The Chip on your Shoulder

Everyone has something in their lives that will get your back up or bring that chip on your shoulder to the surface. Most would not agree they have that trigger or issue but the reality is you see it all the time. I’m willing to admit that I have some of these triggers to.

Although I see it in my work every day the most obvious example that I can give is from past relationships. That moment when I have said something as simple as “your strange” and it sets your partner off. This isn’t an example from my current life, but in this case it was because he had been with someone who treated him really badly and used to say the same sentence.

What these triggers usually do is bring to the surface the negative feelings that you experienced when you heard them previously. When you end up in a relationship with someone who has been victimised in their past one of the signs is if they are almost obsessive about the term ‘independence’. Generally this type of defence comes from a past relationship or issue from the past where they didn’t feel heard and most often these types of reactions are understandable. When you have a history of being victimised you tend to want a lot of control.

The key is to make sure you are self aware of these triggers and ensure you tell your partner about them when you do. This way your partner is aware of the things that can hurt you and can avoid them. The problems come when you are not willing to admit to them. This is when that chip on your shoulder, or baggage can actually hurt your relationship. So I guess it comes back to how much you value your relationship and how important it is to you.

I see so many relationships end because of frivolous reasons and this is sad. But more often than not you can pinpoint the problems started with something to do with these past triggers. A positive that I have seen of late is a lot more couples lasting because they put communication as a number one priority in the relationship. This is a great sign that maybe things are changing and gay relationships are maturing.

In my relationship communication is really important. We both have baggage and in order for it not to have an impact on us we have made communicating a very important aspect. It’s the first time I have been in a relationship where two way communication exists. In past relationships it was like I was expected to just know everything and recognise every sign and what it meant. Realistically I am a male and although I can see mood changes and recognise something is wrong, I’m not always great at knowing what it is. So if we didn’t have open communication in our relationship I don’t think it would last.

I can say that I am very lucky, but it has taken a long time to get here. I have had several relationships that didn’t work and I feel grateful for where I am now. I really want to see more gay people taking relationships seriously and thinking of them as a long term option. I am happy and it’s when I have my bad days that I realise how lucky I am. I want this for you.