Healthy relationships are built, not found

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Fresh out of a (tumultuous) long-term relationship, somewhere along the way I had managed to convince myself that if a guy I was talking to didn’t tick all the boxes, he wouldn’t make the cut.

While I definitely wasn’t exempt from the hurt of cutting people off or even just straight-up ghosting them, I convinced myself that this was perfectly fine, if only to keep my peace and protect myself from having to go through yet another tumultuous relationship.

Plus I had tons of mainstream media to back me up; from Tiktoks to Tweets, girls were always telling other girls that ‘if he wanted to, he would,’ and if he isn’t, then he’s simply not the one.

@wuliajisk

It’s 2022 no more settling allowed

♬ primadonna by MARINA – nisa

But as I’ve come to learn, clinging to the idea that somewhere out there is a perfect partner from head to toe who can rid you of all your woes can have you fleeing from potential partners at any trigger (even if it has nothing to do with them).

Here’s the real, honest truth: no one on this earth can be the absolute perfect partner from day one.

Sure, there may be a handful of love stories that were seemingly perfect and enchanting; but what you’ll soon discover is that these healthy, ‘perfect’ relationships always require a lot of work.

You aren’t just going to fall into a relationship where all your triggers and past trauma immediately dissolve because this person is so perfect. In reality, the ‘perfect’ partner can’t rid you of all your uglies, but they sure can make you feel safe enough to be able to work on them.

@rachelhavekost

You are not a burden;

♬ original sound – ineffablehaven

‘The point of finding a partner who’s a good, healthy match isn’t so you can enjoy a carefree partnership that doesn’t trigger your relationship issues,’ says licensed professional counselor Jeff Guenther.

‘The point is to find someone you feel safe enough to feel triggered by so you can do the hard work of breaking unhealthy relationship patterns and facing your demons with someone who deeply loves and cares about you.’ Guenther added.

This isn’t to say that you should be settling for the bare minimum (I’d even argue that the bare minimum takes on different forms for different people) when it comes to potential partners, but it’s worth remembering that the one-and-done solution social media and dating app culture tries to sell you can have you forgetting that worthwhile relationships will always require some type of work that won’t always be pretty.

At the end of the day, it boils down to both people being able to identify what parts of themselves they need to work on and deciding that they are willing to nurture and understand each other enough to work on these parts together.

What was hurt in relationships heals in relationships. Choose someone that can put in the work.

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