I just finished reading about ‘romantic competance’.

Really interesting.

I realised no one’s ever really taught how to have a ‘healthy relationship’.

Well, all this time I thought we just figure that shit out. Turns you’re more capable of romantic competance if you’re taught.

Anyway, it talks about 3 skills – insight, mutuality, and emotion regulation.

Insight is about awareness, understanding and learning. So, with insight you’ll have a better idea of who you are, what you need, what you want and why you do the things you do. Insight will also let you know your partner better. With insight, you’ll be able to anticipate the positive and negative consequences of your behaviour. With insight you’ll be able to learn from your mistakes in ways that allow you to behave differently. And with insight, you’ll have a better understanding about what’s really right for you in a relationship.

(I literally quoted whatever was written, just left out the examples. I just need this for future reference. I know what it means anyway.)

Mutuality is about knowing that both people have needs and that both sets of needs matter. With mutuality, you’ll be able to convey your own needs in a clear, direct fashion that increases the likelihood that you’ll get them. With mutuality, you’ll be willing to meet your partner’s needs as well. And mutuality also lets you factor both people’s needs into decisions that you make about your relationship.

And..

Emotion regulation…

Emotion regulation is about regulating your feelings in response to things that happen in your relationship. With emotion regulation, you’ll be able to keep your emotions calm and keep things that happen in your relationship in perspective. With emotion regulation, you’ll be able to tolerate uncomfortable feelings and not act out on them impulsively. So you’ll be able to think through your decisions more clearly. And with emotion regulation, you’ll be able to maintain a sense of self respect and commitment to your needs, even when bad things happen in your relationship.

There was a really good example. I have to copy and paste it:

The other day I was talking to someone and she said that when her partner asked her what she wanted for her birthday, she told him she didn’t want anything. So guess what, she didn’t get anything, and she got really angry, and they had a big fight. Why? Because she really did want a present, she just didn’t want to tell him, she wanted him to somehow know it’s called mind reading; it’s a terrible idea, it never works. Had she been using the skills, insight would have let her know herself well enough to realize that she really did want something, and if she didn’t get it, she was going to be mad.

Insight also would have let her know that her partner was the kind of guy who was just going to take what she said literally. Mutuality would have let her really ask for what she wanted directly and clearly. And emotion regulation would have let her deal with any feelings she was having that were getting in her way of doing that. So maybe she was feeling kind of anxious, so what would he think if I asked for what I needed, or maybe she was feeling guilty — you know, she knows they’re saving for a big trip and she maybe thought that he would think that she was kind of greedy or something.

So if she had used the skills, she would have been able to say, you know what, I know we’re saving for that trip, but I really like that necklace that we saw the other day and it wasn’t that expensive. He would have gotten it for her, she would have felt respected and valued; he would have been happy; they would have felt more intimate. This whole birthday gift thing would have gone well, instead of ending in a fight that could really damage their relationship.

To be honest, i think i was aware of all these things. I feel like my first partner taught me all of this but whether i excuted them well in previous relationships is a question on its own. I think the biggest thing i get out of this is compatability. I know, right? Like if you end up with someone you’re just not that compatible with, it’s just not going to work.

One of my ex’s who is 10 years older than me used to ask me questions that made me think… dang, ok i’m still so young right now. I was 23, she was 33. But that’s 10 more years of experience and knowledge that i didn’t have that she had. 5 years since then, i realised that the older you get, the more you get to know yourself and what you want and need, and although i know the dating pool decreases as you get older, i think that’s a good thing cause you’re able to cut out a majority of people… whether it’s people who don’t want the same things as you, people you’re not compatible with etc.

That particular ex walked past me while i was having a coffee with my best friend and when i quickly glanced over, my first thought wasn’t fuck it’s my ex or to say hello… my first thought was literally… cause like she was pushing a pram with what looked like a newly born baby… my first thought was… if her and i had stayed together, that would’ve been my life right now and i don’t think i would have been happy. I wouldn’t have been the person that i am now. I would have never experienced 90% of the things i had experienced in the last 5 years. And in that moment, i felt relieved. Don’t get me wrong, i was devasted when she ended it.

I remember how bitter i felt after things ended. I just shut myself off and a couple of days after the break up she was like oh this is so hard, i don’t want to lose you. But i was numb and i had no interest investing any more emotions into the situation.

I was so bitter, i was like well i’m going to fucking build myself from the ground up and get so much better as a person that you will regret it. But the thing is, i stopped giving a fuck whether she regretted it or not.

She always spoke so highly of her ex’s and i remember how jealous i use to feel inside but i never showed my jealousy. I kinda was just like ahh i see. That’s fucking regulating my emotions right there and not over reacting. Emotion regulation… ha. Ha. It’s real, i tell ya that.

Anyway like i said before… the biggest thing i got out of that reading on romantic competance is COMPATIBILITY and choosing the right partner.

I now totally understand my ex from when I was 23 and why she asked me all those questions that i thought were stupid at the time. Because the thing is finding someone you’re compatible with is half the work done, i truly believe so. And then you’re able to use all those 3 skills to great effect.

Dang what an epiphany.

My sister called me up today crying.

She said she wasn’t getting any intellectual stimulation from her partner. I think their relationship is nearing the end.

She asked me, “why can’t i just be happy? 8 months ago, we talked about kids and marriage. I thought i’d be ready to settle by now.”

Anyway i told her… you probably are ready to settle down, maybe it’s just not with him?

And i also told her… i think love and relationships are not linear.

I thought to myself, wow you’ve really outdone yourself again, Lorena. Literally that is the quote of the century…

“Love and relationships are not linear.”

We don’t just meet someone, fall in love, get married, have kids.

No, times aren’t so conservative anymore. Divorce rates are through the roof and in times like now where it’s all about instant gratification… cause let’s face it… everybody wants things in an instant. You want something from the other side of world? no biggie, just buy it online and it’ll get to you in a week max. You wanna lose weight? – get on some pills. You wanna date people? – get on tinder. You wanna feel pretty? – upload a selfie on social media and watch the likes go up. Everything is so instant now. We don’t have patience anymore, right?

Instant gratification – it’s real. And it’s fucked up, in my opinion. I think dating apps like tinder can make people feel totally disposable although most are on there for sexual gratification. So… i guess who gives a shit.

Anyway back to love not being so linear…

She said she didn’t know if she would be making a mistake if she leaves. I told her, well it’s a gamble. You won’t know if you stay and you won’t know if you go.

I told her at the end of the day, the question is ultimately are you happy or not?

Cause like you may get intellectual stimulation from another person but there will be something that’s missing too.

She told me the other night that what people want can always change. To which i agreed to.

Yes, it’s true. What you want can change at any given moment. People want different things all the time, we’re humans… we’re fucking complex. Duh.

No partner is able to 100% fulfil what another person desires. It’s just impossible.

Sure, at best there may be someone out there who can give us maybe 60% of what we want but like… what is that 60%?

What is so important to you that it has to be in that 60%?

Intellectual stimulation? Emotional connection? Physical attraction? Mind blowing orgasms? Financial stability? Compassion? Security? Marriage? Kids? And in between all of this… there are the little things. Like for an example my sister’s partner does not walk beside her when they go out which drives her absolutely mad. I’m talking about all those little things that we want our partners to do for us. Those small things aren’t necessarily in the 60% but when the all small things add up, it becomes one big thing and it gets added to that 60%.

And I mean these are the things that make you say yes, I’m very happy to be in a relationship with this person cause they can give me 60 from 100. And i’m happy with this 60%. Like yeah the sex is shit but i’m getting everything else. Do you know what i mean?

And problems arise in relationships whether they are coming from external sources or problems within a relationship. Say one person wants kids, the other person doesn’t. What do you do in that situation? Or… suddenly you find out you aren’t able to have kids for whatever reason, maybe for physical reasons. Where to now? Yeah, shit is tricky, right?

Anyway i had a chat with my best friend about all these things. About “needs being met” cause we all have needs. I think we set our partners up for failure when we expect them to give us everything we want.

I’m not saying my sister should stay in her relationship because if she’s unhappy then i would definitely advise her to leave. No one deserves to be unhappy.

I just told her if you feel that intellectual stimulation is a big deal for you when it comes to relationships and you feel like you can get it with someone else amongst the other things you need then definitely go, don’t stay.

Anyway all of this made me think about my own 60%. Like right now at this point of time my 60% is…

Emotional connection. Intellectual stimulation. Intimacy. Has self awareness. Willing to improve… will add to the list when the time comes. Time to catch up on some zzz’s.