Alright everyone, I brought in backup on this one. Only because you know, this has more than likely happened to you. I don’t care if you’re a girl or a guy - this has happened in one of your relationships. And if you are the lucky one who it hasn’t happened to, your name is Lauren and you’re married to Thomas Rhett.
When I started writing about this topic I was sitting at home on the phone with a friend who was balling her eyes out dealing with it. I knew I wanted to write about this topic for awhile, I just wasn’t sure where to start. I felt that if I wrote it from just my opinion, then it’s not worth anything. I thought if I could get some others to share their opinions and experience on this, it would be better.
I created a survey and received 40 responses. Thank you to those who participated, I appreciate all your great feedback and honesty.
Giving a name was optional and I won’t publicize those - as promised. (you know who you are)
Out of the 40 respondents, over 50% were female.
Of those 40, 50% are in the 26-30 age range, 35.7% are in the 20-25 age range, and 14.3% were in the 30+ age range.
70% answered yes to being in a relationship, 30% are not.
When asked what their longest relationships were, 70% said 3+ years! In this generation, that’s extremely hard to accomplish so I’ll raise a glass to those successful long term lovers.
Once I got done collecting demographics I got into some questions;
I asked what their favorite parts of their relationships were/are (could be past or current relationships).
63% answered along the lines of; quality time together, lazy time, etc. Other common answers were special date nights, taking road trips / adventures together, teaching each other new things / learning things together, trusting each other, being weird, or being goofy together.
I also asked what they disliked about their relationships, (past or current).
53% of participants said their past or current relationships had/have little to no communication.
100% of participants listed at least one thing about the person’s lifestyle - clingy, dependent, control issues, jealousy, cheating, dramatic, and trust issues. No one likes to be smothered.
Continuing on, 70% of participants said communication is something they look for in a relationship. Which isn’t surprising since if you can’t talk to the person, why are you dating them?
55% said they look for honesty and trust. Other common answers were independence, open minded, silly / goofy, and positive.
But just because you look for someone who is ambitious, doesn’t mean you look for someone who puts every single thing they can before you, right? That’s exactly why I also asked what they require in relationships, not just what they like.
95% said communication - makes sense because as you grow with a person, you have to be able to talk about things or it’ll be a roller coaster from hell that you’ll be begging to get off of.
60% said they want someone who is independent and doesn’t need another person to survive.
You create your own happiness, so don’t look to other people to create it for you.
Here’s where it gets good... I asked participants to list things that their past or current significant other did/does to show they care. 90% said something along the lines of getting random gifts, surprises, texts, calls, etc. Who doesn’t like to get a text during their hard work day that someone is thinking about them? Having dinner waiting for you when you get home? Or getting flowers for no reason? It’s those little things that matter the most.
Some other answers included; cooks dinner, cleans the house with me, puts their phone down to spend quality time with me (love that), plans a trip once a month, and makes a genuine effort to be with me.
Here’s the point - this question - “Out of those you've listed above, please list the things your significant other has STOPPED doing after awhile.”
Can you guess what was said the most? “All of them” - 94% of respondents said that their significant other of a past or current relationship stopped doing those little things after so long.
Statements similar to “Once they got comfortable with me, they stopped trying” were used by multiple people.
Participants mentioned that their partner’s stopped being present, they were always on their phones when together, avoided serious conversations, stopped taking care of themselves, stopped using basic manners, and so on.
This is my entire point. Something that happens so often, disappoints people, and never get addressed. It happens slowly so we don’t notice it at first and then we accept that’s how things are now. That’s not okay.
Why do we stop doing those things for the person we claim to care so much about?
Why do we allow our partners to stop doing those things for us?
Now let me just say this; It’s an amazing thing when you find someone who you can be 100% yourself with. Someone who you are naturally comfortable around and know won’t judge you for being goofy, or for saying something stupid that didn’t make sense. That’s what everyone should aspire and want to find in a relationship.
There’s a difference between being comfortable and “too” comfortable with someone.
I heard a saying years ago, and it’s helped change my perspective on relationships.
“Treat your significant other like they aren’t yours yet. And if they are yours,
make sure they know you don’t want to lose them.”
When I get into my next relationship I will keep that in mind constantly. I'll never let myself feel that “we’re dating, I don’t have to try anymore” comfortable. I'll make the effort every single day. No matter how close we are, how long we date, I wanted my guy to feel important every single day. If we have an argument, or don't see each other a lot, I wanted him to know he matters to me.
So again I ask; why do we get so comfortable with someone we’re dating and stop trying? Ask any elderly couple that have been married for a long time - they tried every single day and they gave effort to one another every single day. They didn’t have texting or any social media like we have now, and they made it work for years. They just had each other, they had quality time together. And that’s so rare to find these days, but when you do find it, it’s a beautiful thing.
A friend and I were talking about this topic when I told her I was writing about it and I don’t think her, myself, or anyone will actually understand why it happens or have an exact answer.
The only answer we ever have is “they got too comfortable,” a guy stopped opening doors, she stopped texting me good morning, all these things that just stop for some reason that we’ll never know.
Here are some examples that participants of the survey added;
“I dated a guy who was great, at the time. He was caring and supportive of any goals I had. When I got a job offer to move away for a summer - he wasn’t willing to try distance and ran as fast as he could. I was really upset by it, I thought we really like each other. While we were dating he would send me a good morning and goodnight text EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. no matter what. And that was super nice of him, never required, but nice. And then one day it happened…..he stopped. And it’s that one day that he didn’t do it, I noticed it. Slowly he’d forget or fall asleep early and it made me sad that he stopped doing it. It wasn’t required but if that’s the “normal” and it stops, it’s weird. I made a comment about it to him once and he goes “oh, I didn’t know it mattered,” and it didn’t really but when a guy does it everyday for months straight and stops, it worried me.”
“I was dating this girl for 2 years in college, we’d set aside one night a week for date night and we’d switch who got to pick what we did. It was cool because it kept the other guessing and we learned new things about each other. One date night she bailed last minute to go to something with her sorority sisters, I understood because I get when all your friends want you to do something and if I wanted to hang with my roommates she would’ve understood. It kept happening repeatedly and eventually it became weeks between our date nights. We’d hang out at bars on weekends or at parties, but never just us. And even at the bars and parties, she’d be off with her friends or something else. We grew apart and she didn’t seem to care.”
“I had been dating this guy for just over 6 months and things were going pretty well. We’d hang out with both groups of friends and all together and we didn’t have many issues for the most part. But randomly around thanksgiving he told me he was having a Friendsgiving and because we’re together I assumed it was both of us so I asked what we should bring. He then told me he was going to just go and hang out with his friends. Which hurt my feelings. The day of the friendsgiving he had ignored me all day and then sent me snaps of him partying with everyone and having a great time. It started to continue for our family Christmas parties, he wouldn't come to mine, I couldn’t go to his. He thought it was normal to separate girlfriend time and friend time. And that they don’t have to go together. Maybe his friends didn’t like me?”
From conversations I’ve had about this with a few of my friends (both girls and guys) there really isn’t one reason this happens. I can’t speak for everyone, I do think a lot of us do this - even if we don’t realize it’s happening. We mentally checked out at times and fall short of the people we want our significant other to see us as. Maybe we got sick, was on a work trip, having a bad day, etc. There are so many situations when things just happen. One thing I love to say - we’re human, we’re going to make mistakes.
Even as best friends sometimes we fall short of our best friend duties. It’s being able to get back up and show those people we care that matters. So send that quick text, make the phone call, plan a surprise dinner, take them to the movie they've been dying to see, something to make an effort for them.
Make yourself irreplaceable.
Relationships are a two way street. If you show your significant other that you’re not trying and it’s okay to not try, they’ll stop trying too. Then neither of you will be putting in any effort.
What kind of relationship is that? Not a good one.
I could go on, but I’ll wrap this up. In a nutshell; dating someone you genuinely care about, shouldn’t be hard. It shouldn’t be work for you. It should be you making an effort because you genuinely WANT to.
Guess what, you can fix it. Put the effort back in, tell the person how much you care, and show them. So, if it’s someone who is great to you and you want in your life long term, don’t be an idiot. Don’t let them disappear because you didn’t care enough.
So ask yourself this - are you trying your best in your relationships? Friends, or romantic. If not, why?
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I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!