For those of you who are die hard romantics, I must warn you before you proceed – this piece is probably not meant for you. Or it might be. I like to leave ends loose. But I’ve been told by some who had a glimpse at this just before I posted it that it makes me sound cynical. I’m not entirely sure I agree. I think it makes me sounds realistic. At least more realistic about relationships than I’ve ever been in my entire adult life so far; which has not been that long if I might add.
Anyway, coming back to the point. I like to think of myself as a bit of a maestro when it comes to giving relationship advice. “Giving” and “advice” being key words here. Because hey, it’s easier said than done, right? But if I could give myself some advice on how to do relationships differently in the time to come, here’s what I’d tell myself, and of course, everybody else who’s reading too.
1. Do more, expect less…
I know, we’ve all heard this before. But how many of us actually implement or even remember it when the time actually comes? I know it’s not easy to expect nothing out of someone you love; whether it’s time, whether it’s patience, whether it’s a listening ear, whether it’s just unconditional support; we do expect at least a little bit from our partners. And that is natural. In fact, if you ask me, to expect nothing is a bit abnormal. But if we all just begin to expect and want, who’s going to give? Who is ever going to be happy? Give, and in return, you shall get; but don’t give with the expectation of getting. It only sounds complicated, but it makes life much simpler when you begin to concentrate simply on what you can give, rather than what you can get.
2. Do what comes to you naturally
Quit playing games. Be angry when you want to be, be gentle when you feel like. Forgive them even if they upset you if that’s what your heart wants. Stop trying to imitate their actions. Stop trying to be rude when they’re rude, nice when they’re nice, cold when they’re cold, loving when they’re loving. Do what YOU feel like doing. Follow your instinct. You’re not a clone. A relationship is not a bad Hindi soap opera with revenge as it’s plot line. Do what comes to you naturally and it will become very difficult for you to be unhappy.
3. Don’t be afraid to commit…
Or over commit. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt (in my short adult life), it’s that the person you’re in a relationship with would rather hear you say, outright, that you want to be with them for the rest of your life, than a vague “who knows what lies ahead”. Unless of course, you absolutely don’t see a future with them. In which case, quit wasting their time and be honest. It’s not rocket science, but unfortunately most people just don’t get this and go the “I haven’t thought about it” or “let’s think about it when the time comes” way. If you haven’t thought about it, think about it. And if you can’t get yourself to think about it, you’re in the wrong relationship.
4. Stop thinking they’ll change.
A very wise person once told me, “People don’t change, they only become more of who they are.” Touché. Whoever you’re with, whatever they’re like, they’re not going to change. What hurts you now will hurt you 10 years down the line. The qualities that upset you about them, will probably upset you more as time passes. A flirt will be a flirt. A person with anger issues never really quits being angry. I hope that my experiences as I grow older prove me wrong, but if there’s anything I’ve learnt so far, it’s this.
5. Let go
I don’t like giving up, and I don’t particularly enjoy asking people to do the same. But, there are times when it is perhaps the best option. When something doesn’t give you happiness, takes away your sleep and peace, shatters your confidence and belief in yourself – let go. When you’re in a relationship you question more than you cherish, let go. When you don’t feel respected enough, let go. There are things and situations in life you can compromise on/in, these are not those things. They may not be wrong, you might not be right, but when something or someone is not right for you, recognise it and let go.