Today we’ll be discussing unaligned relationships. When do you know a relationship needs to end? How does that go? What does that look like? What are the flags to look out for?
When we think about relationships, in general, they're all very different, right? We're all different people. We're coming through different life experiences, coming from different places in the world, probably from different cultures and different backgrounds, and we're not all going to be the same when we get together. Something to remember is that, if things are different, it doesn't mean that it's a bad relationship. It could just mean that there are some things you may have to accept or learn to understand about someone because you really want to get to know them.
Dani and I (Keely) are completely different people. In the beginning, I'll be completely honest with you, I thought that we weren't good. I'm very outgoing, and I'm loud. Maybe not when I'm on my own, but when I'm out in public with people, I am. I was used to dating someone that would match that level with me. Dani is a little quieter, more reserved. I didn’t know if it was a good match. I saw this difference, and it’s not what I've had before.
I started to get to know Dani. We didn't have the same personalities, but it didn't mean that was a bad thing. I had to put myself aside for a moment and actually take the time to get to know who I was as a person and if what Dani had would be good for me. I had to ask myself, “Do I want to be with someone that is exactly like me?”
As I got to know who she was and saw her heart and her beautiful energy, I realized, “No, I don't need that.” But it took me questioning and asking myself,” What is it that I need?” When you're in these relationships and there's a mismatch or maybe this isn't what I'm used to, check in and ask yourself, “What is it that I need?”
It's really coming down to acceptance of who people are and whether or not you are okay with these differences in your life. It’s about your values. If you're both willing to accept each other, knowing that would mean staying together long-term, you can figure out how to make it work. That's really what this is all about. We're very similar in our values and what we believe and what we want for ourselves, so we learned how to, not just accept each other, but love each other. We also had to accept ourselves in the process and learn to grow with each other.
Now, let's talk about some of the other things that could be missing. There's a lot of things that could come up where you could ask, “Can we work this out?” It may be family, religion, communicating in different ways, not being emotionally regulated enough, not having the same levels of awareness. There could be a lot of things that feel like they're not in alignment, but the question is, “Can we work through this?”
Oftentimes today, there's so much avoidance in relationships. People are so quick to give up, but, at the same time, you have to decide if you can actually work through this, and can you build resilience? Can you turn that love into resilience and step into the discomfort for a moment to see what you can accomplish or get through together? That's built such a strong foundation in our relationship, especially in the beginning.
There were times where I (Keely) was selfish. I was so selfish, I was thinking about when Dani had something come up, I was so focused on myself. She brought something to my attention, and I'd make it about me and bring up a problem that I have with her. I took everything personally because I never took time for myself. That was a moment for Dani where she didn’t know if this is a good fit because she wasn’t getting her needs met or she wasn’t feeling seen or understood. I was just spending so much time jumping from relationship to relationship, but the same thing kept repeating over and over.
This is something that pops up all the time with our clients. How long do you stay when something doesn't feel right? One of our clients the other day was like, “I don't know how long I can just wait and hope that they work on themselves.” Most of the people who are coming to us are more anxious, so they're just waiting around and hoping that somebody else will give them what they need, but there comes a point where you have to understand your value.
I needed to understand how to ask for what I needed. To put yourself into relationships, knowing that it's going to be hard for you, but knowing that you're breaking patterns while you're doing it, is the best thing. Give yourself enough time to understand what it is that you need. After you’ve done that work, if you're questioning if it's time to let it go, or if you need to hold on, it’s probably time to let it go. I (Dani) don't think there was a point where I questioned if it was really over with Keely because I had already seen her work towards changing. If she kept doing the same thing over and over and I had to tell her she wasn’t listening or I didn’t feel like she was really understanding, I would have rethought the relationship. If you are communicating your needs and they’re not listening, that's when you know they aren’t meeting your needs because either they don't know how or just can’t.
It's all about our tolerance and what our own boundaries are. What are we willing to put up with? What are we not willing to put up with? So when you ask the question, “When is it time to end this relationship?” remember that.
Relationships are not easy. I think anyone who says that they are easy isn’t taking it seriously. Take time for individuality and maybe spend an hour or two on the weekend and do something together to improve your relationship. And there’s one last important element: Investing in our relationship means investing in ourselves.
It's not just about how to create a bond with each other to create a healthy foundation, but it's about creating that foundation within ourselves. And that's ultimately what we do at Coming Out Happy. All of these products and our Queer Happiness Collective community are really to help you get that solid foundation within yourself because the more that we get to understand ourselves, you will know when to walk away.
So many people that we've worked with come to us because they're not confident in themselves. They're struggling with anxious attachment or being avoidant and they don't know how to develop security within and understand that it's okay to walk away. Creating healthy relationships is not just about the other person, it’s also about ourselves and what we do with the magic that we find within ourselves. It's about you checking in on yourself and trusting that voice inside of you letting you know the truth. And if you're not getting your needs met, it's okay to walk away.
There are more people out there, and you have to trust. If you’re ready to become the partner you’ve always wanted to be, visit ComingOutHappy.com to try out a free week of membership in the Queer Happiness Collective. Every single month, we've got a new resource tool that we've added from our library and from other queer experts from all over the world. If you want to join with a partner, we give you a little discount. And if you're in a relationship and you want to work on having deeper conversations, check out our LGBTQ+ Couples Conversation Cards, also available on ComingOutHappy.com. You can take them to the park and ask your date questions with three different levels of vulnerability to enhance your relationship.
Dani & Keely
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