Auntie SparkNotes: How Much Work Do Relationships Take?
Before we begin, a note: Sometimes, Auntie gets a letter that’s short, sweet, succinct, and explains the problem with little-to-no rambling backstory or confusing anecdotes.
This is not one of those times.
But we’re just going to go with it.
I'm a senior guy in high school and have not dated anyone up until a few of months ago. I started dating this one girl who I really liked and I fell head over heels because I had never met anyone so amazing. We started dating and everything was going fine. I realized that after two months I loved her. I don't use that word lightly. She thinks that I'm mistaken because I have never dated anyone before, but all I know is that I care very deeply for her.
Anyways, we've had our fights and they have all gotten resolved and each fight made us come closer together. Up until this past Thursday, we had been having a wonderful week. But I made a mistake. Jane is the type of person who is very blunt and outspoken. I love this about her, yet I also hate it. I love that she's so independent, but she in turn is blunt towards me. What I need from someone in a relationship, above anything, is for them to care about my feelings. She cares about me and she shows it through different ways, but it doesn't seem like she cares about my feelings.
When she does something that bothers me I have tried to voice my opinion but either 1) she will get mad that I even could think that she meant something in a bad way, when she really meant it another way, or 2) admit she made a mistake and then get upset that I always bring up things that she does wrong. Fine, I stopped voicing my concerns and just swept everything she did under a rug. But one day she stopped holding my hand at school. I asked if everything was fine and she said yes, but the next day she did multiple things that hurt my feelings. She took it all as a joke because she is a humorous person, but I was hurt. Ultimately I was so wounded that I became frustrated and stood up, started to walk away, turned back and said "We need to break up. I'm sorry."
After realizing my mistake (that took about 30 seconds) I went back but she had already ran off. I wrote her a letter apologizing and begging her to talk with me but the damage was done. She was furious that I would break up with her in that fashion, at lunch, in front of people, and leaving without an explanation. She's hurt because she thought I cared about her. She is angry because I broke up with without even trying to fix the problem I was having. But therein lies the problem: I didn't feel like I could tell her. I then proceeded to explain everything to her, how she doesn't listen and how she hurt me. She disagreed and saw nothing from my point of view.
I asked her if we could talk and work things out and she said she was unsure if she could stay together with a guy who hurt her so badly. I have not heard from her since. I want to make things right between us but I can't see how. I have been an emotional wreck for the past few days and I can't imagine how she has been. I don't know what to do. Please, any advice would be greatly appreciated.
First things first: unless you have outstanding mental stamina, you probably reached the end of this letter and thought to yourself, “Wait...WHAT JUST HAPPENED.” But don’t worry, guys! Because I’m a professional! And after reading this letter multiple times, and editing it for clarity, and then reading it again, I can confidently say that... well, okay, no. I still have not a single solitary clue what is actually going on here.
But I do know that whatever it is, it can't be good—because no good relationship will ever, ever be this hard.
And that, Sparkler, is my advice: that love should fulfill you, not exhaust you. That something is wrong when you have to gauge the wonderful-ness of your relationship in week-long increments. And that when even the simple act of reading about yours makes me feel like I just ran a marathon, WITH MY EYEBALLS, it’s a good sign that you need to ask yourself why you’re desperately looking for a way back into a mess that, in all logical estimation, you should be thrilled to be finally free of.
Because read back over your letter, and you’ll see a study in basic, inherent incompatibility. You yearn for diplomacy; she’s blunt and direct. You want sincerity; she deals in sarcasm. You’re easily wounded; she’s not one for tenderness. You’re all about togetherness; she’s super-independent. And while none of this is anyone’s fault, your relationship—in which you were constantly, inherently at odds from the get-go—was a predictably miserable and conflict-ridden exercise that brought out the worst in both of you.
Which is why your best bet now is to see the smoking remains of this romance for the important lesson it is: that you can’t expect a person who’s one way in life to be utterly the opposite in love. People are who they are, and there’s someone out there for every single one of them—whether it’s the cuddly, caring girlfriend you need to complement your sensitive and sentimental character, or the guy with a low tolerance for schmoopiness who will not just accept but adore your ex’s no-bullshit personality.
So please, forget about making things right; focus instead on letting things go, and then forming a concept of romance that doesn’t have quite so much in common with teeth-pulling. When it comes to romance, it’s not enough to love someone; you have to actually like them, too. And while yes, relationships always take a certain amount of effort, they also require a certain amount of effortlessness. A connection that’s natural, intuitive, and easy.
Because that, darling, is what’s worth working for when things get hard.
Were you confused by this letter, or did you OMG KNOW JUST WHAT HE MEANS? Tell us in the comments! And to get advice from Auntie, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related post: Auntie SparkNotes: It's Your Duty to Dump