Today I was thinking about the fact that I can’t seem to have a functional relationship. At first I thought that maybe I was the problem; that maybe my standards are too high. When I really stop to think about it, though, my standards aren’t really high enough. So many of us are so afraid of being alone that we settle for less than we deserve. After giving someone I was dating recently yet another chance, I’ve come to realize that everything I expect a relationship to be is perfectly reasonable.
This got me to thinking about how the people I have dated have screwed things up with me and even how at times I have screwed things up with them. At first this became a list of things not to do if you expect to stay in a lasting relationship with me. As I started writing more and more things, however, I realized that this list can honestly apply to any relationship, not just one with me. So here you have the twenty-five “Don’ts” of a functional relationship:
- Don’t trivialize the things that matter to me. They may seem small and inconsequential to you, but to me they may mean everything.
- Don’t try to change me. I happen to like and accept myself for everything that I am and am not. Being with me means that you like and accept me as well; the good and the bad.
- Don’t tell me one thing and do something else. Also follow through with what you say you are going to do. This is what we call integrity. You either have it or you don’t. If you don’t have it, feel free to find the door and don’t let it hit you in the ass on the way out.
- Don’t ever make a promise you can’t keep. Your word is your bond. If I promise to do something, I keep that promise. You better be willing to do the same.
- Don’t drown me in negativity. I don’t mind hearing about your day and letting you vent when it is needed, but if you expect me to constantly listen to how horrible your life is you have another thing coming.
- Don’t pretend to like something I like just to appease me. You’re not doing either of us any favors in the long run.
- Don’t assume you know everything about me. You may know me well, but you don’t live inside my head and have not experienced the world in the same way that I have.
- Don’t overthink everything. When you overthink things you end up analyzing a situation to the point of absurdity. It will make you insecure and possibly destroy any chance of a functioning relationship.
- Don’t ever think for a moment that you aren’t good enough for me. If I chose to be you, there is a reason for it and to think otherwise is a mistake on your part.
- Don’t put me on a pedestal. We are only human and with that humanity comes the invariable truth that we all make mistakes. To think I am infallible or that I walk on water is to set yourself up for disappointment when I inevitably make a mistake.
- Don’t dull yourself down. If you’re smarter than me or better at something than me, that’s perfectly fine. Our attributes most likely complement one another overall. For you to make yourself seem less intelligent or not as good at something is to tell me that you are not confident in who you are.
- Don’t forget that I have feelings too. A hard exterior doesn’t always mean a hard interior as well.
- Don’t let your happiness fall solely on me. While I love that I make you happy and that I’m important to you, you need to be able to find happiness without and beyond me.
- Don’t lie to me and think I’ll never find out. The truth ALWAYS has a way of surfacing.
- Don’t treat me differently when other people are around. If you’re with me, be with me.
- Don’t talk down to me. Talking down to me means that you think I’m stupid or beneath you. Treat me like an equal.
- Don’t say things you don’t mean. Words are powerful weapons and if you really care you would never use them against me in a malicious way.
- Don’t internalize your feelings. If you are upset about something say so. The longer you keep quiet, the greater your resentment will grow.
- Don’t expect me to read your mind. Even to the most perceptive minds, sometimes things elude us. You can’t expect me to know what you’re thinking or be mad at me if I couldn’t get something right because you failed to say it out loud.
- Don’t invade my privacy. It doesn’t matter how close we are. Some things are mine and mine alone. If I don’t choose to share them do not take matters into your own hands.
- Don’t pressure me do something I don’t want to do. If I say “no” to something, I not only mean “no,” but have a reason for saying it.
- Don’t take advantage of me/take me for granted. I’m willing to do anything for you. If you take advantage of that, you’ll destroy the trust we’ve built and the very foundation of our relationship.
- Don’t forget that you’re not alone. We’re in this together and have been since day one. When the weight of the world is too heavy for you to bear alone, share that weight with me. It’s what I’m here for.
- Don’t expect our relationship to be perfect. No relationship is. The good ones take time and effort.
- Don’t forget that the little things make the biggest difference. A simple “I love you” before you leave for the day can make all the difference.
I’m sure I could easily come up with more, but these were the things that came immediately to mind, which leads me to believe that they are the most important. If you liked this post let me know in the comments section or share it on one of the sites below.
Until next time…stay classy.
– C.M. Berry.