This started as a text message.
The paragraph got too long so I broke it down into bullet points.
Then I copy and pasted my words into the notes app.
It got longer and I thought “maybe it can be a voice memo.”
Then I realized…you don’t need this opinion piece.
So I’m dumping my thoughts here, where I know you won’t read, for two reasons. Because I know when someone is suffering from relationship problems, a friend’s advice from thousands of miles away is pretty useless. And because I’m afraid if I say too many harsh things, you’ll feel less safe sharing with me in the future. Then you’ll feel even more alone than you do now.
Yesterday morning I was at the laundromat when you called me. You were sobbing into the phone. All day long I couldn’t get our conversation out of my mind. Here’s all the things I wanted to tell you:
I don’t usually throw around the words “should” or “shouldn’t” because I know every relationship is unique. However in this case I’m confident saying that you should not be worried he’s gonna break up with you after a fight. Not when you’ve been together this long. Not when you’re discussing marriage.
Of course it’s okay to fight with your significant other. For what it’s worth, Sung and I have our share of arguments. Two stubborn Tauruses ya know! But the fights you’ve described to me over the last couple years, they don’t seem within the scope of a healthy relationship. At all.
If you fight, it should be over external stuff: like how to set boundaries with your families, how you want to budget, where you’ll live, stuff like that. You shouldn’t be fighting over intrinsic stuff like each other’s temperament and communication style.
But every fight with him is centered around you and your “flaws.” He says you’re too emotional, too sensitive, too clingy. He doesn’t seem to truly love your core personality. It seems like there’s a basic incompatibility between you.
He makes you doubt yourself.
He makes you hate who you are.
This is past the point of self-improvement and growth which a healthy relationship encourages.
All I’m saying is you should really think about what YOU want in life.
Don’t think about the present moment and all the ways you’re intertwined. Think about five years from now. In 2026. Is this what you want? Because if you think it’s complicated now, I guarantee it’s gonna get infinitely more complicated once you get married, buy a house, put down roots together…
The other day you asked me “are things different now that you and Sung are married?” I chuckled at the question. Not…really? I mean, we’d already been living together. It’s nice to be a [new last name] but that’s really the only change. The relationship feels the same.
Did you ask me that question because you’re wondering if marriage will fix your relationship?
Well I have a question for you. The way you feel in your relationship, would you want that for me? Or for any of your friends?
I can honestly say I want you to feel the way I feel in my relationship. I feel happy and fulfilled, like I’m the purest version of myself.
If your relationship doesn’t work out, I know it would suck so bad. But you would be okay. You could come stay with me for a while. You have your career on track. You have your whole life ahead of you.
I’m afraid that in five or ten years you’ll say to me “Lizi I wish I had chosen a different path back in 2021, it would have been easier then.”
How many times have you called me sobbing after a nasty fight with him? I can think of half a dozen times off the top of my head.
You tell me you’re so very anxious. Maybe that anxiety is trying to tell you something?
When I met you six years ago, you were the most confident and carefree person I knew. You no longer seem like that free spirit. Now when we talk on the phone, the only time you sound happy is when you’re telling me about your career.
I don’t want you to try and change your beautiful personality for someone else’s comfort.
I’m not telling you to break up with him. But, if he were to break up with you, as you fear he will, I think it will be a blessing in disguise.
Whenever you call me crying I always tell you exactly what I think. I don’t just comfort you, I tell you something is seriously wrong. To my outside perspective these fights aren’t normal.
After our phone call I’m tempted to send you an essay text.
But is that what you need? What good would it do? This is part of my process of empathizing with healthy boundaries. I’ll support you no matter what but I can’t tell you how to live your life. My words are unnecessary.