How My Relationship Managed To Survive 'Bad Timing'
I don't know if you can actually really call it bad-timing because we really caused it ourselves.
The lack of commitment, the constant on-again, off-again pattern of our relationship and the lack of ground rules during our off-again times are really the reason for our “bad-timing.”
But nevertheless, if there was ever a definition of “bad-timing” it would be us.
About a week after my SO and I decided to be all in and really give each other a shot, he found out he was having a baby, and I definitely wasn't pregnant.
That month of my life was really just a blur of tears, bottles of wine, doubt and a lot of prayer, but I distinctly remember the feeling of hope and excitement for our future when we finally sat down and had “the talk” about getting serious and really trying to be in a healthy relationship.
Then that feeling being completely shattered when he confessed to me that our bright future might be ending all too soon.
I can also remember the constant mantra I repeated in my head every day “run, run, run, run, run.” But my heart was stubborn and that hope I felt clung to me like a wet blanket. Here I am two years later, engaged with a soon-to-be step son to a man that could be characterized as “bad-timing.”
Honestly, my SO and I are still working on making it through bad-timing. I'd be a horrible liar if I claimed we had it all figured out. But I'd like to think we've made it through the worst of it and here is how:
1. We never ever let the fights carry through the night.
Truthfully, sometimes I think that whole “don't go to bed angry” thing is a bunch of crap. I can honestly say I go to bed angry a lot and I am sure my SO does too, but we made a pact that we would never let fights remain unsettled through the night and let them carry over into a new day.
We knew that if we spent more than a day without coming to a resolution on something, we were doomed. If things remained unsettled at the end of the day, I would wake up feeling hopeless and resolved to just bail.
My flight instinct would kick in and it would make our conversations a million times harder. My SO loved to talk things out, but if I had more than 24 hours to dwell on a fight, I was over talking.
I just wanted to leave, to get out and run. We quickly learned that we couldn't wait to talk things I out, and I learned how to go to bed angry, but to still feel like we were on the right path to solving things and it changed everything for me.
2. We tried our hardest to focus on our love and our bright future, and not to dwell on the garbage we were working through.
When you have “bad-timing,” it sometimes feels like even the littlest fights become huge ones. It's so easy to get wrapped up in all the day-to-day battles and to lose sight of why you are fighting through bad-timing to begin with.
We knew our weaknesses and we quickly found out that we both dwell on the little things way too much, so we made milestones for ourselves and we celebrated them.
One month of a healthy relationship may not seem like anything to most couples, but to us it meant a month of surviving the (excuse my language) bullshit.
So we'd look at these milestones and remember the love that brought us to them and then we'd talk about where we would be when the next milestone hit.
Sometimes it was hard to admit we had only lasted three months when it felt like a lifetime, but for the most part, it was the perfect reminder of why we were fighting so hard for one another and where we could be in a year or two.
3. We instituted the “L” system and it quite honestly saved our relationship.
I will wholeheartedly, 100 percent, cross my heart admit that the “L” system saved our relationship.
My SO and I are both people who over-analyze and dwell on the little things. At some points, it was like we were picking little fights because we were tired of talking about the bigger things. There was a point in time where we would spend weeks fighting about the stupidest things: how messy his room always was, how I never answered the phone the first time he called, how he perpetually forgot to call his mom back and how I canceled plans with my friends all the time because I preferred to stay at home over going out.
So we instituted the “L” system. Whenever we found ourselves in a stupid fight one of us would take the “L'' or the loss, and admit we were wrong, or that this problem didn't really involve us.
We'd also use this system when it was time for one of us to just suck it up and do something we didn't want to do.
He took an “L” every time he had to come to a work event with me and I had to take an “L” every now and then when we had to go out and socialize with people on birthdays and special occasions and so on.
The “L” system helped us to prioritize what we really important and what we both just needed to let go of. It helped us to remain focused on the bigger picture and ultimately it helped us to make it through all the crap.
My SO and I are far from #RelationshipGoals, but we are slowly, but surely realizing how this all works and ultimately how we work.
There are still days where I have my doubts and wonder if it was worth it to fight this hard for something, but then I look at the framed family photo we have sitting on our coffee table, and it's hard to imagine why someone wouldn't fight this hard for something that is so happy.