the “what are we” relationship talk- my balance between independence and attachtment

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i was going hungry and lazy here when you stopped me in my tracks

one of my most influential professors once told me something that often makes its way into my little brain regularly… he said that the thing about being a romantic relationship communication scholar is that, though you have so much knowledge on the subject, it never seems to fully make its way into your actual relationships.

its true. the dark side of relationships gets me high, that’s pathetic. i study this stuff like a geek. so why why why can i not take my own advice?! this is a big one (love and life lesson) that has popped up too many times for me to ignore. so i’ve decided to take my own advice.

there are a million reasons why i continuously fall into this particular relationship schema that i am trying to bid farewell. maybe its because im’ an only child. i was taught to get along with everyone. maybe its because i have had so many guy best friends.  maybe its because liking relationships is the only super girly thing about me. maybe its because im too independent for my own good. maybe i have intimacy issues (read: issues being vulnerable). maybe its because it is engrained in me that rationality is good, emotionality bad. its probably all of the above combined, and then some. but here it is.

in my desperate need to not come off as the emotional girly girl that guys see as needy, dependent, and annoying, i have a tendency to avoid, at all costs, any and every “what are we” conversation. and in the end, whether the end be two weeks or two years later, i am always the sucker who is left feeling vulnerable, and emotionally needy because she didn’t get what she wanted out of the relationship. and ive’ figured out why. in all my ditch efforts to ‘ditch’ that teeny weeny oh so important conversation, i am actually setting myself up to not get what i need. (stemming from my fear of neediness, perhaps.) ultimately, when its over and done with, and im frustrated with him for however he is not validating me, and i am the only one to blame. i have never even attempted to have my feelings validated in a dating relationship. whoa. that kind of just hit me hard. how can you become emotionally, physically and mentally intimate with someone if you consistently assume that your feelings will not be validated, and thus never express them. whoa, again.

well, i didn’t. and haven’t many a time. and, oddly, its usually the big ones (feelings) that i suppress the most- leading to, of course, the ultimate demise of my emotional satisfaction in that relationship. and then, like clockwork, i step back to analyze the situation rationally (because that is, in fact, where i feel most comfortable) and conclude, with no surprise, that the blame lies within.

its interesting that most people, out of anger mostly, end up blaming an ex for some, part, or all of the failed relationship. and what do i do? the opposite. i hold them accountable for nothing, on top of allowing them to ignore (consciously or consciously) my emotional needs. maybe allowing is not even the right word. maybe its forcing. oh, this only gets better…
so here i am, not allowing myself to need anything emotionally from my intimate partners, and beating myself for letting the relationship fail…  attracting- and being attracted to- men who despise needy girls (projection, of course)!! so, if in fact i do get the courage to discuss my emotional needs with my partner, chances are he is going to freak even more, because he cannot stand that ‘needy and dependent’ girl. thus, logically, when i am contemplating opening up with my emotional needs prior to acting, i always end at the same place. no f-ing way should i speak up.

alright, here i am, ready and chock full of new perspective to have those conversations that i have so diligently avoided all of my dating life. what are we? what are we not? what should we be? what do you want out of this? does that match what i want? ok… not in that order, and most certainly not in such rapid fire fashion. but have the conversation, steph. stop beating yourself up at the end, when its too late, and inducing much more pain and confusion than a few awkward and uncomfortable conversations would have ever created. the one for you is not going to see you as dependent, and will acknowledge your vulnerability.

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