it’s incredibly difficult to find someone whose company you enjoy, who meets all of your qualities you are looking for in a mate, and who you can form a good match with.
add on top of that all the stressors that make relationships difficult that cause fights to come fast and furious and clouds your ability to make good judgment of character. it’s easy to be a good boyfriend and patient and understanding when you’re well rested and in a good mood; it’s hard when you’re tired and upset about something else:
- chores – who will take out the kitty litter? who will wash the dishes?
- long distance relationships – south bay/sf relationships. east coast/west coast relationships. sf/stockton relationships.
- children – so much everything that nobody wants to do. my parents fought a lot because of me.
- parents – caretaking responsibilities, stressors
- money scarcity issues – you can only buy a ticket to ONE movie. you can’t throw money at nuisances to fix them. going to great lengths to save money.
- incompetence/unfortunate situation
- health/mental problems
- societal pressures – frowned upon by your friends/colleagues to date a guy who is X
- high pressure job – long hours, misplaced stress
my mom went on vacation, which meant my sister had to take over a lot of my mom’s duties, which stressed her out completely. it apparently had a serious negative effect on her marriage because she would take the stress out on her husband and they would get in fights.
i have a friend who is more or less on bedrest for the rest of her life. and she can get a surgery that will give her her life back, but it will likely mean that she will die in 20 years. her husband on the surgery: “i don’t want you to die before our retirement.” i can’t imagine how that weighs on the relationship.
another friend was delivering a power adapter to his SO that was left at his house. they were supposed to meet at a starbucks, but google maps had incorrectly indexed the location of the starbucks and sent him in the wrong direction, and he was frantically looking for the right location. in the meantime, the other person took time off a stressful day at work and couldn’t understand why the other guy was so incompetent. by the time both of them found each other, they were both frazzled and angry. they don’t talk anymore.
a friend’s SO was hospitalized the same week as a big test for the friend. he couldn’t visit the SO as much as she wanted because he had to study for his test, and they broke up.
one of the biggest fights between me and sean h occurred because of a lost text. actually a good number of our fights are text-message-originated.
daniel and i have gotten in infinite fights over phone malfunctions. he once was waiting for me outside for a long time, but i never got his text message that he was outside. daniel once got really mad at me because i wasn’t navigating effectively using google maps and we missed a turn (at 1:30AM after a 5 hr roadtrip). even this week has been really rough for me and daniel for a variety of reasons, including work stress, fights with other people, parental stresses, jealousy, and resentment from other issues.
at the core, these fights are generally place the frustration of the difficult situation on the significant other. which really sucks for the significant other.
daniel and i went to a concert once, and, with my asian thriftiness and not super strong tolerance and non-DD status meant i prepartied like a boss and was really dialed up going into this concert. daniel wanted to wait in the drink line, but before you waited in the drink line, you had to wait in a wristband line. and the cumulative wait in both lines was 1.5 hrs. at one point, daniel pulled out his phone and started texting. and then i exploded at him. like nuclear option.
and while texting in line is probably not the best thing to do, my response was disproportionate to say the least. (daniel is also incredibly lucky to be dating me, should i mention that?) but i was really upset for a variety of reasons, including:
- he was using his phone in a 1-on-1 situation (the trigger/excuse)
- i was really frustrated by the excruciating slow speed of the line
- i was ridiculously dialed up to GO CRAZY but was forced to wait in line
- i didn’t think that daniel was empathetic enough to note the sacrifice of my waiting in line with him
- i was resentful of prior incidents where i felt like daniel prevented me from having a good time for whatever reason and how i felt held back by him
not that i was aware of any of these things at the moment, but waiting in line only caused me to seethe uncontrollably with the anger pouring out of me. daniel and i later discussed what we could have done better, but i’m not entirely sure that there was anything obvious. it’s not really like i could have been like “hey daniel, i really don’t want to wait in this incredibly boring, slow line with you. can i abandon you and go dance?”
overall, i have to say that daniel and i have had it super easy with respect to stressors. there are remarkably very few “stress periods” to test how well we work together and how we treat each other when the going gets tough. which sometimes does sort of worry me because, while we have a great time as young adults with basically no obligations or responsibilities, life certainly will get more difficult going forward (kids/medical/financial/job/parents to name a few). but “my mom asked me to do this urgent task, which really annoyed me” can officially make me/daniel feel grumpy enough to not want to see each other.
i guess the final question is, do these stressors merely exaggerate/reveal problems in the relationship or do they create problems and stress that are totally unrelated? probably a mix, but mostly probably err toward the latter.
tl;dr 1 – having to break up with someone for any reason other than “we weren’t a good match” is unfortunate but really common. circumstance, after all, is one of the 3C’s when determining a good match in a partner.
tl;dr 2 – it’s easy to take out your frustration to the most accessible, most defenseless target. which is usually your significant other. self-awareness is step one. improved communication/separation from the significant other/honesty/development of emotional compartments/apologies for further improvement.