Monday, November 30, 2015

Are you driving your partner away?

We have all been in relationships… we sucked at some and we triumphed at some, some of them lasted for a while and some fizzled out sooner than we expected. Some of us finally found a perfect partner while some are still struggling to get a grip on things. If relationships can be summed up in one word- I’d say, they are tricky!

What is it that makes relationships tick? Why is it that some people suddenly start playing hard to get- they keep you at arm’s length, cancel your time together more often than it would seem courteous, do not bother replying to your calls, even make you wait for replies to your text messages, while you keep wondering if they are as committed as you are? Confrontations lead to fights, and you seem to drift further apart than getting closer!

And while you sit alone on your couch, phone in hand, twiddling your thumb, wide awake at 3 am in the morning, they are probably happily snoring away oblivious to your agony. Well, you’d be surprised to know you aren’t alone! You have plenty of company!

I have been on both sides of the relationship. I am guilty of having ignored some people, and I have had my fair share of being ignored too!

Being in a relationship isn’t half as fun as it is supposed to be. Especially when your partner is not as involved as you are. Here’s what I think tips the balance in most relationships-

Being too available-

Being available is good, it shows how committed you are. But by being available all the time, you have effectively proved to your partner that you aren’t going anywhere. You will be available at their beck and call, anytime THEY need you. To top that, you will readily forgive them, irrespective of what they do! You will buy any excuse they give you because you fear to lose them. And somewhere along the way, you have lost your dignity and become their slave. While you’d like to think of it as a good thing to be forgiving and caring, they probably think you have no self-worth or you are insecure. And trust me, insecurity is such a big turn off!

There was this guy, P, in college, who would always be around me, like a puppy! (Sheesh! I feel so wicked saying that!) He was good looking definitely, but I hated the way he kept tagging along wherever I went! He would offer to drop me home, pay my bill at the canteen, and even carry the books I borrowed from the library (the books used to be really heavy). But, I wished he’d leave me alone. I remember my reluctance to go out with him even if we were going out in a group, or even take his call! He wasn’t a bad person at all, and I couldn’t put a finger on what bugged me about him. On the other hand, I had a serious crush on a senior and I would keep trying to find reasons to talk to him. My heart would skip a beat when he stopped to talk to me (no, not me actually, to the entire group), and I would struggle to speak, leave alone say anything intelligent! I would keep approaching him for help, and he was quite helpful too, but we never progressed to even close friendship! Looking back, I think, he perhaps felt the same way I felt about P. Too needy!

That’s the big lesson- stop looking so needy.  Stop sucking up to people. People don’t appreciate things that come easily to them. Human nature is such that it values things that come to it after a struggle as compared to things it gets easily.

If they are not returning your calls, stop calling them. Go out with other friends. And if they suddenly make plans for the two of you when you have already made plans with your friends, have the courage to tell them so. Don’t cancel your plans, just because they badly want to go out with you. Men and women alike, respect people who make their own decisions and stand up to it.

Of course, this does not mean you have to be snooty all the time. Give only when you feel they deserve it. Give when they appreciate all that you do. Give when they give too. Giving makes relationships better and stronger and works only when it is two ways.

Being sickly sweet-

When you are in a bad mood, what do you reach out for? Do you grab a bar of chocolate and a bag of chips or do you eat a bowl of broccoli? Broccoli is a known stress buster, but would you really eat that when you are stressed? We look out for comfort food, don’t we?

 The same holds true in relationships. People are not looking for goodness all the time.  Being too sweet, too forgiving, too devoted, too caring, just scares them off. Sometimes, it is important for them to see your wicked and naughty side, allow them to woo you and ask for forgiveness before you forgive them, be wild and you’ll have them knocking at your door. It is more comforting to have someone challenge them than someone who doesn’t need to be worked upon at all.

Being a nag

(men don’t do this too often, yea, some do! But perhaps women would relate to this more…)

Don’t overdo the sulking parts, the crying parts and the nagging parts. You nag for every little thing, sob at every given opportunity and keep complaining. ‘Why didn’t you answer my call?’, ‘what were you doing?’, ‘do you really love me?’, ‘is football more important than me?’…you go on and on. And not knowing how to stop that, the poor guy starts pulling away from you.

A friend keeps complaining that her husband is no longer interested in her. He often goes off on weekends with his friends, not bothering to include her in his plans, and they have frequent arguments about whether he really loves her or not! Common, right?

I think, men fear and hate being trapped or sucked into an emotional whirlpool. They value their independence. Just because they enjoy football as well as being with you, doesn’t mean they have to deal with the pressure of choosing between the two each time and being bullied into making choices.

Learn to draw boundaries. Let the guy enjoy his freedom and have his space. He’ll be glad to have someone who values his choices. He’ll be glad to have someone who does not seek to control him. This is something men look for in a woman and it could influence his decision to commit to you long term.

Relationships need to be nurtured with care. Things don’t work out if one partner is more giving than the other or one person completely dominates the other. Mind games weaken relationship and unless each partner respects the other as a person and provides space to the other to grow and live independently, the affection can get very suffocating.

What do you think?

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