“I’ve always found it sort of hilarious, and occasionally horrifying, how these images [in mass media] impact us, and especially when it comes to love and sex and relationships, I think we sometimes develop unrealistic expectations.” – Joseph Gordon-Levitt
These days whenever I browse online, there are all these articles like “The Number One rule to relationships”, “Tips of awesome couples”, hashtags like #relationshipgoals and whatnot. Respect and communication is important and I’m all for new perspectives but there is some unhealthiness to the perception that all couples must have certain pillars or must do certain things to define themselves as a good couple. As though it is some easily replicated recipe and without one ingredient, your meal is definitely going to bomb.
Life is not that rigid and I doubt things were as complicated in the past.
Not to say couples did not have issues etc but when there were considerably less comparisons to be made, issues a couple faced may not seem overly inflated. For example, you may just have been comparing with your family or immediate friends rather than everyone else on the Internet like it is nowadays. High chances you would feel you are coming up short if you are making such comparisons.
Admittedly, I used to be one of those girls who would examine my relationship after I read an article. Like, “OMG I didn’t think of that, are we doomed?” or “OMG, he does not do those things for me” and it was just not helping us in our busy lives. It would often feel like I was being taken for granted or he didn’t understand me when in actuality, there was no big storm lurking in the background. No explosion about to happen, other than those born out of my paranoia and insecurities. I imagined them there.
What helped more was patience, self-restraint. Like, really thinking about something that upset or angered me, thinking of why it made me feel that way and then how to address it in a way that was not going to blow everything out of proportion; how can there be less hurt for the both of us as we work through the issue. Emotions tend to do crazy things to you but it’s much harder to fix something that is broken rather than cracked. So basically, no need to break something unnecessarily.
Less shouting and a whole lot more of talking is better but this was something we had to consistently work on. (Sorry, there ain’t no fairy godmother with a magical wand haha! Also, Cupid has other things to do too…).
Not withstanding how some people react when you say you are satisfied with your relationship. The onslaught of comments “Oh, really?” “Well, whatever makes you happy” “Whatever works for you, I don’t think it’d work for me.” as they eye-ball you with that condescending look. I think you know the look. All because you do not adhere to their “couple standards”. I wonder if these people know the impact of their words and actions, that the very things they say and do actually do lead to some couples fighting over nothing at all.
At the risk of sounding like one of those articles, I’d like to champion the view that your relationship with your other half should always be your own. Hear others out, consider the feedback, improve your relationship by all means but do not let some article or someone else be the sole pillar in the relationship. For one, you owe it to you and your partner to have faith in how you both co-exist, to look out and guide each other. To just love each other.
Give and take, do not just take yet think you are always coming up short. It may just be all in your head.