Tuesday, December 8, 2015

A good partner will...

I thought I'd written a post when Wendell (look, I found a pseudonym other than Boy!) started dating, but it turns out I was mistaken and it was actually a journal entry, not for public consumption.  Anyway, it's been about six months since I got involved with Wendell.  Closer to four (maybe? I'm not exactly positive on the timing) since we started dating.  And I keep waiting for the honeymoon/new relationship phase to be over.  And it keeps not happening (much to my delight).

Things have been so easy and we've fallen into a rhythm that we both love.  It helps that we get to work with each other through May.  Somewhat shockingly, it's easier when we're working together than when we're not.

Anyway, there have been so many things that I've learned in the past six months.  Things I wish I'd known sooner; things about relationships that people just don't tell you.  So I'm writing them down.  I still have so much in life to learn, but these are things that I believe to be undeniably true.

There's someone out there for you.  Hell, there's a bunch of people out there for you.  If you leave your current relationship, there is someone else out there for you.  In fact, numerically speaking, there's a bunch of people out there who will fit into your life.  You aren't trapped.  You aren't worthless.  There are people out there who will love you for you.  You just have to keep looking long enough to find them, which sucks.

Being alone isn't bad.  I write this from the perspective of being in a relationship now, but I learned over the last year and a half that not being in a relationship doesn't make you less of a person.  Getting to know yourself, being your own person without relating it intimately to who someone else is, is so so important.  And if you don't ever want a relationship, then good for you for recognizing that fact.  (Even now, my bedmates as I write this aren't other people, but my dogs and cat).

If you think you aren't being respected, trust yourself.  There's obviously a point that you could take this that would be too far; there is for pretty much everything.  But if your partner is gas-lighting you; telling you you're over-emotional, over-reacting, burdensome, whiny, etc, then examine your relationship very closely.  Is it actually worth it?  Is your partner actually your partner?

A good partner might consider doing certain things a burden, but they'll want to help you.  I just spent the entire weekend with the worst cold of my life.  And Wendell spent the weekend with me; made me tea, soup, etc.  Was it fun for him?  Really not so much.  Was it a burden?  Well, yes, it fit that description.  Did he mind doing it?  No, he wanted to, because he loves me and wants to see me happy (and in this case, healthy).  And I thanked him profusely for all of his help.

A good partner wants to see you happy and will sometimes want to sacrifice their comfort to ensure that.  (rephrased: you should make sacrifices for each other).  The other week my grandparents wanted to have dinner and I wanted Wendell to come.  He's not the most social of people, and wasn't sure he wanted to go.  I did my absolute best to tell him that it was fine, but he also knew, without me expressly saying it, that I was disappointed.  And so he decided to go, and actually did have fun.  This is the type of thing that we both try extremely hard not to abuse, because it quickly becomes manipulative.

A good partner will communicate with you (specifically) well.  They don't have to be a good people person to communicate with you well.  Wendell certainly isn't what either of us would call a people person.  But he gets me.  He understands me.  When I say something that isn't quite factually or actually what I mean, he gets me well enough to understand my meaning, and won't correct me on the phrasing (except maybe jokingly).

A good partner will tell you the truth. Even when it hurts.  Even when they'd rather be alone, or with friends instead of you, or in another/additional relationship.  Even when you know it might hurt them.  Even when you know their response might hurt you.  Even when everything in you just wants to shrug is off and say: "it's okay" when it's not or "I don't know" when you do know what's bothering you.  And if you both do this, then you can trust each other, unequivocally

A good partner will accept you even when you're not good company.  A good partner won't desert you just because you're going through a bad patch.  The number of times I've been told that it's okay that I'm upset; that it's okay that I'm angry; that it's okay that I'm not good company, in the past six months astounds me.  I've been struggling with depression and anxiety and haven't been all that fun to be around lately, and yet he still supports me.

There's more.  I know there is.  But these mean so very much to me.  And if you're looking for a partner (or really even a friend), look for these qualities.

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