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Let’s Be Real: Sometimes, Relationships Suck. Here’s Why:

Sure, relationships with your family, friends, and romantic partners can bring you joy and happiness. But have you ever stopped and considered how much they can suck too? Aversiveness, annoyance, and stress can all be caused by those closest to you, and here are a few not-so-optimistic ways that can happen. Welcome to the Dark side!

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You End Up Discovering the Less-Than-Favorable Side of Someone

Picture this, it’s senior year and you’re living in a house ten of your best friends. “What could possibly go wrong?” you thought to yourself as a naive junior gleefully signing a lease with your besties. Everything.The answer is everything. The term “ignorance is bliss” comes to mind when thinking about my roommates. For example, before living with my seemingly clean cut roommate (let’s call her Kate) I would have thought that her room was made of sterile material and she used clorox wipes for pillows at night. When reality struck, I realized that she is instead the first roommate to leave her dishes in the sink and her trash outside of her room. Or how about my roommate (let’s call her Jenna). When I first meet Jenna, I figured that her parents had probably sent to her cotillion as a child because she seemed so quiet, sweet, and well-mannered. WRONG. Like clockwork every weekend, Jenna always seems to roll into the house after hitting the bar all night and slams the microwave, stove, and cabinets in her quest to make her drunken frozen pizza. Quiet? No. Loud and hungry? Yes. Dr. Jay Hurt (2014), author of The 9 Tenets of a Successful Relationship states that, “It’s kind of a cliché, but absence really does make the heart grow fonder. You need a little distance to appreciate what you have.” This became true for me when over winter break I began missing my loud and messy roommates.

Remember that One Time You—

I’m lucky enough to have some of the same best friends from elementary school that I do in college. Spending that many years with someone has it’s highs: they know you better than you even know yourself sometimes, are aware of your strengths, and both share countless amounts of memories together. On the flip side however, this type of prolonged friendship also has it’s lows: they know just what buttons to push to upset you, have blackmail photos of your braces-and-eyeliner stage, and are the holders of the cringeworthy stories of regrettable guys you’ve dated and not-so-classy nights out you've had. This type of deep and long lasting friendship gives your friends a type of access to weaponry that can keep you up at night. Dr. Suzanne Degges-White (2014) states that, “…some friends don't intentionally breach your request (to keep certain things secret), they're just eager to contribute to a conversation or keep someone in the loop—as they spill the beans. Some people truly have no filters and don't give such concerns a second thought”. So, as aversive of your friend showing your crush pictures of you wearing a “Team Edward” t-shirt with black eyeliner and metal braces engulfing your smile may seem, sometimes they just can’t help themselves.

When Too Much Time Spent Together Makes You Annoyed of Their Existence

As dreamy and perfect as a guy may seem in the beginning of a relationship, I am always met with the realization that as cool as they may seem, spending too much time with them makes me annoyed with them doing even the slightest of things such as cracking their knuckles too much or laughing too loudly at movies that aren’t even funny. This ties into the “loss of illusion”— once you get over the “honeymoon” stage in a relationship, reality sets in and the rose-colored glasses are ripped off by this thing called real life. When you once wanted to spend all of your time with someone, you may be finding yourself needing some alone time; it turns out, that’s actually normal! According to an article written in the Huffington Post, if couples “put off self-care to be with your partner could build resentment in you both. You’ll start to see your partner as an obstacle to what you desperately want and aren’t getting, and he or she will sense your resistance and feel confused and disconnected from you.” So, maybe you don’t actually think that the way they blink is annoying, you may just need to take some time for yourself!

. The Brutally Honest Ego-Crusher

It’s a consensus that when we ask a friend if our outfit makes us look fat, we obviously don’t want them to be honest and say yes. Rather, we would have them lie and say something like, “Of course not! But I’m not sure I like that color on you. Try this instead!” However, we all have that one, overly brutally honest friend that will let us know when we’ve gained a few extra pounds and should opt for wearing something other than a leather mini skirt out. We both love and hate these people because while we appreciate the honesty, sometimes the truth hurts, and their delivery definitely doesn’t help. However, according to the Greater Good Science Center at UC Berkeley, we need these types of people in our lives. “People pleasing, in my extensive personal experience, is a process of guessing what other people want, or what will make them think favorably of us, and then acting accordingly… pleasing others is not the same as helping others”. So, even if your brutally honest friend may at times hurt your ego, at least you didn’t end up wearing the top that made you look a little pudgy to the bar.

Having to Swallow your Pride and Apologize

We all have friends that range in sensitivities; some friends can take a joke, while other are more sensitive and only laugh at jokes that aren’t directed towards them. Being a self-proclaimed connoisseur of sarcasm, I’ve found myself in the situation of, “Shoot, that was too far. Now I have to apologize”. Getting in small arguments with friends or romantic partners is part of having relationships, however, when you’re the one that has to take the blame, it can be hard. After all, who likes to admit they were wrong? Dr. Robi Ludwig claims that, “Apologizing can make some people feel vulnerable, or feel like they are in danger of losing their power and status. Others simply equate saying "I'm sorry" with admitting they're inadequate or incompetent, which makes admitting mistakes so much harder to do.” So, while you didn't actually mean that Becky’s new hair cut reminds you of George Washington’s hairdo, sometimes you just have to bite the bullet, suck it up, and say those dreaded two words: “I’m sorry”.

References

Carter, Christine. "Why It Doesn’t Pay to be a People-Pleaser." Greater Good Magazine, U.C. Berkeley, 9 Aug. 2016, https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/why_it_doesnt_pay_to_be_a_people_pleaser. Accessed 31 Jan. 2018.

Collins, Suzi, and Auto Collins. "Why Alone Time Is The Key To A Successful Marriage." Huffington Post, 23 Jan. 2014, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/the-secret-to-relationshi_n_4326246.html. Accessed 31 Jan. 2018.

Degges Ph.D,, Suzanne. "When Friends Reveal Secrets you've asked them to Keep." Psychology Today, https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/lifetime-connections/201405/when-friends-reveal-secrets-youve-asked-them-keep. Accessed 31 Jan. 2018.

Hurt, Jay. 5 Clingy Habits That Are Ruining Your Love Life, Aja Frost, https://www.hercampus.com/love/relationships/5-clingy-habits-are-ruining-your-love-life. Accessed 31 Jan. 2018.

Ludwig, Robi. "Why is it so hard to say ‘I’m sorry’?." The Today Show, 14 Sept. 2009, https://www.today.com/health/why-it-so-hard-say-im-sorry-1C9403207. Accessed 31 Jan. 2018.

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