Are YOU the Reason You're Single Or Struggling In Your Relationship?
Updated: Jul 1, 2021
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My 4-step, Self-Reflective Checklist to Clarify Whether YOU Are the Reason You’re Single Or Struggling In Your Relationship
You’re in the fire of a fight, your heart’s bursting with emotions, and your mouth is slurring out accusations.
But when the argument dies down, you have a slight moment of reflection where you’re sitting with yourself, thinking:
Wait..what if it’s ME?
Or maybe your moment looks something more like this:
You're single. Sobbing sentimentally in your too-puffy pillow after the romantic movie, wondering:
What do I need to DO to inspire Channing Tatum (or at least one of his cousins) to express his everlasting love to me too?
And then - if you’re like a lot of us - will quickly push the self-reflective thought away, (saving it for a rainy day) thinking you’ve got it handled..OKKK???
But then, when you’re laying in bed, tossing and turning at 3AM, the thought still echoes.
WOAH- How do I know what you feel like in the deep dark of the night?
Because I’ve personally experienced both ends of this plight, more times than I’d like.
I’ve been the single girl who’s biggest fear was that she’d never know what it was like to experience a true and deep, romantic relationship.
And I’ve also been the person who’s picked a fight and pointed fingers at the person I’m dating, only to later realize:
Damn. I was DEF the problem!
Whichever end of the spectrum you land on currently, I know we can agree:
Both scenarios are not places we want to be.
Because none of us want to single handedly snatch ourselves out of the relationship of our dreams!
So how can we keep from self-sabotaging and decipher whether WE are actually the reason we’re single or our relationship is struggling?
As you analyze your relationship or your single status, taking into account your answers to today’s self-reflective, 4-step checklist can help you clarify whether you are indeed the culprit.
Beginning with our first item on the checklist:
#1. You’re looking for a mirror, instead of seeing the bigger picture.
Whether you’re struggling with your single status or your relationship, it’s absolutely vital you take a look at the BIG pic.
As we talked through a few months ago in Relationships on the Reel, it can be difficult to determine whether you should be shooting for birds of a feather flocking together or the famous attraction of opposites when coupling up.
While the blog (*spoiler alert*) settled on the idea that there are pro’s and con’s to both (and the IDEAL would be the happy middle) the bottom line of it’s conclusion was:
You definitely don’t want to date yourself.
(If you’ve experienced anything even CLOSE, you know.)
But, on the other hand:
You DO want your partner to mirror your prowess so you can combine to create a true #powercouple status.
Which means, instead of seeking out the fairytale-faux “perfect” match, we can set ourselves (and our bae’s!) up for a King-and-Queen status coupling by valuing the qualities they have, that we might lack.
AKA: You can choose to perceive your partner's differences as opportunities to collaborate in the creation of a bigger, better, more balanced power, through pairing together.
Instead of simply seeing differences as downfalls, which I’ve undoubtedly fallen into...You catching me? ;)
Now I’m not saying it’s not difficult or discouraging when your “other half” communicates a viewpoint you don’t agree with in front of your extended family..
Nor am I saying it’s not annoying when they don’t open the chip bag in the classic, this-is-how-you-save-it-from-getting-stale way you usually do either..
But I am saying that as long as you lean towards seeing differences in a negative light, you will also be an inevitable element of your relationship plight.
(Whether it’s a plight to pair up in the first place OR a mission to empower the partnership you already have!)
#2. You’re still playing *THE* game.
Are you still playing “the game”?
You know, the game where you’re hard to get, but still soft enough to be sexy?
Let me wet your palette:
I’m talking about the same, unnamed game that carefully considers the chase as currency to creating a relationship.
Calling for a 15 minute wait prior to text-response minimum, a couple innocent kisses before sealing the deal, and (of course!) the “cool girlfriend” persona.
You think the game’s got your back.
And to be fair- sometimes it seriously does.
But the game does not serve you so much when you’re trying to find a forever partner that will stick by you when fun and games are nowhere to be found..
And that’s what we’re really looking for, right?
Someone that will be there when shit gets real, and we require a full-force FaceTime instead of a 15 minute+ response time?
As trauma expert and Oprah-endorsed “thought leader of the next generation,” Mastin Kipp teaches, “Trauma is healed through safe relationships.”
Which means, if we really want a relationship worth giving our whole selves too, (whether you’re single OR struggle-bussing on the road to a worthy relationship) you’ve got to give up your ticket to the game.
Or- at least save it for another rainy day. ;)
#3. You play the blame game.
Speaking of “the game,” if you want to get into a real deep relationship (the kind that gives you comfort, compatibility, and cures your trauma), you’ve got to say sayonara to ALL games.
The blame game.
I know what you’re thinking:
Common Kendra, do we have to give up ALL games?
But hear me out-
When you’re single, the blame game might look something like:
Sorry babe, but there’s no way I’M the reason for my single status, unless literally being too hot to handle counts???
OR, on the other side of the spectrum:
Sorry babe, but I’m not worth your love, and you don't want to be with someone like me.
BOTH of which don’t serve you well, but can be combated through my three strategies to slaying self sabotage.
When you’re in a relationship, the blame game probably looks a little more like a good, ol’ fashioned pass off.
Tell me- When you’re in a terrible mood and your significant other touches you, who’s fault is it REALLY?
If your natural reaction is to say:
MY BOO THANG!
I hear you babe, and you’re not alone.
Honestly, I feel as though it’s only natural to *accidentally* pass off your pain and/or project your problems on your partner to help lighten your own load.
I mean they are like 50% of your life sooo..
When something’s not right?
It’s easy (and convenient!) to assume your significant other’s to blame.
But, when we alleviate our burdens on our boo thangs, (although it’s way too easy to do) we also must realize it only takes one time too many for this technique to push our people away from us.
*Insert sad “boo” - (but not the relationship type) - here.*
An example of this that had me LOLing from The Defining Decade was a moment where Meg Jay shared the sass-filled resentment she felt when watching her husband stress eat pizza, when she (for medical reasons) couldn’t indulge in it herself, saying:
“He made himself feel better by eating something yummy because he could. I got angry because I couldn’t. That’s all.”
Of course, it made me laugh because it’s funny..NOT because I’ve ever done the same - noo way. ;)
Finally, we finish our four-step self-reflection checklist by analyzing the influence our friends have over our feels, with checklist item numero cuatro:
#4. You’re allowing other people’s opinions to override your intuition.
Advice is important.
And regardless of our relationship status, we value it.
Especially the opinions of our BFFs, ride-or-dies, and day ones.
After all, they’re the ones that know us BEST and have our backs, right?
Although it may be so, seeking friendly advice can be a dangerous zone, if not played right.
As clinical psychologist, Meg Jay, makes clear, “Friends can form a culture where differences are seen as deficiencies.”
Have you ever experienced this?
While we both know our friends don’t intend to be malicious (and often offer their advice because they’re scared to see a relationship change us!), asking our girls for advice can influence us into an uncomfortable state of analysis paralysis.
Leaving us wondering if our new fling is just not meant to be, and overthinking pretty much everything.
When, in reality, (as Meg Jay reveals):
“Sometimes differences are just differences. They can even be strengths.”
And most of the time, the person most qualified to determine if the difference at hand is a strength or weakness, is the person who’s actually in the relationship.
Yep. That means you boo!
SO- How do you play it right then? Without boxing your friends OR your bae’s out of your life?
Allow your bffs the opportunity to share what’s on their mind, but don’t let (or expect!) them to provide the end-all be-all when it comes to relationship advice.
Because it’s YOUR life.
And no one but YOU (and maybe your boo!) knows what’s really happening behind closed doors.
Which means you’re also the only one who can say whether what’s going down is worth leaning into more, and/or working on within yourself before walking out that door.
Completed today’s 4-step self-reflection checklist, but still can’t quite clarify exactly what your next step should be, relationally?
Don’t be afraid to exercise the opportunity to uncover your own wisdom with an intuition check in!
P.S. Need a little extra help uncovering whether the issues in your relationship are the make kind or the break kind? Check out my compatibility, compromises and communication edition of ‘Relationships on the Real’ - right here!