I recently sat down with some friends to discuss our various types of relationships. One of us was about to settle into a happy boyfriend/girlfriend scenario; one of us has been with the same girl for years; one of us had just left a friends-with-benefits relationship; one of us is deeply in love with a person she won’t let herself be with.
As our love songs spilled forth, staining the clean white walls of the room with our own indiscretion, we all felt the same hurt despite the lies we told ourselves. All of us of varying backgrounds, genders and sexual orientations had the same problems that felt like they have been biting at our heels for eternity. Instead of asking for help, we sat in a makeshift drum circle, shaking our fists at the sky screaming “Why me? What’s wrong? What do I do?” followed by the fearful whispers of “I’ll wait until tomorrow.”
Our advice to each other was all the same, yet we refused to practice what we preached. We put words of encouragement on the offering plate but refuse to take them for ourselves. We say things like, “just talk to him,” “are you happy?” and “you need to tell her how you feel,” yet we forget to take our own advice. We sing along to cliche songs telling us that love is a battlefield and that being happy is a neverending war, but aren’t all battles two sided?
Doesn’t it take two people to create and fuel a problem? If we want our relationships to work, to grow, to flourish, shouldn’t we consult the person opposite us in this relationship, rather than people on the outside who cannot actually fix things?
We let our own hangups about the potential death of a relationship or situation cloud out the actual good that still lives there, thereby suffocating what is beginning to grow before it even blooms.
It is sad that we fight our instincts to seek answers, hurting ourselves in the process. Even as I type this, I glance at my phone wondering why that special guy keeps sending me Snapchats and what sort of cosmic sign it must be that I got his text just as I was about to call him last night.
Whenever I get like this, I have to press the reset button. For some stupid reason we’ve been conditioned to feel clingy and desperate and weird for the mere fact that we would like to know where our relationship, romantic or sexual, stands with another human being.
I know deep down that the only way to fix my problem is to fight it with words. Instead of pretending it’s not there or asking my friends for help, I need to face my fears head on and ask, “what the hell are we?!”
I must be the one to take action, because there is a good chance that he won’t. After all, you miss 100 percent of the shots that you don’t take. It doesn’t mean anything about what he feels about me, but I must recognize that he could be just as scared as I am.
You must take action. Whatever your problem may be, waiting for a sign is something that only works in movies. When you sit and wait for things to happen, nothing ever does. We are not here to wonder why, we are here to live our life, and often that requires taking control.
We all know that the old “be patient and you’ll find happiness!” schtick sounds good, but it never seems to work, and yet we say it all the damn time. We all have different battles to face in our relationships, and often the one solution is to talk about it.
Talking is your first shot at happiness, no matter how sloppy it may feel. Your words don’t have to be perfect, but they must be said. When holding your hand on the barrel of a gun, there is no waiting for gale force winds to pull the trigger on your behalf. You pick up the gun. You take a breath. You shoot.
And what if you miss? What if it all changes and you have to start over?
Well, then you shoot again.
Anneliese Hucal studies prelaw and public relations. She can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @TheSagebrush.