I am no expert in relationships. But then again, who really is? But a strong beliefs I have about making a relationship work is that the effort that both individuals put into each other is crucial. I’ve had both relationships: ones where I felt drained and unimportant, and ones where my needs have been put above the other person’s. And when I think back to that first relationship, the one where I felt exhausted, I can’t help but feel its failure could be traced back to the the level of effort put into that relationship.
I constantly felt he didn’t want to be with me. I felt crazy and obsessive, because of how much I got on him for not making the effort to spend time with me. He would be gone for weeks without telling me when he would be home for sure. He would purposely ignore texts, because he just didn’t want to have to deal with backlash from me. I would stay at home and cry myself to sleep, because all I wanted was his attention; it was an all-time low for me. This was 10 months ago, but it feels like a century ago, and I’ve come a long way in such short period of time.
I am now in a stable relationship where I know where my boyfriend lets me know what his schedule looks like. We make the best effort we can to see each other when we have our free time. He cares about my feelings and I care about his. I went from a place of just a total sadness, to a state of security, and having the self-esteem needed to care for myself when I’m alone. I won’t lie to you, I still struggle with the whole “wanting to see him at all times of the day” thing, because my love language is quality time. And that’s something I know I need to work on to be my best self for me and for him. But the thing that has calmed me down the most, is knowing he is making the best effort he can to give me his time and attention.
What I’m trying to say is, effort is important in any relationship. In one of the many self-help books I read growing up, there was a chapter about relationship bank accounts (RBA). It tells about depositing and withdrawing from your relationships, just like a regular bank account, except the difference is deposits tend to evaporate and withdrawals tend to turn to stone. Meaning, you need to continually make small deposits into your most important relationships to keep them in the positive. That’s why making the effort to spend time, and give your attention to your partner is so important–just as it’s important to feel like you matter, and that your significant other is making the effort to spend quality time with you, just as often.
Again, I am no expert in relationships, but for me, personally, effort is really what keeps the two of us together. So, try listening to their stories more intently, or try to get them a gift here and there to show them you care. One of my favorite ways to put effort into my relationship, is to go get ice cream, then go on a drive through the canyon talking for hours and listening to music. I feel valued and my partner feels valued. And that’s all you can really ask for in a relationship.