What would you rather have: a partner who nags you within an inch of your grave but always takes care of you, or a partner who is sweet as honey but hangs about waiting for you to handle everything?
Whispers only sweet nothings plus does everything, you say? Well, I applaud your optimism while chuckling with mild amusement at your childlike dreams. It’s not going to happen — you will end up with one kind or the other (or someone who both shouts and does nothing, if you are one of those particularly unlucky ones). People who will do the world for you while also remaining easy on the ears do not exist. If they do, they become Mother Teresa and avoid the dating scene altogether.
The Greater the Actions, the Louder the Words
Whoever said actions speak louder than words missed an essential point — it is not an either/or scenario at all. Actions in relationships mostly come with the “and” of words. The ones who are quick to do things for you are also quick to talk your ears off. It is so naturally human that it cannot be avoided.
The more a person cares about you and does for you, the more they expect from you and of you. Actions come with expectations, and these expectations get expressed in words (or shouts if they go repeatedly unmet!). So, if your partner is in charge of cooking dinner and you show up late two nights in a row, rest assured there will be hell to pay the third night — “I’m making the effort to cook and you cannot make the effort to just show up?”. If they have taken over your laundry, you will surely hear about your dirty clothes strewn all over instead of being in the hamper. If they threw you a huge birthday bash and you don’t have any plans for their birthday, well, you are playing with fire my friend!
While we keep complaining about how much our partners nag us, the fact is that it’s pretty much collateral damage – if you want the care, you have to accept the nagging.
Conversely, the ones who are always quietly pleasant (if they even exist) will just not be that emotionally invested in you — they will not do so much. It’s quite simple, really: lesser the actions, lesser the words. If they don’t do as much in the first place, they will not expect as much from you. If they don’t expect as much, they don’t say so much. That’s probably the reason why relationships that afford both partners a lot of space also work – if no one is waiting for you at home, you don’t get yelled at for coming home late.
So, is it “Goodbye Meaningful Relationships” or “Goodbye Ears?”
Well, before you place the order for that hearing aid, let me hastily mention that one can, of course, have balance in a relationship. But before that gets figured out, you need to accept the fact that your partner is not Mother Teresa. While we enjoy being taken care of, we need to understand that the expectations, nagging, and parent-like scoldings are a natural outcome of that care. Just the same if your partner is the relaxed one who doesn’t interfere in every little aspect of your life — that will work only as long as you are OK to not have constant care and support.
This is not to say that one or the other is right; it is more about what fits better for two people. You can’t always see the love in the nagging. Sometimes you literally just want to pull your arm out and stuff it in your ear. Just the same, while it is very lofty to talk about space and independence in relationships, sometimes you actually need a pseudo parent — the complete package who pampers you like a child and scolds you as if you really are an erring 5 year old.
The idea is to balance it out while being aware of the actions-words equation. Don’t expect your partner to do everything for you and don’t do everything for them. Sometimes, leave them alone and let them do whatever the hell they want. Yes, the shirt does not exactly match the pants — let him go anyway. Yes, she is binging on those unhealthy cookies today — turn away!
Use this time to let go, be the cool one, and enjoy the calm and quiet (while it lasts). Just the same, if you have been whining like a baby for the last 3 days because of a cold and your partner has that exasperated-yet-concerned look that reminds you of your mother, well, accept your inevitable fate: there is a big bagful of words and only words coming right at you!
So this is the “big” secret to a happy life: next time your ears are tired, do the laundry. In the case that you are tired of laundry, send a little note to your ears to brace themselves and report for duty!
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