Relationships are constantly in flux. For every perfect moment you share with your significant other, there is probably a corresponding moment of molar-grinding frustration. It’s expected. Serious relationships are prone to the same ups and downs that come with living your life, multiplied by two.
Take this weekend.
I dragged my boyfriend upstate to my parents’ house for a long Thanksgiving vacation. Of course, no holiday is complete without 15 fawning family members, a key stuck in an ignition (not a metaphor), a raging case of PMS, and a table full of dark-meat-scarfing carnivores fighting over the last pig in a blanket. My boyfriend, of course, is a vegetarian. He was also glued to his iPhone all weekend, in a move I quickly dubbed The Awkward Boyfriend 2.0.
Of course, we came out of the weekend stronger. We came back to our tiny apartment in Manhattan, curled up with some Chinese delivery, took a nap and were back to being happy, awesome and mostly stress-free.
But an elephant never forgets … and neither do I (I ate a lot this weekend).
So here are some tips I gathered this weekend about dealing with stress in your relationship. If you’re as hormonally-challenged as I am, and bringing your boyfriend to meet your family on a big holiday, I recommend printing out a copy. And laminating it.
1. Communication is key, but like everything else, it’s best practiced in moderation. So when I told my boyfriend he needed to put down his iPhone, I didn’t need to tell him 20 times. He heard me the first time. The second time was a reminder. The final 18 or so were just obnoxious. I will quote one of my favorite movies about couples, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: “Constantly talking isn’t necessarily communicating.”
2. Talk to someone else. After I vented to my older brother about my nagging family members, I felt like a weight had been lifted. While a good boyfriend should act as your support system, you cannot dump every problem and issue on one individual. Sometimes, it helps to take the stress and deal with it elsewhere.