Since I got back from a holiday in Mallorca with my partner a few days ago, I’ve been in a really grumpy mood.
While we were away, he simply didn’t do what I wanted him to do; he didn’t behave as I hoped he’d behave.
I wanted him to take more responsibility for the decisions we were making while away. I wanted him to do more of the talking, the arranging, the ordering and the interacting with all the people we needed to connect with as we hopped from one Airbnb place to another and ate out every night.
Only he didn’t. It felt like I was doing it all. Granted, I speak Spanish and he doesn’t and I’ve done a huge amount of independent travelling. I’m good at this. It comes naturally to me. But still, he could have helped out more.
We had some lovely days in the sun but I came home feeling a bit drained. Worse than that, I came home questioning my relationship. You see, I have one of these ‘all or nothing’ personalities, a tendency to turn a problem into a crisis or a catastrophe and I have very high expectations of the person who’s closest to me.
How was this relationship every going to work out if this is how we were together on holiday? What had I been thinking? This was all wrong.
Fortunately, I’ve got enough personal development and self-awareness under my belt that I was able to pause and reflect before hitting the destruct button. And I’ve got enough mature friends who are in long-term relationships with whom to talk about my dilemmas.
One of my friends highlighted my expectations. It’s when I expect something to be a particular way that I often end up feeling disappointed or resentful. In this case, I expected him to be more like me, or to be exactly like me, to be honest – to be a confident and cheerful communicator, in English or Spanish, to be good at organising trips and adept at booking accommodation.
Another friend, whose relationship I’d judged from the outside as pretty much perfect, told me that her relationship, like everyone else’s, was a mixed bag. He doesn’t always behave how she wants him to. He has his strengths and his lesser strengths. And it’s definitely not perfect. Phew, that was a relief to hear. Dissatisfaction, annoyance – it’s all perfectly normal.
So where did I get the idea that once I was in a relationship, it would all be rosy and I’d never get dissatisfied with my partner? Where did I learn that if I did, it meant catastrophe; it signalled that it was all over? How did I get to this age with such an immature view of partnerships?
All relationships are a mixed bag. We don’t get exactly what we want. They’re a compromise. Even that couple that looks perfect on the outside – their relationship is a mixed bag too. We fall for the majority of his qualities but there’ll likely be a minority of aspects about him that annoy us, sometimes more than others. This is OK. It doesn’t spell disaster. It doesn’t mean it’s not right.
I’m not feeling grumpy anymore. I’m not feeling critical or judgmental anymore. I’ve talked it through and those feelings have passed. I’m now feeling loved up again.
Thank goodness for self-awareness and sensible, supportive friends.