On a scale of 1-10, 1 being “not even a little bit” and 10 being “everything I got,” how willing are you to do what it takes to make your relationship work when things get tough?
Now it’s one thing to answer that question when things are still all peachy keen, but entirely different the moment you hit a rough patch in your relationship. And these days, I’ve realized once that moment comes, too many folks’ initial 9 or 10 shoots down to a 1 or 2.
In a culture where things have become more and more disposable, our relationships seem to have followed suit. From the hook-up culture to friends with benefits, millennials have created new ways to ‘get in and get out’ of relationships without the expectation of a deeper investment beyond no-strings sex. There’s this ridiculous belief that the person who “cares less” or “gives the least amount of f**ks” [as folks have come to articulate it these days] is better off in the relationship.
Why would they be better off? Because it makes it easier to run at the first sign of trouble, leaving those who haven’t mastered the art of shutting down their feelings to ease the escape bruised, hurt and resentful. Instead of approaching a relationship with a sense of longevity and the intent to invest in it, we get accustomed to approaching them with the intent to get as much out of it as we can while giving as little of ourselves as possible.
And while that might work for you when you’re at a place in your life where a long-term commitment is more than you’re willing to take on, it’s a habit that comes with consequences that follow you into your future [and/or current], more serious relationships. They show up as a lack of intimacy and depth, emotional detachment and even growing comfortable with the idea that happiness is always just around the corner, always leaving you searching for the next best thing.
We’ve become so used to not giving a f*ck, we don’t really know how or why to give one even if we wanted to. By trying to keep yourself distanced from the pain that comes with being hurt by those you love, you’ve forgotten how to commit to loving someone.
So if you’re that person always threatening to leave [or actually leaving] every time things don’t go your way in the relationship, you might be suffering from a lack of f*cks to give. I have a few right here for ya:
F*ck #1: Let go
Look, I know it’s easier to invest as little as possible emotionally, but that’s the whole point. Love isn’t safe, but like anything else worth having, it’s worth the reward. Any big decision you make in life will come with a level of anxiety, fear and doubt. So let go and give yourself permission to be vulnerable if you want to experience it.
F*ck #2: Use your toothbrush, not your mate
Learn to appreciate your mate for who he or she is as a person and not just in terms of what you can get out of from him or her. Value your partner in such a way that letting go and finding a new love is your final option, not your first.
F*ck #3: Love them the way they are.
Your partner won’t be perfect. Yes, the honeymoon phase will pass, and certain things your partner does will get on your nerves. He or she won’t always agree with you and things won’t always be fun and games. Got it? Great. That being said…
F*ck #4: Learn to win together
If you want things to work out, learn how to compromise. Compromise isn’t about getting your way 100% of the time, but putting in the effort to find unique ways to work out your problems with your mate. Learn to win together.
F*ck #5: You’ll only reap what you sow
The more you invest into your relationship, the more fulfilling it will be. So reap trust by sowing honesty and communication. Reap support and companionship by sowing respect and compromise. Reap integrity by bringing your best to the relationship each and every day.
F*ck #6: Turn your challenges into opportunity
Growth doesn’t happen when everything is great and going smoothly. Growth happens when you and your mate overcome those very challenges you always seem to be running from. Growth happens when you win, together. So stick around for it.
F*ck #7: You’ll see it when you believe it
PLEASE get rid of this mindset: “It didn’t work before, so it won’t work this time.” What you nurture is what will grow, including the thoughts in your big head. So instead, nurture the ones that will lead to your relationship’s success, like: “Wow, that definitely didn’t work as planned, but let’s try again. I’m confident we’ll make this work together.”
F*ck #8: The grass is NOT greener on the other side
Seriously, it’s not. I promise, it’s just a mirage. Get into the habit of first looking inward instead of peeking over the fence when things get tough. They say comparison is the thief of joy and I agree [and you should, too]!
F*ck #9: Dig deeper
Find value in the emotional, spiritual and intellectual connections between you and your mate and not just the physical. Find a reason to make your stay worthwhile it before the problems arise. Seriously though, sex isn’t enough.
F*ck #10: Sorry, but it’s not just about you anymore
If you haven’t already noticed, commitment is a team effort [see a pattern here?]. It’s not simply about you and your career or your various needs. It’s now about ‘we.’ It’s no longer about me vs. you, but about us vs. whatever problems might come our way. Learn selflessness. Learn sacrifice. Learn to give a f*ck. And in the process, you’ll learn reciprocity.
That’s what real love is about.
At this point, you have no excuse not to care and at least 10 reasons to invest in the longevity of your relationship. Pay it forward and share this with a friend who might benefit from having a few more f*cks to give.