Relationship Questions

For troubleshooting.

  1. What would you tell your younger self about love?
  2. Which of your flaws do you want to be treated with more generously?
  3. Is there anything I have done in the past that may have unknowingly hurt you?
  4. What are the main stressors in your life and how can I help?
  5. When I am anxious in our relationship, I tend to …
  6. What scares you about our relationship?

Two Inflection Points on Love

One

I’ve decided that if I’m going to love, I’m going to love. hard.

I’ve noticed a phenomenon where someone will have a bad break up, and then will try to prevent the pain in the future by being more guarded about who they let into their heart.

But there is a flaw in this way of being — the person is conflating emotional investment with open communication. “If I had just been less invested in the person, I could have avoided all this pain.” I think people are deluding themselves. Two reasons:

(1) It wasn’t emotional investment that lead to them being hurt — it was a lack of open communication — consistent transparency about each other’s pulse on the relationship and trusting each other enough to be vulnerable about thoughts and emotions.

If you had just openly communicated in the first place, then you would’ve been able to exchange quick feedback loops and adjust your speedometer accordingly.

It’s when these pulses are not in sync and people begin to leave things (addictingly!) ambiguous, that signals get crossed and people end up being hurt.

(2) There’s nothing wrong with being hurt. I can be less hurt by being more guarded about who I give my heart to, but what is the fun in that.

To feel emotion is to be human. And you can never fully live out what it means to be human without living intensely.

Two

I’m going to prioritize the person over the relationship.

A lot of times, when just entering the rush of a new intimate relationship, we get worried about defining the relationship – what it should be, whether or not we’re boyfriend/girlfriend, whether or not he’s seeing someone else. These thought patterns make it difficult to live in the moment, to appreciate the person for who they are, and savor the time when you’re with them.

It’s the prioritization of the relationship over the person that creates bad outcomes. Things start to become binary — we’re either exclusive or we’re not friends at all — and power dynamics come into play — he took 5 hours to respond to my text, is the ball in his court or mine? We’re no longer happy with the time we spend with them, rather, we suddenly build up expectations and want more.

Few people are worth your EQ. When you meet someone you believe is worth emotionally investing in, instead of trying to put them into a hole and asking, “Is he the one?” why not ask, “Am I building something amazing with this person? What else do I want to build with them?”