Just The Tips: Balance

Just The Tips: Balance

Weekly relationship column hosted by college experts Angie and Cass, answering questions sent in by you.

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Welcome back to another edition of Just the Tips! As always, if you're looking for advice, a second opinion, or a place to vent, don't forget you can ask us a question any time here. This week's article is all about how to find balance in your relationship.


1. How do you know if you're doing too much for someone?

Cass: You have to seriously ask yourself this question in any relationship, friendly or otherwise. You don't really ever stop and think how much you're doing for someone because it tends to be balanced. Also, relationships are typically given and take so if you're the one always giving then it's a little problematic as this relationship doesn't have both parties equally invested. If you're feeling like it's always you who has to go help someone or initiate conversation with nothing in return then maybe you're doing too much for someone. If you're fine with that, then great! If not, don't feel bad about scaling back what you do for this person.

Angie: I have a personal story for this one. I was in a long-term relationship with someone who was used to me taking care of him. It got to the point where he'd be upset if I didn't text him back within 10 minutes. For me, THAT was too much, and I didn't understand that until I realized that I didn't feel good after talking to him. Talking to him became a chore instead of something exciting or enjoyable.

When you're in a relationship, you need a balance between your partner and the rest of your life. If you find your partner is imposing on the time you spend doing things that are important to you, you're doing too much. If the relationship starts to feel less enjoyable and more like a job, you're doing too much. Realizing that takes some serious introspection, so take a little bit of time to figure out how YOU'RE feeling without letting your partner's needs or your obligation to them sway you. If you find you are doing too much, like Cass said, don't feel bad taking a step back.

2. How do I tell my partner that I just want to be alone in my bed without seeing anyone sometimes without hurting their feelings?

C: I know this is a serious question but honestly my best advice is to just tell your partner you need alone time and need time to recharge by yourself. They'll understand that this is a personal thing that you need for your mental health instead of seeing it as a fault within them. If they do see it as you don't want to spend time with them then your partner and you need to have a deeper conversation about boundaries. It's good to spend with your partner but sometimes it's even better to spend time alone. If you're an introvert like me then the alone time that you get is super important for mental health and maintaining a happy energy in your life.

A: If this upsets them, try asking why. There might be another problem causing them to feel this way. To make sure they don't feel abandoned, try setting up the next time you'll spend time with them by offering to hang out when you think you'll feel recharged—even if that's on another day. Taking time for yourself is important, but making sure your partner feels appreciated is important as well, and finding that balance can be tough. Good luck!

3. How do you find someone who will treat you right?

A: You need to find a person you don't feel the need to change. Looking to change a partner's hobbies and habits to accommodate your desires can also create rifts in a relationship fast. As with everything, there's a balance here, but if you're still looking for a long-term boo, try to find someone with interests and needs that line up with yours.

Another key part of this is being open and honest about what you want from the beginning. If you're looking for something long term, don't tell them you're looking for a casual relationship. This will only open the door to miscommunication and heartbreak and leave one of you feeling deceived—which definitely isn't being treated right. Know what you're looking for and find a partner who wants something similar.

C: As Angie said, be open about what you want and don't try to change someone. A big thing about finding someone who will treat you right is finding someone you also treat right. If you're constantly berating them or looking to "fix them" then you're not treating them the right way, so why should they do the same? Also, communicate what you want out of a relationship. You might think the other person is "playing games" but in actuality, you just have different ideas of how serious this relationship is. Nothing good will come of only one party thinking this summer fling is the real thing. So be open and candid about what you're looking for in a potential relationship and hopefully you'll find someone who is looking for those same things.

Do you have a question about relationships? Is there something you've always wanted to know but are a little embarrassed to ask? Have some feedback? We're always ready to answer—follow this link to send us your questions!

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To My Boyfriend, Over The Next Few Months Apart

Long distance relationships can be hard, especially when months pass apart from one another.

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As these roughly next five months apart pass know that you are always on my mind and in my heart.

We began our relationship together apart with states between us and the agonizing realization that this would be our relationship for quite some time. However, after months of numerous FaceTime calls, text messages and phone calls the time to see each other for the first time came! It was the first time we had locked eyes with one another in almost six years since that day we met at church when we were nothing but young eighth graders trying to prepare for an Easter egg race for the younger kids. I knew from the first time I saw you that I liked you.

We, however, did not attend the same school or run in the same circle so our lives took different paths and we never saw each other again. But, we became friends and stayed in touch throughout the years. We both went through tough times and other relationships with other people. Graduated high school and I went off to college and you went off to join the Coast Guard.

Our worlds were in two totally different places. Although we knew some of the same people because we lived in the same town, in those six years we never crossed paths again. It was not until you reached back out to me in October that our journey to where we now truly begin.

Right away I remembered the time six years ago when we met for the very first time and how I instantly fell for you! We caught up and told each other about where our lives were now and soon enough we were falling for each other.

You came into my life at a time when I was trying to start a new beginning after battling every day with depression and the never-ending thought of simply ending my life to make all the pain go away. I let you in and trusted you right off the bat with the darkest parts of me. You knew of my past and the wrongs in which so many individuals have done to me. Yet, you never got scared away, you never left me even when I was so desperately trying to push you out of my life because I was afraid of being hurt by someone else and knew I would never be good enough for you.

Months of long phone calls and texts went by and I was falling head over hills in love with you! When the time came to see each other again after six years it was instant comfort and relaxation! Our life together started with a shopping trip with your wonderful loving mother and sister.

I still remember our first kiss we shared in your car that day! How you asked me to be your girl a few days later after we both met each other's family.

Our time together so far may be small and a big part of it has been spent apart with states between us but, I truly believe that God brought us back together for a reason and he knew we were meant to be!

I am so blessed to have you and even though at times it can be super hard with the distance we always get through it. And I know that these next five months is the longest time we will have been apart since we started this journey together. However, I know this is just another test from God to see if we can make it and I know we will!

The love I have grows for you with each day, from the first time I told you 'I love you' to now! I pray that in these next few months we turn to God to help us get through it and trust that this time apart will only make us stronger together. We are both bettering our lives and starting our futures to begin the journey of our dreams.

Although we might not be right beside each other to do this, know I am with you every step of the way and that I am beyond proud of the man you are becoming and the roads ahead that God is leading you down!

I will see you soon my love, I love you!

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It's Time To Challenge 'You Complete Me' Culture

Your partner should be your companion, not your completion!

pmterch
pmterch
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After having some time to reflect after "The Bachelor" finale, I think this is the perfect time to put this article out there. In this article, I want to offer you a different perspective on how to view relationships. I want to challenge you to defy cultural assumptions of what romance is and shine a light on how codependency can squash your happiness.

The puzzle analogy

In wedding vows or proclamations of love, we often hear the phrase, "You complete me." We compare finding our person to finding the missing piece of the puzzle in our lives. Once we place that puzzle piece in the empty hole, we can finally see the beautiful and complete picture. Without that piece, we would be in a frenzy, searching all around under the kitchen table and on everyone's chairs to see if we find it. We desperately hope the dog, or the baby, hasn't eaten it. We hold out hope.

This comparison, as I have found, has created quite an issue in our modern day society. We are so obsessed with finding that missing piece in our lives to complete us that we often search in the wrong places or live in unending frustration. Sometimes we find a perfectly wonderful person, but they seem to lack everything on our checklists of what we have deemed as the perfect missing piece, so we let them go. If you are one of the lucky ones who has found a person who fills the void in your life, you often try to shove them into the puzzle as hard as you can and force them to fit. You need to be filled; you need to have the beauty of the final picture — without it, how could you ever be completely happy?

Where did I go wrong?

I was riding along in the car with my boyfriend when I realized we had hit a rough patch. We are a long distance couple — going to separate colleges four hours away from each other — but we only live two minutes away from each other when we are back at home.

I had never had a boyfriend before my second semester of senior year. I had always been very independent. I moved a lot, which meant anytime I got close to dating someone, POOF, there I went. But, this time I had finally stayed and found an amazing guy — my best friend.

When I was single, I was the queen of relationship advice (as we all are when we are not blinded by rose-colored romance). Finally being in a relationship made me realize how easy it was to fall into habits that I had always scorned others for. I began letting this relationship affect me in ways I never even suspected it could.

Don't get me wrong, this was not his doing at all. My boyfriend is the sweetest guy I know. He is always lifting me up and supporting me to reach my dreams. While we both struggle with anxiety and depression, we have found a way to always put our individual mental health first. My boyfriend had dated people before me, but I had not. This altered expectations of what this relationship was supposed to look like for each of us. He knew what mistakes to try to stay away from, while I was still trying to figure it out.

How to reframe your perspective in relationships

Regardless of my background, I think I have stumbled on the most amazing way of reframing perspective in relationships. Once I started changing the lens on how I looked at our relationship, we started bickering less and I became so much happier.

Here it is: your significant other is your COMPANION, not your COMPLETION.

Of course, you should feel happy and enjoy when your partner is around. They should treat you with care and make you laugh, but they should not be the person filling the empty piece of your heart — that isn't their responsibility. They should not be the ultimate source of happiness that makes you feel emotionally whole. This perspective is extremely unhealthy because people are fickle and we make mistakes. We screw up . . . all the time. Our culture loves to use the phrase, "You complete me." It sounds extremely romantic. However, it can be so problematic.

Now, when I spend time or communicate with my boyfriend, I see it as a lucky bonus we get after we both have spent time improving ourselves that day. When I text him, I don't expect him to reply to me immediately — even though I still wish he would because of the need for instant gratification, let's be real. I know that he is going after his dreams by working as hard as he can to make a life for himself. As a girlfriend, not only should I commend him for that, but I should also give him the space to do that. Likewise, I should go after my dreams and work as hard as I can to achieve them.

Your partner should be the fun blanket you have on top of your comforter. You would be just as warm without the blanket and still get a good nights sleep, but the blanket is still really fuzzy and gives you extra joy and you can wrap it around you while you are watching tv. And, if it is a really cold and stormy night, perhaps you snuggle up with your blanket and hold it tightly for a little extra warmth and comfort.

I am a believer in God, and I believe his holy spirit makes me whole. Regardless of if you share this belief or not, I think we can all agree that we are all supposed to walk through life together and lift each other up. If we expect to put our happiness and worth on the shoulders of one person, then that relationship is going to crumble. Why would you want the person you love most to crumble? I certainly don't. I want to be able to look my partner in the eyes and say, "I love you and I want to stand by you when you need me. When you don't, I will be okay because I am still whole and fulfilled".

pmterch
pmterch

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