From the moment we set foot on this planet, most of us are ready, able and eager to learn to understand this confusing world around us. But alas, some people go over to acquiring common sense and decide they can easily slide through life at the expense of others. A story on the popular “Am I The A-hole” subreddit is a perfect example of that.
User tawayaitalife skills opened up about a relationship conundrum he had with his girlfriend a few years ago. You see, he left her at the airport and went on a two week trip to SE Asia alone after realizing her passport had expired. Sounds a bit unpleasant, doesn’t it? Well, there’s a bit of context to take in.
The young woman is notoriously irresponsible and believes that her SO and loved ones exist in her life only to meet her needs. “Whenever she is asked for help somewhere, she really asks that someone take responsibility for the task,” the user wrote, and was surprised to find that his girlfriend is so out of touch with reality. Read on to find out how the story unfolded and rate the situation in the comments!
This man believes that his romantic partner must be self-sufficient and able to take care of himself for the relationship to flourish
Image Credits: Victor Freitas (not the actual photo)
So when she didn’t meet that standard, he turned to the AITA community to ask people to evaluate the situation
Image Credits: Oleksandr Pidvalnyi (not the actual photo)
Tawayaitalifeskills’ post sparked a heated debate in the comments. After all, leaving your partner at the airport and going on a dream trip without them leads to many questions and many eyebrows. But most members of the AITA community believed that the friend was not wrong in this situation. Many criticized the user’s disorganized girlfriend for not taking personal responsibility for her actions despite being an adult who is successful in her professional life.
At the same time, several Redditors had different opinions. Although the girlfriend lacks much of the knowledge she should have known by now, people have argued that she probably has no idea what the requirements for these basic life skills are. You see, the fact that sometimes we don’t understand obvious things until later in life is nothing new.
“We are literally committed to moving the common events into the background of our consciousness so that we can look forward to new things,” Joshua Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist and creator of MentalDrivetold us in an earlier interview† “The obvious goes into the background, so we reserve brain bandwidth to notice the new, salient events in our lives.”
He explained that sometimes we miss the obvious things because we may not be psychologically ready to tackle them. “A relationship that’s toxic, a love interest that’s too intense, a realization that we don’t have the skill or strength we think we have.” While these things may seem obvious to the outside observer, “our own psychological defenses go up and protect us from seeing the obvious. Because this could overwhelm us emotionally and psychologically.”
Plus, it won’t be surprising to hear professionals say that our parents can influence our adult relationships in many ways. They are the first people to show us what love is, so the way we give and receive it is usually shaped by those early experiences.
Relationship coach Martathe founder of MyCoachMartatold Bored Panda that our behavior is a direct result of the patterns we have developed in our lives. “Let’s say this woman grew up in a family where the mother stayed at home and looked after the family lovingly, while the father took on the role of breadwinner, paid bills and took care of every other ‘life admin’.”
“Children learn by observing what is being modeled, so even if nothing has ever been explicitly said to her, she has subconsciously picked up on and recorded the fact that it is the man of the household who is in charge of these matters,” explained Marta. out, adding it’s more about a subconscious belief that “this is how things are”, rather than assuming her partner will always be there to help. “She may not be aware of this belief at all or feel ashamed if she is indeed aware of it.”
After reading the story, most people sided with the boyfriend
While many Redditors have accused the girlfriend of not bothering to acquire common life skills, her behavior may stem from the mindset she has toward life. The relationship coach explained that overparenting and not being given enough responsibilities or opportunities to discover our own competence are two more ways this mindset can arise.
“This has a huge impact on our adult relationships,” Marta added. “We need attuned parenting that provides a blend of parenting and a secure foundation to return to as we explore the world and our role in it, to create a solid sense of self and internal models of relationships.”
“When these needs are not met, we develop insecure or unhealthy patterns of relating to others, as well as distorted perceptions of life, which have far-reaching consequences that extend beyond our interpersonal relationships.”
Since the girlfriend’s behavior seems to cause recurring fights in the relationship, Marta suggested that this problem is worth solving together. “I call curiosity and compassion the superpowers of the relationship. A lot of fights can be avoided by being curious about why our partner is acting the way he does,” she said.
“All of the problematic behaviors started at some point as a means of making us feel safe, loved and made to feel like we belonged. Keeping that in mind can help us feel compassion even for the things that throw us off. the nerves work,” Marta added. “We can then talk about what’s going on, how it’s affecting the relationship and partners individually, and come up with ideas for moving forward in ways that benefit everyone.”
However, we cannot force others to change. We can try to inspire them to address their maladaptive strategies, but only in an emotionally safe environment, Marta argued.
“If a conflict is approached with a win-win attitude, I rarely meet someone who doesn’t want to adapt. However, if she is determined in her life and expects the partner to take care of some aspects of her life, it will be up to him to decide where his boundaries are and whether he is willing to compromise them.”
“Fortunately, when they start communicating with curiosity and compassion, most couples discover so much more about each other that they become more committed to the success of their relationship and willing to put in the work,” concludes Marta.
Although some Redditors questioned the user’s decision and determined that he was acting like a jerk