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Do you need to ‘level up’ your relationship?

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We’ve all been there.

 

We find a partner who we think is a great match for us, they’re sweet, great personality, loves their mama, everything is great. The relationship grows, the stability of having that one steady person is comforting, and you both are (seemingly) happy with each other, sounds like you got a good thing right?  But as time passes, you begin to get this nagging feeling that you need more. Maybe you can’t put your finger on it right away, or you need to consult with your friends to convince you that you’re not crazy. Whatever it may be, you have a feeling in your gut that this person just isn’t the one. Your person. Your life partner. 

 

But here’s the thing— lesbian relationships tend to move faster then an Amtrak train. You meet, you like, you date/become official (which oftentimes happens simultaneously), you move in, start splitting bills, and next thing you know, you have a Pinterest board filled with wedding decor and pictures of your favorite gluten free wedding cakes. Sometimes in our haste to find our happily ever after, we overlook or completely ignore the glaring warning signs that our current partner is just not our match. Just like those gluten free wedding cakes, most romantic relationships have a shelf life, and that’s okay!

 

The worst thing to do is to coast through your relationship with blinders on. Consistent, periodic (and reasonable) self audits and relationship audits are important to help you figure out whether or not you are on the right track with the right person. Maybe it’s just time for you to level up. And no, this isn’t advice to just trade your partner in for a newer model whenever a problem arises. Definitely put the work in, but there are some things that need to be factored in.

 

So is your relationship a gem or a dub? Here are some things to consider:

 

Does your partner motivate you? Or overwhelm you?

Think if the things you are in to. Working out, cooking, being your own boss, maybe it’s doing makeup, whatever it is, does your partner motivate you to pursue these things? Maybe they are not as into the new MAC contour palette as you are, which is fine, but will they send you the post they just saw on Instagram about the new sale? Or mention that coworker who just told them about those makeup classes they took? Or do they nag you about the fact that you love a good red lip (even when you’re only going to the market), or ask you “you wearing makeup again?” when all you want to do is get dolled up and practice the new wing tipped liner technique you just learned on You Tube.

 

Bottom line: You and your partner don’t need to be into the same things, or even to the same degree, but you should motivate one another to be as into whatever it is you like, and love you for it.

 

Does your partner stimulate you intellectually?

Now, if you’re the type of person who likes to coast, or always feel like you have the upper hand in a relationship, (which is immature and pretty wack) then skip right over this section. Sorry, not sorry. But if you are the type of person who enjoys being with someone who can keep you on your toes, teach you new things, and grow with, then here you go. Think about your relationship, what do you talk about? Do your conversations go past talk about pop culture, or the latest gossip? What types of things do you do together? Do you go to cultural events, do you find yourself in spaces where you are experiencing and learning new things? Do they open your eyes to new ways of thought, maybe even a new author or artist? If not, then you need to level up sis (or bro).

 

Bottom Line: As adults, the quest for knowledge and growth should be constant. It is how we evolve, it is how we mature, and keep up. Be with someone on the same wavelength of growth as you are. Not someone with a stagnant mind.

 

How does your partner make you feel? Like really feel?

Partnerships are supposed to be just that, a partner in crime, in happiness, in growth, in success, and in struggle. Someone who you see as an equal, but not necessarily a mirror image of yourself. The right hand to your left. How does your partner make you feel, beyond the surface stuff. Beyond the sexual arousal, or the ego boosting you get when you’re walking down the street with a dime on your arm. Behind closed doors, when all that remains is silence and heartbeats, doo you feel secure? Emotionally safe? Spiritually and emotionally supported? Are you totally accepted by your partner, all of your quirks and characteristics? Do they play on your insecurities in any way? Do you feel like you can completely be yourself? Or are there parts of you that you have to tuck away in order to make them comfortable? 

 

Of course, self improvement is necessary to make any relationship work, and if there are self defeating behaviors such as a quick temper,  or maybe you have a shady past that you want to leave behind you, by all means, it’s always good to smooth those out as best as you can and focus on being the best person you can be. But there should be no part of you that is hidden, nothing about you that is seen as “too much,” for your partner. If you’re loud, be loud, you love switching your hairstyle every week, do that! There isn’t a relationship in the world that can justify dimming your light.

 

Bottom Line: Don’t allow yourself to stay in a relationship another day if you have to alter who you are in order to make them happy. Free yourself from any partnership that minimizes your greatness or tries to diminish your confidence or feelings of safety or self worth.

 

No one is perfect, and no relationship is perfect, but there are some key aspects that must be in place if you are serious about being with someone. If you’re just in it for the thrills, then go for it, but if you are looking for something that lasts, a partnership that will sustain and feed you, then the above is a good place to start when figuring out if you should level up. Perhaps you will even find that your partner needs to level up from you! If that’s the case, then I’m not sorry. Let that person go, and allow them to find the person who will allow them to shine.

 

Robin Williams

Robin Williams is a native of the Bronx, NY who holds a B.A. in Journalism from the University of D.C. and an M.P.S in Sports Management from Georgetown University. In 2017, Robin made her debut as a filmmaker with the creation of the short film Garden of Eden, which she wrote and co-directed. "Garden of Eden" is a scripted drama that follows the coming out story of a young Black lesbian who is outed by her father. In May 2017, "Garden of Eden" was selected into the Cannes Film Festival Creative Minds Short Film Corner in Cannes, France where it was screened privately. Robin is Managing Editor at Soule.lgbt, and also facilitates therapeutic writing and mindfulness workshops teaching participants how to use writing to heal trauma. In addition to being a freelance writer and filmmaker, Robin owns and operates a small accessory company called Bowtie Behavior. IG/Twitter: @model_robbie

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