Should We Be Relationship Compartmentalizing?
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Should We Be Relationship Compartmentalizing?

How can we keep problems in one relationship from spilling over into another one?

Should We Be Relationship Compartmentalizing?

Why is it that how things are going in one relationship typically - if not always - affects the milieu of another relationship? Why when you fight with one friend you are irritable with another? When the guy I like is jerking me around why can't I talk to other boys? When I'm annoyed with myself why can I not talk to people in my class?

When I was a hostess and people would come in and glare at me like I was a door-to-door salesman when I'm just trying to check off their reservation, I would always try to keep my feelings from getting hurt by thinking that perhaps they just had the worst day. Maybe they got yelled at by their boss, in a fight with their boyfriend, dumped by their friends, stood-up, fired, whatever it is, it's almost definitely not about me. And while it probably isn't about me, it's frustrating when people let something in one aspect of their life negatively impact another part -- but we all do it. When people were rude to me as a hostess I would come home bitter, and their bad day ruined my clean slate of a night. However, as frustrating as it is, it makes complete and perfect sense. We're apart of each relationship, each relationship plays some important part in our lives, in our general makeup, so if one goes wrong, it's like having a bad hair day, or getting a flat tire - of course it pisses us off. But should we let it? Should we compartmentalize relationship ups and downs, or should we allow them all to run together? If we don't let them affect each other, can we be genuine or are we just pretending for different relationships? But if we don't pretend are we letting them ruin other relationships? In light of recent relationship problems -- and listening to too much Carrie Bradshaw -- I couldn't help but wonder, is compartmentalizing the problem or the solution?

Far too often I find myself letting one slightly 'off' conversation, one comment, one three minute bickering ruin my night. And it's not even the 'off' conversation that ruins anything, it's me and my bad attitude. It's like one semi-bad thing happens and I can't get over myself and ignore it. The guy I like will ignore me all day and I'll go home and fight with my roommate about the dirty pans in the sink. In one relationship someone will tell me I'm wrong, and I'll have to constantly prove I'm right to someone else. There's nothing worse than picking a fight with someone, realizing that you picked a stupid fight, and then wanting to undo it but feeling too embarrassed to approach them tail between your legs to apologize. And even when you finally do swallow your pride and apologize, as much as everyone tries to ignore the fight, no one can forget the fact that you just picked a fight for seemingly no reason. It's frustrating because I didn't want to bicker with people in that relationship, that fight was prepared for another relationship that will probably never get to hear it.

I'm not sure if compartmentalizing relationships is the right thing to do or if it's even possible, but letting a hiccup in one relationship create a landslide in another cannot be the best solution. Why is it that even a relationship's relation to another relationship has to be complicated?

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