Friction can generate heat in a relationship, too.
Let's face it: everyone is at least a little f*cked up. The trick is finding someone whose damaged psyche fits into yours like a puzzle piece.
So, when we enter into a relationship, why do we have the expectation that we're entitled to an effortless Hollywood romance in which no negative emotions are ever experienced?
Friction isn't always an ominous sign that your relationship is broken; it's a sign that you're human. The key is recognizing what's normal and expected in relationships, and what's a red flag.
These signs can help you spot the difference:
1. You're not passive-aggressive, you're straight up aggressive.
Fights need to happen. It's logically impossible for two people to agree on everything forever.
Instead of swallowing your pride, burying your negativity, and allowing it to toxically leak into other aspects of your relationship, it's better to tackle it head on and address your grievances with your partner.
As with all things, pick your battles. You don't need to argue over every piece of minutiae in your life, but if something is important to you, chances are it's important to your partner, too. Don't be afraid to give it the proper attention.
2. You're only a tiny bit jealous.
Hardcore jealousy is corrosive in a relationship. You can't own another person, and you shouldn't want to, either. But it's only natural to feel a little possessive of your significant other. After all, isn't that what we mean when we say we "want" someone?
You don't need to blow up at him if he's out all night without you. But that twinge you get when you see another girl get a little too flirty at the bar ... that's evidence you still "want" him.
3. You can criticize each other constructively.
There's a fine line between putting somebody down, and trying to pick them up. Nobody's perfect, which is the nice way of saying, each of you is going to f*ck up once in a while.
If you can use that as an opportunity for self-improvement — instead of hurting each other's feelings — it can only strengthen your relationship in the long run.
4. You can be negative without bringing your partner down with you.
You're a team. Sometimes you'll have to bear the burden of the relationship; sometimes they will.
Translation: When one of you is being a sh*tty partner, the other rises to the occasion. And you will be a sh*tty partner. At times, anyway. You're f*cked up, remember?
5. You give each other space without avoiding one another.
Sometimes you just need your partner to get out of your face, and vice versa. That isn't the Hollywood picture of love where both people are supposed to be enraptured by the other person's presence 24/7. Nope, it's just brutal reality.
If you can tell your partner to f*ck off once in a while with no hurt feelings or needing increasingly more time apart, you're on the right track.
6. You each annoy the other one sometimes, but you never fail to make it up to them.
You can't win 'em all. When you mess up and realize you're wrong, you do something nice to make it up to them.
Just wanting to do something nice at all shows that you still care for that person, even if you did a mean thing by accident. It's when you hurt their feelings and don't care there's a problem.
7. You can be you, warts and all.
Most importantly, you can each let your f*cked up side show through without fear. You embrace that you're each a little f*cked up, and that your relationship is a little f*cked up, too. And that's okay.