“I want to be with someone who…”
I used to use this phrase like a weapon.
I was usually feeling angry at this point. Trying to express my desires and wants in a relationship, but not knowing how without getting frustrated.
I remember one partner telling me that this was one of the most hurtful things I could have said to him, because it made him feel like he wasn’t enough, and that I didn’t want to be with him.
If I want someone who makes plans, I could say, instead, that it’s important to me we plan our weeks in advance so I know what days we’re spending time together, and I’m not waiting around.
If I want someone who wants to spend lots of time together and someone who keeps me posted on what they’re doing, I can say that I don’t expect us to do everything together, but inclusivity—whether that’s in terms of texting and keeping me updated—helps me feel secure in a relationship.
If I want someone who reads my writing and can connect with me on that level, I could say that my writing is part of who I am, and even if you don’t resonate, or it’s not for you, I want to know at least that you’ve read it, and what you think of it.
And, if I truly do want to be with someone who…then, well, I should go be with someone who.
We need to take people as they are, right in front of us. We cannot change them. We cannot ask them to bend to our wants and expectations. But we are allowed to have needs in a relationship and express those in a way that is open and inviting instead of critical and cruel.
I am not always perfect in how I express things, and if I could go back, I wish I could take this phrase out of how I communicated to partners in the past.
My therapist also said something interesting the other day when I was telling her about a situation in the past where I got upset because a person I was seeing didn’t invite me to plans. My own plans had been canceled, and he was out with our mutual friends, and I was sitting at home alone that night.
She said, “Well, why didn’t you ask him if you could join instead of waiting, hoping he’d invite you, and then when he didn’t, get mad after for it?”
Though I do think I want to be with someone who is considerate, thoughtful, and inclusive, I know I also have to work on being vulnerable and taking responsibility for my own desires.
She said that if I put myself out there and asked, and then they responded badly, I have a right to be mad or to bring it up as an issue.
But it takes two for a relationship to work or fall apart, and all I can control is my part in that.