So Easy To Love

I am jealous of relationships that look easy. Then again, that’s surface level stuff. It’s like a duck on a pond. We don’t see him feverishly peddling under the water, we only see the grace and ease of him gliding above the surface. So maybe I’m not jealous of those relationships.

I am actually jealous of those couples who collectively work together to make it look easy. The ones who equal part sing their partners praise, then also help them when they fall. I am envious of the couples who also tell you “Honestly, it’s not easy. It’s work. But it’s worth it.” That’s because any relationship, is work.

We grow up with fairytales and Hollywood movies that make relationships look effortless. Correction, they make “Romance” look effortless. Romance is the scene in the movie when it’s raining and the guy is outside of the girls apartment waving to her to come down because he wants to kiss her…in the rain. Like, why? My apartment is rain free. Don’t you want to kiss me inside the house?

Relationships are different. They are complicated and messy. They have their highs and lows. Some days are perfect and some days you question why you are even with this person. You also question yourself…a lot.Relationships are work and anyone who tells you otherwise, is quite honestly, an alien…and you should run.

I had this thought a few days while enjoying one of my favorite past times, a cigar and whiskey. If I am being completely honest, my current relationship has me working harder than any other, and for a variety of reasons. I took a moment and thought about my past relationships. They were so easy. I mean, really, took very little work. Some great times, amazing times and of course some bullshit. But they were all…ALL…so much easier than where I am now.

Then I thought about the men in those relationships. Things did not end well. Two cheated and one just gave up. So what made them so easy? Why did I stay so long? What about them made me happy? What about the relationships do I miss? Ok, being super honest again, the thing I missed about a couple of them was sex. It was fun. It was silly, but there was very little intimacy. I have that now. My fiancee and I put in the work and the time to learn those things that turn us on more than just bedroom acrobatics.

So what else made those past relationships easy? There were a lot of laughs with all of them. Some more than others, but laughter was the key. I was happy on the surface, but I had no idea what was brewing underneath. I didn’t know that one partner was cheating for months, another got bored and the last never wanted to be in the relationship . How did I miss the signs? We had great times. There was laughter.

That’s where the work comes in. You have to look past the calm and the ease of it all to see if you or your partner, or both of you are feverishly peddling underneath. This is hard because in most cases, you don’t want to assume something is wrong if it isn’t. You don’t want to create a problem that isn’t there. But maybe, all you need to do is ask yourself, ask your partner what they need. Not what they need in their coffee, what do they “NEED”. Maybe they need someone to help make a path while they are paddling in that water. Maybe they need you to help them paddle, or just acknowledge that you are a rockstar wife or kick ass mom who is making it look easy.

Or maybe they just want you to be next to them in that pond, present in the tranquil moment, happy you found your duck.

You like me! you really like me!!!

Let me first start with a simple fact. I am an only child. When I tell people this, the stereotypical responses of spoiled and selfish are the first things people want to associate with me. Let me make this very clear, I am selfish…when it comes to food. And as for spoiled, I grew up with a grandfather who was raised during the Great Depression and therefore raised me as such.

But there is another common trait that us solo babies have. And that’s the strong desire to please other people. We take it on almost as a life or death challenge. For many, it’s a defense mechanism in order to protect ones self. For some, like me, it’s a wonderful way to feel validation. However, the people pleasers are sometimes the hardest and the worst when it comes to being in strong, healthy relationships. “Why” you ask?

Because we forget a cardinal rule when it comes to a partnership. Ready for your mind to be blown?

Sometimes, in a relationship…you have to be selfish, and put you FIRST.

Ok, so right now, hardcore people pleasers and only children around the world are freaking out at that statement. I get it! I’m almost shuddering at just writing it. But if I look really deep, like super duper deep in my past relationships, I very rarely put me first. And they all failed because I was so blinded by the idea of love, that I looked past my partners flaws, or because I put my emotions, desires and dreams aside for what I felt, was for the benefit of the relationship and the other person.

Here’s the thing about trying to keep the people pleaser mentality in a relationship. It never really works. You feel that what you are doing on the surface is being caring, compassionate, kind, strong and considerate for the other person. But what are you getting in return? And if you’re both people pleasers, I promise there are things you wish you could tell the other person, but you don’t. And you don’t because at least “they” are happy, and you feel that’s enough for you.

That’s not enough!

That’s a great start. But what if you can make sure your partners needs are addressed with just as much energy and passion as you would do if you took care of your own needs first? I go back to that first fact. When you meet someone who is an only child, you think they are selfish. But in their world, they are doing the one thing that is keeping them sane and helps them navigate the environment around them. They are protecting their interests by making sure that “self” is provided for, first. In theory, it is not selfish. It’s self preservation. A sibling allows you to bounce ideas, fun, tantrums, conspiracies off of each other. When it’s just you, you have to learn in very difficult ways, what is safe, fun, entertaining and most importantly, worth your time.

The emergence of the “Self Care” movement is one that I am huge fan of. But I think sometimes, we need to do the same in relationships. The next time you find you and your partner making big “WE” decisions, step back and ask yourself “Does this serve or help me in this relationship?” And answer that question honestly. Now, hear me out. I am not saying that this should be done with every decision in your relationship. There are for sure moments where you need and almost HAVE to put your partner, first. Areas of health, mental wellness, family, etc. However, in general, try to challenge yourself to ask what does that selfish little child in me need?

And don’t forget another crucial fact. Trying to please others before yourself, very rarely ever works. That whole “Love yourself, before you can love someone else” mumbo jumbo, is kind of rooted in fact. Simply put, it means: take care of those things that you love, the things that give YOU happiness and is deep in your truth, and you will in turn, find and have a partner who will work hard to make those things a reality for you.

Good luck, you selfish little brats!

Closer than Close

Every morning, shortly after I wake up, I can usually set my clock on two phone calls. One, from my best friend AKA “my sister” and the other from my mom. We chat, catch up on the previous evening, gossip about hometown news and discuss our dinner plans. Living in another state, I really appreciate these phone calls, because I can’t see either of them as often as I would like.

Then, around 5 or 6 pm, when my work day is over, I get another phone call from the Will to my Grace. We catch up on work, talk about hot boys, complain about getting old and break down the latest in politics. And even though we live in the same town, these conversations are almost a nightly ritual.

I never really thought about it, but my family and friends are very much a part of my everyday life. Which means, they are a part of my fiances life. He overhears the laughs, the cries and the screams. And while I am grateful he has a good relationship with all of the people I love, it is very clear that at times, he realizes that they are a BIG part of my life. Here’s the thing…that isn’t going to change.

As an only child, I have found that I am super close with a handful of people and they have become like family. I may not have a sister by blood, but I have one that I love as if we share blood. And my Will…well, he was in my life before any boy ever was, and our pack to grow old together and share a condo in Miami, still stands. If you’re like me, you might have those people in your life that you are extremely close to. And that’s a beautiful thing. Often times, I find they are a sounding board for my fiancee when he needs advice about us, or when he went ring shopping.

But it can lead to a tricky area of a relationship, where those people could be a bit too close for comfort. Sometimes, it’s important to remind all parties to respect distance, while at the same time, understanding that those people are an important part of your life. One of the arguments I have constantly found myself saying before in the past is “They were in my life before you and will be after you!” While this only sets you up for some epic fights, it’s not really a strong case to present to your partner.

Rather, think of your friends/family and your partner as a collective team. This came into play for me recently when I was hospitalized for over a week. My fiancee would send daily updates to my friends and call my parents just to explain how scared he was. I was so grateful that my circle was so tight. And it was moments like those, that he found an appreciation for the people that mean so much to me. This isn’t to say that at times he wishes I didn’t watch a full episode of the Real Housewives on the phone while he would much rather cuddle on the couch. What it does say is there are people who love you, in and outside of your relationship. You just have to be smart and know how to navigate and bring them all together.