It was almost 3 years ago, and I faced the toughest decision of my life at the time. I was involved with a guy     whom I loved very much, but honestly the relationship became too much work for the both of us. I remember the day when I knew that it was over. I had just moved into my very first apartment in the city, and he lived in the burbs. We only saw each other on the weekends, so I looked forward to Friday through Sunday. It was one particular Friday in November and we were on the phone. I asked him if he was going to come over and he actually ran down a list of reasons why he wasn’t going to come.

“You want me to drive all the way out there? If I do, I then have to look for parking. Once I find parking, I have to walk to your building and then up to your apartment. I’m tired and it’s just too much Shantell.”

He made his trip to see me seem like more of an inconvenient chore than a worthwhile journey for someone he loved. “But you can come out here.” Mind you I was flying my ass out to the burbs just about every weekend and even some weekdays. All in the name of “working it out;” a phrase often used as more of an excuse to stay in bad situations than actual intention.

It may seem like I’m against working on relationships but the truth is I’m actually arguing in favor of the purpose. While aimlessly wasting time one day on Facebook, a friend’s post caught my attention. It said: “Any relationship that takes work isn’t worth it…something ain’t right with somebody. Yay or Nay?” Before jumping to conclusions, I had to be sure that my argument was valid. One commenter asked him what his definition of work was.“Work is defined as consciously putting forth STRENUOUS EFFORT Relatives , ESPECIALLY children, are mandatories” he replied.

Many people share the same sentiment as my Facebook friend does. They have the “If it’s too hard then I’m bouncing” philosophy and while I can agree that relationships shouldn’t feel like you’re going to the gynecologist, there is something to be said about the individual who doesn’t run every time a bit of smoke fills the kitchen. Let’s take a look at the definition of work as defined by Merriam Webster:

Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.Verb: Be engaged in physical or mental activity in order to achieve a purpose or result, esp. in one’s job; do work.

Any successful relationship takes and deserves work. The tricky part is determining the difference between working towards building a strong solid relationship and running into endless issues where everything is a struggle. In my experience, I was doing the latter. You shouldn’t have to convince someone to spend quality time with you, call you regularly or to perform any other basic duties in a relationship. Especially if they’ve been dating you for years and claim to be serious about you. It just doesn’t make logical sense.

The fact that many people feel like you shouldn’t have to work on a relationship bothers me. To me, it seems like people want instant gratification and expect to have the perfect relationship with the perfect being which just isn’t reality. Nothing in this world comes easy and while chemistry, compatibility, stability, honesty and love are key components of a good relationship, they are nothing without commitment. So while one shouldn’t be a fool and stay with someone who runs them through obstacle courses, a bit of good honest work towards something great never hurt anyone. Especially if you’re in it together.



  1. Maybe “work” conjures up something arduous and non-spontaneous for a relationship to survive. If 2 partners already delight in one another and enjoy learning from one another, then “work” for when something troubles the relationship, trying to make things better, by listening to one another, being there fully for the other person, becomes of an extension of that long-term spectrum of loving each other.

    You’re your ex didn’t really want to invest energy, time and effort to even visit you.

    When I first knew my partner, we broke up twice. So I lived in the suburbs and he, downtown. Funny, how we would accidentally “meet” each other on our bikes in each other’s neighbourhood. Hmmmmmm….

    We’re still together after 20 yrs.

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