Monday, April 9, 2012

RELATIONSHIPS : If You Give Me an Ultimatum? I'll Break Up With You.


In relationships, people have their individually felt-out comfort zones. Some people are adamantly opposed to open relationships, for instance, while others are more lenient in this area. Some require a shared religion, political affiliation, maybe even something as 'out there' as kinkiness in the bedroom-- who knows! It is all unique, which is what makes each relationship different. 

With these comfort zones come expectations... 
"I expect him to call me at midnight to wish me a happy birthday," 
"I expect her to call me when she is going out, so that I'm not taken by surprise by facebook pictures," 
"I expect her to say 'I love you' back,"
"I expect him not to kiss her...."
Though we most often internalize these expectations without fully realizing it, the instant disappointment when one of these expectations is shattered brings any hidden expectations to light. So, how do we deal with this disappointment? How do we deal with dating someone who, even if you are truly in love and 'perfect together', doesn't see eye-to-eye with you on many things, important or less so?

First, gauge how important the subject of any discrepancies are. Pick your battles. Is it compromise-able? If it is, compromise! It is as simple as you make it. Talk about it! Work it out, and remember that sometimes pride and selfishness should not trump love. Sometimes you have to fold your cards. You will know when you are truly OK with doing this-- you will feel no regret and feel at peace with compromising, knowing you are helping the person you care for. You will not feel twinges of, "should I have compromised" or feel haunted by, "I cannot believe I am in this situation."

Or, is this subject of discrepancy so ingrained in you and your morals, that you are not willing to bend without feeling regret or resentment, maybe even underlying unhappiness? If so, let me give you a tip: do not date someone in hopes that he or she will change. Date someone for who he or she is with you, right now. I say this because making someone change by using ultimatums or force will only cause resentment-- in fact, any push for change at all can cause resentment. Change comes naturally, and the person who needs to change will change on his/her own for the better. If you don't like him or her without this change? Move on. You cannot be in love with a section of a person-- love is truly all or none. You have to love the flaws and the perfections together, not just the perfections.

So, all those ultimatums you dream about using? Defenstrate them. If someone is truly not matching up to you when it comes to important decisions that affect you? Sometimes, it is simply time to move on. This isn't to say you won't love the person anymore, but sometimes following what you believe in can be more important. And, if you are in a situation like this, it doesn't mean that either of you are wrong or less for disagreeing or choosing a certain lifestyle, it simply means you cannot agree on life-changing decisions that you consider to be essential, important-- you don't match up right now. Either you will be happier for it and move on, or you will be happier for it and the person you had to leave will grow up a little in the time you are apart and come back to you, having changed all on his/her own. 

Just realize that ultimatums are for parents to wield, not a girlfriend or boyfriend. And, some things are beyond compromise-- don't feel like you are being difficult (if something will bother you to the core then it is not negotiable). Staying with someone who does not consider the same things in life to be important to the point where it interferes with decisions made within the relationship? Well, you'll surely ruin your relationship all on your own, and probably leave it on a much more negative note because of it. Resentment, ladies and gentleman, is the demise of most college relationships, and relationships in general. If something is so fundamental to you that any breach of it would bother you enough to call it, "important," than imagine dating someone who breached it. You're with them all the time. This breach is all you'll think about or want to talk about until it's resolved. And, if you can't come to an understanding? You'll end up having the same conversation over and over again, as though in denial that one of you will change your mind. Don't put yourselves through this. At least try to remain friends! And, who knows what will happen later when you both have some time to grow up and use the gift of age to its fullest: true introspection always. 

Let me give you an example if this is not clear or convincing. My friend, let's call her Myra, is dating a man, let's call him Grey. Grey is going abroad to Cambodia, and he doesn't want to stay together while he is there. But, upon return, he wants to get back together with Myra. He does not want to be exclusive, and yet, he'd prefer that Myra not experience anyone else and makes that clear. Myra, on the other hand, wants to continue the relationship and would like exclusivity. Most people in Myra's position would resort to ultimatums: if you don't stay with me now, we won't get back together. Here's the thing, if Grey doesn't want to stay in a relationship while abroad? And, if he feels like he will be held back if he is exclusive? Well, he may still have a grand time while abroad and with a girlfriend, but if it's not his idea to stay together and he has a terrible time or feels held back because of it? He will blame Myra always, whether it's her fault or not. And, shouldn't Myra be with someone who wants to be with her, however inconvenient, as she would like? This situation is not compromise-able. You cannot, without exacerbating the situation, bargain over how many people you can or cannot have experiences with, or for how long you will or will not be together. Myra and Grey are two people, happily together, who want different things that will not match up. Rather than giving Grey any ultimatums, what should Myra do? Break up with him. This sounds harsh, but she is actually doing them both a favor. She is saving herself the heartache of wondering what will happen and the resentment of agreeing to something she is so whole-heartedly against. And, as for Grey? She will set him free. It is important to remember the quote: "If you really love someone, set her free. If she really loved you? She'll come back to you." 

Sometimes, rather than holding on to what could be or forcing someone to agree with you and your life style choices, it is best to let go, and realize that no matter what? 
Bob Marley was spot on: everything will be alright. 

    The Woman Behind Unleashed and the Words                       
   I am a Practice of Art Major and Creative Writing Minor at UC Berkeley. My passions are writing and the arts in general. I created Unleashed for the empowerment and enlightenment of women everywhere. I am the editor, designer and contributing writer. I truly hope this magazine speaks to each and every woman.  Sasha Martin      


Anonymous said...

What is your response to the idea that the example you gave is compromisable? I have friends who created terms such as: "don't hook up with anyone you're friends with / don't tell me about who you hook up with / you can't hook up with someone more than three times"

There's other ways to deal with the situation, Myra could simply agree to Grey's rules momentarily with the following situation: "we will be in contact throughout the experience, and if this relationship ever becomes too negative of a thing we will have to talk about whether we're continuing it." That way she isn't prematurely ending the relationship, giving her the chance to end if the terms aren't working, and there is no resentment caused here.

Unleashed Magazine News Central said...

I meant that if she is not able to deal with the idea of not being exclusive, instead of harboring any resentment towards him for a life choice he has made, she should end it. There are always different ways of handling situations, which is why I said every person and relationship is different. As I said, it has to do with comfort zones and what is fundamentally important. My emphasis was not on speedy decisions, it is always good to give things a chance. Rather, it was on the idea that if you are at a point where you know you will not agree, sometimes we have to be adults and realize that it is time to let the relationship rest, even if it is to awoken later as you suggest is a possibility. I meant more that it is healthier not to flitter back and forth, and instead, to do what is best for both people: to think of the larger picture and what will bring about the most happiness. Again, thanks for your feedback. We always appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

ah thanks, that makes sense!

Unleashed Magazine News Central said...

I hope your friend's situation works out well!
Every relationship is different. More power to them for creating their own rules, if that is what they both wish.
Keep sending in your comments, Unleashed loves them.