We've all heard our friends tell us, “You can't force it,” and we've heard our moms say, “You don't have to work hard for love. It should be easy.”
We accept these as truths. But sometimes, it's not so easy.
It's not black and white. It's hard to tell how much effort is too much. Effort can be so habitual, it may not seem like work.
I didn't realize how wrong these things were until I didn't have to do them. I didn't realize how hard I worked until I found someone who didn't make me work for his affection.
Now that I'm with someone I like and think is really cool, I realize how toxic my last relationship actually was. I was told all the clichés, but I didn't have concrete examples of what “too much work” is.
Here are the eight habits I had that were way, way, too much work:
1. Sending Screenshots To Friends
Don't overanalyze texts. This seems pretty straightforward, right?
Every girl knows the struggle of overanalyzing texts. It's going to happen, but it should stay within a healthy degree. If you're sending screenshots of parts of nearly every conversation to a friend, it's unhealthy.
If you're sending screenshots to multiple friends to get all of their opinions, it's unhealthy. You should be able to confidently reply to your partner without having to always ask your friend.
You shouldn't have to validate your relationship by sending screenshots of good morning texts. Of course, in the beginning of a relationship, you'll probably do this more often. But it should stop after a couple of dates.
There may be rare exceptions, like a fight. But I emphasize, these are RARE. If you're sending screenshots for every disagreement, you're probably on the road to a breakup, and working too hard to keep it together.
2. Keeping Track Of Replies
If you know exactly who texted last, who started the last conversation and how many minutes, hours or days he waited to respond, it's probably because you start all the conversations.
He makes you wait for answers, which means you're working way too hard. When it's healthy, you won't care who texted last.
You won't care if you double, triple or quadruple text him. He won't care, either.
3. Planning And Worrying About Sex
Women often connect sex to love. They use sex to verify love.
I found myself lying to my friends, saying the sex was better than it was. I told my friends every time we had sex, as a way of validating the relationship. If you're planning to have sex after every date, you're probably doing it to reassure yourself he likes you.
Or you're trying to make him like you more. In a healthy relationship, you won't shave your legs before every single date, or wear lingerie under your dress every time.
Sex will happen naturally. You won't overthink your skills on the mattress or ask your friends for pointers. In a good relationship, sex will be spontaneous, confident and awesome.
Your partner will always do shit that bugs you. And that's fine because no one is perfect.
In an unhealthy relationship, you'll bitch to your friends about everything he does that upsets you. In a healthy relationship, you'll communicate with him.
5. Obsessively Checking Social Media
If you ever want to take a selfie so you can post it and get a specific someone's attention, just don't.
You probably spent too much time doing your makeup, or finding the right angle and lighting.
And after you post it, you'll spend too much time keeping track of likes. You're working too hard.
6. Planning All The Dates
If you're planning everything you do and he's contributing nothing, you're working too hard.
He should want to take you places and suggest things for you to do.
7. Pretending You're Cool With Him Planning All The Activities
In cases like these, I say “activities” rather than “dates.” This is because they're probably group hangouts and casual things, as opposed to romantic one-on-ones (even though you'll lie to yourself and say they were dates).
Even the coolest and most easygoing girls have ideas and opinions. If he always wants to party with you and his friends, it's not a date: You're just working too hard to convince yourself he wants to spend time with you.
If you're pretending to be happy with exclusively hanging out in groups and pretending to like his shitty music, you're working too hard.
In a healthy relationship, you'll hang out with your group of friends too. You'll have one-on-ones. You'll make a playlist together, and you won't have to pretend to like anything.
8. Convincing Him To Like Your Friends/Family/Dog
A good guy will want to get to know your friends and family. He might not like every individual or every aspect of the person, but he'll love how the person makes you laugh and brings out a different side of you.
He'll love how much you love your needy dog and annoying sister. You shouldn't have to convince someone to hang out with your loved ones. If you have to beg, bargain or convince your partner to spend time with the other important people in your life, you're working WAY too hard.
Relationships are hard: They involve lots of communication and effort on both sides.
But when you work together, it's easy: It's not work.