What would you prefer: a partner who nags you to death but always looks after you, or a partner who is as sweet as honey but hangs around waiting for you to handle everything?
You say she only whispers sweet nothings and does everything? So, I applaud your optimism while mildly amused by your childish fantasies. It will not happen; you will end up with one or the other (or someone who both shouts and does nothing, if you are one of those particularly unlucky ones). People who will do anything for you while remaining easy to listen to do not exist. If they do, they will transform into Mother Teresa and avoid the dating scene entirely.
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The more powerful the actions, the more powerful the words
Whoever said that actions speak louder than words missed an important point: it is not an either/or situation. Relationship actions are frequently accompanied by the word “and.” Those who are quick to help you are also quick to talk your ear off. It is unavoidable because it is so human.
The more someone cares about you and does for you, the more they expect from you and from yourself. Expectations accompany actions, and these expectations are expressed in words (or shouts if they are repeatedly unmet!). So, if your partner is in charge of cooking dinner and you arrive late two nights in a row, you can bet there will be hell to pay the third night — “I'm making the effort to cook and you can't make the effort to simply show up?” If they have taken over your laundry, you will almost certainly hear about your dirty clothes being strewn about instead of in the hamper. If they threw you a huge birthday party and you have no plans for their birthday, you're playing with fire, my friend!
While we complain about how much our partners nag us, the truth is that it is largely unavoidable – if you want the care, you must accept the nagging.
Those who are always quietly pleasant (if they exist at all) will not be as emotionally invested in you and will not do as much. It's really quite simple: the fewer the actions, the fewer the words. They will not expect as much from you if they do not do as much in the first place. They don't say as much if they don't expect as much. That's probably why relationships with plenty of space for both partners work – if no one is waiting for you at home, you don't get yelled at for being late.
So, should it be “Goodbye Meaningful Relationships” or “Goodbye Ears”?
So, before you go out and buy that hearing aid, let me quickly point out that there can, of course, be balance in a relationship. But, before you can figure that out, you must accept that your partner is not Mother Teresa. While we appreciate being taken care of, we must recognize that the expectations, nagging, and parent-like scoldings that come with it are a natural byproduct of that care. Similarly, if your partner is the laid-back type who doesn't get involved in every detail of your life, that will only work if you're okay with not having constant care and support.
This is not to say that one is superior to the other; rather, it is a matter of what works best for two people. It's not always possible to see the love in the nagging. Sometimes you just want to pull out your arm and stuff it in your ear. Nonetheless, while it is very lofty to talk about space and independence in relationships, there are times when you actually need a pseudo parent — the complete package who pampers you like a child and scolds you as if you are a misbehaving 5 year old.
The goal is to strike a balance while keeping the actions-words equation in mind. Don't expect your partner to do everything for you, and don't expect them to do everything for you. Sometimes you just have to leave them alone and let them do whatever they want. Yes, the shirt doesn't quite match the pants, but let him go. Yes, she's binging on those unhealthy cookies today — back off!
Take advantage of this time to let go, be the calm one, and enjoy the peace and quiet (while it lasts). Similarly, if you've been whining like a baby for the last three days due to a cold and your partner has that exasperated-yet-concerned look that reminds you of your mother, accept your fate: there's a big bag full of words and only words coming right at you!
So here's the “big” secret to a happy life: do the laundry the next time your ears get tired. If you're sick of doing laundry, send a note to your ears to brace themselves and report for duty!
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