Relationships Don't Take *that* Much Work

Until recently I used to think that sacrificing was an integral part of love. I secretly loved the feeling of being a martyr in my relationships. I felt like it was expected to stretch myself thin for the people that I love--I’d do anything for the people I love and I’d make sure that they knew it.

I think part of the reason why I did this is that I’m constantly told that relationships take work. You can’t just say that you are friends/partners/family with a person and that’s it. You’ve got to spend time with them and be there for them through thick and thin. I think that foundationally this is good advice.

But love shouldn’t feel like a full-time gig.

I’ve recently just had a friend break up with someone that I thought I couldn’t live without. But, now that they are out of my life I feel like I can finally breathe again. This person that I’ve valued as a friend drained the life out of me. They were a negative energy within my life and I feel like letting them go was one of the best decisions that I’ve made in a while. Looking back on our friendship I realized that I let the phrase “relationships take work” to excuse their toxic behavior.

Did they show up two hours late without a good explanation? Relationships take work! Be grateful that they are spending time with you. Relationships take work. Why did you think that this was meant to be easy? Do you feel like you are walking on eggshells while mentioning certain topics? Like you can’t say your opinion despite the fact that you feel strongly about it? Relationships take work. Your sacrifice is what is saving the relationship. Stop being so bitter.

But the thing is I was doing all the sacrificing. I was doing all of the work to keep our relationship alive. And half of the time I wasn’t really enjoying the relationship. I was just convincing myself that the effort that I put into the relationship was worth the few good times that I have.

But it wasn’t. Because I would hold onto that secret resentment and nothing would ever get fixed. I spent years of my life being friends with someone that I’m not sure if I even like. Relationships take work but how do you fix something like that? So I let them go. And after evaluating the relationship I realized that I should have done it sooner. And I would have done it sooner if I didn’t believe that relationships were meant to be hard.

I’m not saying that you should never fight with the people you love. Arguments are healthy. But walking on eggshells and constantly sacrificing aren’t. Relationships are about compromises. They’re about enjoying time with other people. Growing with other people. Not fighting your way to their heart.