Remember the whole phase where everyone talked about the “chill” folks? They were the guys and girls who were sooOOooOO ~chill~ and ~relaxed~ that they became the perfect girlfriend or boyfriend. Nothing ruffled their feathers, they were totally OK with whatever.
The issue was, of course, that the fantasy of the “chill” partner was entirely about finding someone who would just let you do whatever you wanted, whenever you wanted to do it. Beers with the boys on anniversary night? No worries, baby. Rolling home at 7am without letting your live-with partner know where you were? All g!
It wasn’t realistic, but for some reason we are STILL trying to be those “whatever!” people in relationships.
I’m not throwing judgement – this was me for years and years. In fact, I think only recently did I put this bullshit in the bin, and only after many, many failed dating stints and relationships in which I let a lot of dumb stuff slide.
The best example is my ex. We met on a dating app and hit it off instantaneously. It was just bloody easy. Hanging out with each others mates, conversation flowing, blah blah blah. Just GOOD, you know? Until… it wasn’t.
See, my ex was very much a “me time” person. In the sense that I think, in his ideal world, he would see me once to twice a week at most. It wasn’t that he didn’t like me, it was more that at the point he was at in his life, he had extreme FOMO and never wanted to miss hanging with his single mates. EVER. I was 100% not priority #1 in his life.
Was this an evil bastard thing on his end? Not in the slightest. Some people – including friends of mine whose ears I burned off from crying and whinging about my situation – legitimately like to see the person they’re romantically involved with a lot less than others. Just like you’ll find couples who are in each other’s pockets 24/7, you’ll also find ones who barely go on one-on-one dates. And that is all fine – if you’re both on the same page.
The thing was, I absolutely was not on that page – but I tried to be, and that’s when things turned to shit for me.
See, pretending that I was fine with the limited amount of time my ex would give me made me feel like absolute ratshit. IT WAS THE WORST. I can’t tell you how many days I spent waiting for him to make a plan, or back-and-forthing with him trying to find a sliver of his week that we could spend together, just us. It was abundantly clear that he preferred me as priority #3 after mates and solo time, and that I wanted to be #1.
Instead of realising this, communicating what I wanted from the relationship, and accepting whatever his position on the matter was – I acted cool. It’s fine we won’t see each other this weekend! Or next! No problem at all! Etc etc and my GOD was I so unhappy, guys. I was miserable.
It wasn’t until that relationship wrapped up (turned out, he wasn’t all that into me in the end anyway and he dumped me 3 months in) and I started seeing a psychologist because the break up really ruined me that I started realising it was okay to have needs.
Needs don’t make you needy. Never get that confused – Neediness is based out of insecurity. It’s when you desperately clutch at something instead of feeling secure in yourself. NEEDS come from SECURITY. This all sounds so Brene Brown/self-helpy but bear with me.
Basically, you are not some needy psycho if you say what you want from a relationship. Even a fuckboy has needs – they NEED the relationship to be strings-free. See? We all have them, so why are we pretending we don’t?
Since going through my psychologist gauntlet of realisation and so on, I’ve realised I need to be clear about my needs from a relationship from the get-go. Not like, ON THE FIRST DATE (omg no) but basically, if I start feeling that icky unhappy sense where I am finding my needs aren’t met, I speak up.
What do I mean by “needs”? I don’t mean the relationship basics – respect, trust, honesty, support etc. That’s stuff we all deserve. I mean things that are specific to you and may not be to someone else. For the record – my needs are: I need quality time. I need to be someone’s priority, at least for the most part. I need to feel included in their life, like be introduced to their friends and eventually meet their family.
These days I’ve been a lot more up-front with my needs, and not afraid to voice them or stand by them. Because what’s the fucking point of being in a relationship if you’re 80% unhappy? There is none. I’d rather be single – which I’m really bloody good at and enjoy, by the way – than feel constantly shit because I’m acting like everything is fine but actually it’s not at all.
For the record, I don’t mean that you just demand your needs and force the other person to comply. Compromise is part of this, obviously. And if you can both find a happy medium, fantastic. Maturity, people! What I do mean is to finish being a doormat who thinks they can’t say that they want more time together, or that they want more time to themselves, or whatever. You can, and you should.
So I say this nicely and with love in my heart – for fuck’s sake, stand up for yourself and your own needs in your relationship (or the next one) ‘cos you’re a good egg and you deserve to feel like one.Image: Parks And Recreation