Two Mindsets to Keep in Mind in Your First Releationship

While relationships and everything that follows has always interested me, it wasn't until recently that I actually began to experience it. I mean, clearly, I knew it was nothing like the books. I knew that it wasn't perfectly timed phrases followed by perfectly timed kisses. I knew that it wasn't chock-full of being romanced all the time. Still, those books, those movies, those fantasies were in the back of my mind.It seemed that part of me, whether subconscious or not, compared reality and to what's clearly not. And it was dangerous. Especially when I have a genuinely awesome, compatible, attractive person in front of me. Sometimes all I seemed to think about were all the little ways he didn’t act like Augustus Waters (I'm legit dying after typing that.That is such a ridiculous name even for a fictional book, and I’m actually sure I wouldn’t want him to act like that anyway). 

The point is: for a lot of people, sometimes first relationships don't work out. But I'd like to be an optimist, and maybe even a romantic, and claim that sometimes it's not always because of the two people involved, but because of the mindsets and the slightly self-destructive expectations and standards they have. 

 

Jerry Mcguire was wrong. This person does not complete you. 

 

One of the biggest things that people tend to do in relationships is idolize them. They become each other's everything. And maybe that is the case for some people. 

I've heard stories of people who claim they've met their soul mate. I've listened to people believe, with everything in them, that they wouldn't survive without their significant other, "their other half.” 

Two people supporting each other is beautiful. Not only that, I can attest that it can be rare to find someone that you get, and that gets you just as much. Still, there’s something within me, based off observations and experiences, that can’t seem to wrap my head around this romantic idea, or in my opinion, popular, relational misconception. To me, when your significant other, or anyone for that matter, becomes your everything two things can occur.One, you can lose sight of your own life. You can lose touch of your family, your studies, your friends, and even yourself. You're swept up in the feelings and the person. In a way, I think that you lose sight of reality. Sometimes (I say sometimes so much, because I don’t want to generalize relationships) allowing someone to complete you isn't a whimsical product of true love, but something that we force. When caught in infatuation, we become emotionally invested too fast, regardless of whether or not he/she is the “one”. Everyone wants to be in love. Every one wants to feel like they matter to someone. As a result, we attempt to imitate or instigate that, whether or not we’re actually there, and we cling to people in unhealthy ways.  

Two, you put such high expectations on this person that it causes a strain on your relationship. We think we drop obvious hints in our boyfriends’ laps about how we want and need them to act. When we do this, one, we get wrongfully mad when they don’t follow through on our desired actions though we didn’t even explicitly tell them what our expectations were, and two, we attempt to mold a very real, complicated person, into our fictional idea of how a boyfriend should act. Inflicting that kind of pressure on a person, whether he’s your boyfriend or even just your friend, is selfish and self-destructive. Then on the other hand, if your partner is okay with the responsibility, regardless, he’s eventually gonna slip up and every time it’s going to be more and more disappointing and frustrating. Love, to me, is loyalty to a person despite their flaws. It's seeing and accepting them as a whole and not just for the bits and pieces that they adore. It's supposed to be freeing and safe, not confining and strained. When we say that someone completes us, its almost as if we don't trust ourselves with our own lives. It's as if we need another to fill the space. To me, when someone genuinely believes that her partner completes her, and even further, that she can’t live without that person, it conveys a lack of appreciation for herself. She doesn’t give herself enough credit. However, when she finally does, she’ll gains a sense of independence, a sense of self, and a sense of identity. With that, only then can she fully appreciate her partner for who he is and how they naturally fit together. 

Remember that this person is more than just your significant other.

I have the tendency to get caught up in my own world. I have the tendency to think that I'm the only one with problems. Sometimes I forget that everyone has their own set of headaches, insecurities, and issues. Everyone has stressful tests, clubs, sports, etcetera. Given that, I think we all have the tendency to view others as one dimensional.

That amazing girl that you've known since sixth grade isn't just your best friend, she's a Purdue student and a full-time youth leader. That strong woman who’s always hugged you, encouraged you, and loved you isn't just your mom, she's a part-time worker and a aunt, sister, and daughter. That sweet, determined guy you're dating who always seems to bring you food at the perfect time, isn’t just your boyfriend, he's an athlete, a club member, a student, a friend, a son...and the list goes on. 

We have the expectation to have our needs and wants met first. When we come home from a hard day, we're surprised to see our boyfriends suffering through the same issues as well. Being in a relationship has revealed to me that I can be selfish. I forget everything that my boyfriend is and everything that he’s going through. Sometimes we need to apologize and cut them some slack. 

To be clear, I’m not even saying that these are the mindsets that everyone should have. I’m not saying that these mindsets lead to some perfect relationship, because, goodness sakes, I'm still in my first relationship too! But I just wanted to share with you some pitfalls that I've almost fallen into and what trains of thoughts have helped me avoid them:).