Keep That Same Energy

Who remember’s Lil’ Wayne’s Comfortable? My hand is raised, in case you were wondering. Well I wanted to talk to you about comfort in a relationship — more importantly, how to keep that energy when it comes to your friends, partners and families.

Long relationships come with a sense of comfort — whether you’ve been best friends since childhood, you’ve been seriously dating for years or you’re married with children — you’re comfortable with that person. That friend, partner, spouse, (sometimes even a child) is a form of a safe space for you. It’s nice to find that comfort, whether you realize it when you’re sitting in silence during a long car ride or when you share detailed information about your latest period and how heavy that flow was, know that that person is a keeper.

However, how-ever, there may also come a point in those relationships where you’re so comfortable that you stop trying and that’s definitely not okay. Though understandable, it’s important to know that your comfort-person is still a person — they need love, attention, care, kindness and most of all energy and effort.

I recently watched a documentary on weddings in which a wedding photographer/videographer interviewed the people whose weddings he documented years after they’ve gotten married. Many of them remained, many divorced and a shit-ton of them didn’t want to be interviewed. One couple stood out to me in particular, I don’t remember their names or the specifics but I remember the situation clear as day:

The couple married and later had kids together. The wife ended up putting a lot of effort into her kids because her husband was always working and he ended up putting a lot of energy into work and an affair. He blamed his wife for their separation, stating that she wasn’t there for him the same way she was before she had children and she wasn’t paying him the attention he desired. On her end, he worked often and had an affair so she had to be there for her kids because he simply was not.

The situation stuck with me because after watching it, my husband asked me how I felt about what they each said, to which I responded:

“I’m not mad at her for putting her all into her kids, I mean, they’re her fucking kids. He’s putting his time into work, which ended up also meaning an affair, so what was she supposed to do? I get his side of feeling ‘left’ but she diverted her attention to her kids while he diverted his attention to work and his dick to someone else. I’m not mad at her at all, she’s being a mom and he took that sensitively and cheated.”

There’s a point to this, I promise, and that is that you should always try. While I wasn’t mad at her then (and I’m honestly not now because the guy seemed like a piece of shit to begin with) I’m a mother now and I understand a little more what it’s like to have a child and a husband. I made a pact to myself that I would love them both differently, but very equally, because I never wanted either of them to feel like I was choosing one over the other when there’s absolutely no need for that.

I know looking at ourselves isn’t fun because it means acknowledging our bad and ugly as much as we acknowledge our good, but have you been trying?

For those who have a comfort-person in the form of a best friend:

When was the last time you made plans to see your best friend? Did you two have a nice hangout or did you kind of just hang wherever was easy? Have you checked in on them? What’s going on in their lives?

We’re all busy, but our comfort-people deserve some love and attention as well. It’s important to see them, to go somewhere new, try new things. After all, isn’t it better to do these things with someone you’re cool with, someone you know and who knows you and most of all, someone you’re (you guessed it) comfortable with. Maybe it’s time to make some serious time to just make an effort with your best friend — choose a different meeting place, try a different restaurant, explore a different borough, give them a care package, something, anything. Also, before you hit me with the “who has the time or the money,” please be aware that this also does not have to be an every single time, kind of thing. This can be once a month or once every two months or if you see them once a year, make that once a year something fucking fun. Just try. Try to do something for your friend that you would be over the moon about if your friend did for you.

For those who have a comfort-person in the form of a boyfriend/girlfriend:

Whether this is someone that’s for right nor or someone that’s forever, getting into the habit of consistently trying will never fail you. For those who show effort and make it a point to try, know that it doesn’t go unnoticed. There was a side of you that came out when you were trying to get with your person and that shit was charming. Of course, you don’t have to have this charm on 24/7, but be kind to your partner, be loving, be complimentative, ask questions, set up fun dates, choose where the dates are. Once again, this doesn’t have to be every single time, but once in a while, just make sure you put in effort into this relationship that you’re consciously choosing to be in. Why be with someone if you’re going to give your all? No matter what that looks like, know that it’s okay to check in with yourself and see if you’re happy with your partner and if you were in their shoes, would you be happy with you?

For those who have a comfort-person in the form of a spouse:

This one is a little different because you’re married. I feel like with the title of marriage comes a different comfort — almost like an “well, I know you’re going to be here” kind of comfort. While it’s nice to be comfortable and confident with your partner and your relationship, this doesn’t not grant you permission to stop fucking trying. I’m going to assume that most married couples live together, whether full-time or part-time, but if you live with your partner, have you tried taking some things off of their to-do list? Have you tried making them a meal, especially if they’re usually the cooks in the house? Have you tried setting up a date night? This isn’t a male directed statement either, it goes for both of you, by the way.

Sometimes that effort looks like putting in the same effort in getting ready to go to Costco as you do to go to work each day. Other times, it looks like handling the dishes so your partner has some time to chill or work on something else on their to-do list. At times, it just means making an effort to be kind and to be attentive. Maybe it’s making sure that if you had time to hang with a friend or get a drink with someone — you make that same effort to hangout with your partner. Just because you’re married doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy these things.

Being that those that are married to their comfort person have a different comfort level, it tends to become easy to take things out on your spouses — moods, anger, etc. — but please, if you get nothing else out of this read, take this in:

Your family — spouse, children, dog, brothers, etc. — deserve the benefit of the doubt for their mistakes, they deserve the kindness that you give your coworkers who are having a rough day, they deserve the effort you put into making sure your boss is happy, they deserve as much of the best you as your friends, coworkers, boss, teammates, etc. do. So take a second, check in with yourself and ensure that you’re being the best you for family. Being there is beautiful, but being present — in the fucking moment — with your family is absolutely priceless. Take your spouse on a date, go for a walk, talk with them, go out for a drink with them, go to the movies, check out the flea market, DO THINGS. Sometimes you don’t get those moments back either and you shouldn’t wait until that time to realize how much you’ve missed out on by being on your phone, diverting all your attention to work, only being tired when you happen to be home and your partner is need of some TLC, or finding any reason to pick a fight or simply releasing negative energy onto them. Be kind to your partners. Keep the same energy you did when at the beginning, or at least half of that energy.

My husband and I promised that we would be each other’s best friend and we fight for each other and do unto one another what someone would do for their best friend and it’s fucking magical. For all of you, with every relationship, keep the same energy you did at the beginning. Trust me, it’ll do you both so much good.

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