People say that the phrase “We need to talk” is one of the most nerve-wracking things to hear in any relationship. But have you ever heard your significant other tell you, “We need to review our relationship”?
It sounds like something out of a business proposal, but I literally heard those words just a few weeks ago from my boyfriend of almost three years. But it doesn’t sound as bad as one would think. (And no, there was no Powerpoint presentation involved. Though that would be cool.)
He suggested a “relationship review” to talk about our past problems and basically our progress as a couple. Considering that we’ve been together for a while, plus the fact that we’ve been long-distance for majority of the relationship, let’s just say that the honeymoon period has passed.
During the first year, we—well, mostly me —almost never got annoyed or mad at each other. We also made it a point to try and communicate when there’s something wrong, especially since both of us are used to bottling up everything.
Just like every relationship, things changed. We would argue more than usual over the smallest things, and doing so via online chat only made it worse. Trust me, using no emojis is intense. Fortunately, we don’t get into brutal confrontations and we don’t last more than 24 hours without apologizing. Still, the number of times we’ve had disagreements was troubling for us.
The review was simple enough: Talk about what went wrong before so we don’t have grudges against each other in the future. This was also the perfect time for us to discuss issues that we often put aside because of our work schedules and differing time zones. I’m not going to divulge anything personal, but the distance (obviously) played a major role.
I realized after our review is that any problem, regardless if it’s old or new, is always worth talking about. For a couple that makes a big deal out of communication, we almost forgot how essential it was after months of petty arguments.
The bad stuff doesn’t go away when you simply apologize and brush it under the rug. It’s also important to figure out what should be done better so it doesn’t happen again.
For some, a relationship review may be scary because you’ll never know what the outcome will be. My boyfriend even told me that a breakup would be on the table if it was really needed. But don’t ever let that stop you from confronting problems. Always think of it as a learning curve to make your lives as a couple and as individuals better.
Art by Lara Intong
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