll end up hurt.
Be ok with being emotionally vulnerable
I used to hate talking about emotions, especially with someone I was romantically involved with, but the more I open up, the better I feel. It’s hard to be emotionally vulnerable, especially when you have walls already built, but breaking down those walls can open the door for self-growth. Holding on to emotions, or hiding them, can become unhealthy or build tension. I know that when I hold emotions in or don’t express myself, it eats away at me. I fear getting emotionally vulnerable with partners but, most people aren’t psychics. How can they tell what you’re feeling if you don’t express it?
Stop expressing yourself to everyone except your partner
We feel most comfortable opening up to the people we’re closest with. Although it’s natural for us to want to talk to our friends and family about emotions we’re feeling towards a partner, try talking to that person about it first. You and your partner know your relationship better than anyone else so why not speak to them about it first? Sometimes we do need time alone to collect our thoughts to accurately express how we’re feeling, but once that’s done, take those thoughts to your partner and talk through them together.
Don’t fear rejection
I believe the biggest reason we fear opening is up, is rejection (at least it was for me). We sometimes become afraid that if we reveal our true feelings or thoughts, others may not feel the same way. Rejection can hurt, but it comes with the risk of putting yourself out there, in any circumstance, including emotionally. We end up stuck in situationships because we don’t want to express our true feelings and get rejected for them. From what I’ve learned, in past relationships (and situationships), if what you’re seeking from a relationship is not aligned with one another, most times, that isn’t the right person for you to begin with. I’m really working hard to become emotionally open and sometimes it hasn’t turned out the way I hoped. Even though it’s been tough breaking my walls down and being honest about how I feel and what I want, it’s helping me learn more about who I am and what I want from a partner. Relationships may not always go the way you want them to, but every opportunity you have is a chance to learn from your experiences so things can be even better the next time around.