Every now and then, when there is a lull in conversation between my partner and I, I say “compliment now, please”.
I’m joking of course.
Well, half joking (I’m not joking).
Sometimes, I just need some reinforcement. I’m bizarrely attention-seeking in a way I haven’t ever been before in a relationship.
LISTEN: Mia Freedman, Holly Wainwright and I discuss the gardener versus flower relationship theory. Post continues below.
I find myself yelling “LOVE ME” or “PLAY WITH MY HAIR” or “LAUGH HARDER AT MY STORY,” which is probably really annoying.
But I don’t care.
Because I’m a goddamn flower.
Freedman said sometimes she feels like a seal, doing tricks and then clapping her hands together demanding some fish. Please.
The theory goes that in order for a relationship to work, it needs a flower and a gardener.
The flower needs to be nurtured and tended to and requires plenty of adoration and attention in order to flourish.
The gardener, on the other hand, is far more adaptive and sees its primary role as caring for the flower. They water the flower with love, and are more inclined to put in the work required to maintain a long term relationship.
They are often perfectionists, and have great attention to detail. The gardener likes things to be organised and straight forward, whereas the flower is more spontaneous.
When the flower becomes a little out of control, the gardener possesses the ability to prune it gently.
Importantly, the gardener is not submissive or weak. They are protective and ensure the relationship is on track. Their role is critical.
It is this symbiotic partnership that sees most flowers and gardeners become not just companions but best friends. They understand each other's roles and needs.
And here's the thing.
No relationship can survive with two flowers. But sometimes, they can work with two gardeners.
Every partnership needs a caretaker.
Importantly, the roles are not at all gendered. Although a flower might sound more feminine, there are probably more male flowers, and more female gardeners.
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And just because you're a flower now - doesn't mean you have always been one. It changes depending on the dynamic of the specific relationship.
Friendships also have flowers and gardeners. My twin sister and I are always oscillating, one doing more of the giving, and the other more of the taking.
The most enduring relationships all have the potential to flip. If one is sick, if one is struggling or if one is enduring emotional hardship.
But most of the time - the roles are fairly easy to identify.
So, are you a flower or a gardener?
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