This is the name of what my friends now use in reference to the ‘test’ my relationship has to pass through when I travel abroad for a short vacation.
Last summer, when I went to Canada for vacation – Canada specifically because my sister lives there and it’s where we usually meet annually – my boyfriend and I broke up because of miscommunication, time difference and frustration. Of course those are not the main reasons, but they are the catalysts. I went this summer to Canada, too. As a matter of fact, I came back yesterday. And yes, a lucky guess would be that the guy I was going out with and I also broke up during my stay there.
The triggers are the same, the end result is the same, but the process of course is different. This time, it was my choice. I had piled up incidents of prioritization with this guy for quite some time, and had observed couples and sought advice more closely, so I learned the following lessons:
- Not everyone is someone’s priority:
I see my ‘family’ once a year, so chances are – and I also explain this because it needs maturity – I will not reply to all WhatsApp messages sent from my boyfriend. This doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate messages or words, this means that right now, while I am with them, this is the priority itself and not how bad his life is or how miserable his day was or how high the fever or how big the mosquito bite. Against family, nothing should stand, and especially not silly conversations and ‘first world problems.’ It’s nice to know that when the spotlight is not on you, the world doesn’t end, because the spotlight was on you long enough.
- Long distance is something difficult:
I have tried to make things work – twice as obvious from the intro – long distance, but people are sensitive and hidden behind screens. I appreciate the love someone might have for me, but I am zones away, and I left there for a reason, and I don’t have free time to chit-chat, and I cannot lose a minute with my sister, the person I see for 14 days a year, for a digital scheme. It is difficult to make someone understand that the distance is present and I am absent but not different. Nothing changed in my heart when I left there, so no I wouldn’t have taken the breakup decision had he been mature and understanding of how long distance works.
- Mutual respect is cliche and essential:
I know that this is the most typical lesson, but yes, nothing is more important than it. You cannot – after being impolite – tell someone ‘teach me how to be polite’ and you cannot expect people to treat you with respect if you don’t impose your own respect. That is a lesson I learned and tried to teach.
Respect isn’t always in words. Respect is also when you listen to someone. Your reply to my silly “I had a bad day at work” doesn’t have to be “yeah, me too.” It’s not always about you, and not every conversation has to go back to you.
- Not every thought in your head is clear on the ground:
What’s on your mind is also in your mind, and unless said, don’t ever assume someone is understanding the signs you’re giving. Be blunt yet polite and save yourself the hassle. Clarity is something we all claim to love but not all claim to know how to practice. Think back and you will understand and observe how many times you weren’t clear.
- Don’t feel offended by everything:
When you’re chatting or texting, everything can change. Tones can be read differently. Try to put your emotions aside when you read a text, and if you’re having a bad day, make it clear for those who mean much to you. They are the only ones who can excuse you, and want to excuse you.
- Don’t assume. Ask:
This is a trap we all fall into. In our heads, the other person is mad, sad, upset, unhappy, bored, gentle, fake, shallow, happy, amused, high, sleepy… We’re all in states. Ask about which state someone is in before judging. Consider that there are things you don’t know, because believe it or not, you don’t know everything!
- Accept help, offer help, and appreciate help:
Anyone who has been around me knows that all the money I make is money for spending; this topic itself is out of question, and I don’t mind spending amounts on silly things if they make me smile. I don’t discuss financials nor remind people how much I spend money for their things, but I definitely expect to be appreciated if I ever went out of my way to help or gift or repay someone. We are all working for the same purpose, to gain amounts that help us achieve goals. If you don’t appreciate the small and big things people do for you, you aren’t someone who deserves them.
Another aspect of accepting, offering and appreciating help is when you know that someone, at least one, stood by your side when it was all shit. You can repay them by being nice, and offering your help in return. Never use someone’s weaknesses against them. Never degrade someone because they don’t have money. Never wait for someone with a bad temper to rage and tell them they’re troubled. Never make anyone feel guilty for being on a vacation and having a great time by reminding them that they’re away from you.
- Don’t want attention:
Don’t be a Leo. In short, and with all respect to Leo readers. You love attention and the whole cosmic world knows that. Horoscopes aside, don’t demand attention when you’re not with someone. When you’re together, you have the full right to want them to notice you and care for you and talk to you. But when you’re not together, understand that there is ‘free’ time and that it is no one’s job to entertain you. If you need constant attention and keep thinking of ways, rent a clown, it saves you the effort of throwing in silly comments or posting egoistic quotes. No one likes a rub-on.
- Make time for yourself:
Another true cliche; if you don’t love yourself and don’t know how to love yourself and don’t know how to be loved, you cannot contribute in enhancing a relationship. It’s a two-way relation. It relies on two efforts, not just one. Take time to be alone and do something with your friends. If you’re constantly bored or feeling useless without your boyfriend/girlfriend and telling them that, you are more of a burden to them. There are plenty of free things to do alone anyway; walks, swims, DVDs and napping are some. Grow yourself, love yourself and be independent. Meeting independent strong people is amazing and learning about their hobbies is something equally great.
- Never make a decision when you’re mad:
It will be the worst decision of your life. Be receptive, accept it when someone talks to you after a fight. Don’t fire missiles when you’re right about something. We’re all right at some point in our lives. Think of everyone around you. If someone doesn’t appreciate you, you don’t have to let it out on those who do. Beautiful people are a blessing. Google what a blessing is, and how bad you will feel after you lose it.
Cheers to being single, all over again.