Part of this weird lifestage called “adulthood” is watching and being involved in romantic relationships. Post-college, these things take on a whole new meaning. You start seeing friends move in with their significant others, things start to get more serious, you now understand the meaning of “wedding season”. The whole ordeal is quite a lot to take in. I recently attended the first wedding of a friend (that was my age and not a family friend), and it really put this concept of adult relationships into a new light. The wedding was beautiful and the bride was stunning and I would be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear or two… or ten. So today I am going to take a different look at these adult, post-college, romantic relationships and try to categorize a few trends that I have noticed.
- The Good: This is the ultimate end goal. A healthy relationship with someone who supports you, and excites you, and makes you want to live the rest of your life with them. In my mind, this is the couple whose wedding I recently attended. To be so in love, but also so realistic. You enjoy going on vacation with them, but also coming home to them every night after work. This is the person that you know will stick it out with you through all of the hard times, and make the good times that much brighter. It’s what you picture in your head when you think about your future. The person you want to introduce to your parents, who doesn’t mind humoring your crazy aunt at christmas dinner, but still gives you butterflies when you see them all dressed up in their favorite outfit. The perfect balance of romantic love and companionship love that you hope will last.
- The Bad: This is a tricky one. This is only tricky, because when you are in a relationship, it can make you blind to what is actually happening. You convince yourself that all the little things about your partner that bother you are normal, that you’ll never find better, that you don’t deserve better. You tell yourself that this isn’t an awful relationship… and it’s better than being lonely…so you’ll just stay put. You stop doing what you enjoy, or stop finding joy in the things you used to love. This is a deep, dark hole that is really easy to fall down, especially when you‘re in a hard enough life stage already. It is easy to stay with someone who isn’t right for you, just because the relationship is comfortable and familiar. The fear of the unknown keeps you unhappy. This is the bad. It is the bad for a reason. It doesn’t have to stay bad.
- The Sappy: This is a mirage. The couple who wants so much to qualify for “The Good” category, but could more accurately be classified in “The Bad”. Symptoms include: excessive posts on social media, only hanging out with each other, only talking about each other when hanging out with other people, constantly in communication (do “where are you?” texts sounds familiar?), and being overly critical/always comparing other relationships to their own. This is a rough one, it’s similar to watching those old videos on AFV where the toddler is trying to hit the pinata, but accidentally hits his dad in the head with a bat… the ones where it hurts to watch, but you can’t look away. The sappy text messages that don’t have much context to them. I can be completely wrong, maybe the sappiness works for some people, maybe the overbearingness of this type of relationship is what some people need. As I get older this type of thing doesn’t just happen in Rom Coms when they show relationships that don’t work out. Those scripts are based off of real life, and though we pay to watch it on the big screen, it’s really hard to watch when it’s you or a friend who is part of that drama.
Now, I am the first to admit that I am not the person to be giving relationship advice. I am way too young, have lived too little life, and haven’t had a successful relationship last long enough for me to be qualified for this, but if you’ve read this far, you think I’m at least a little interesting. And to be fair, I think a “good” or healthy relationship looks different for everyone. Each couple’s experience is different and comparing yourself to someone else just makes you stressed out (and yet we will continue to do this anyways). At the end of the day, do what makes you happy. The end goal is to be happy. We all want a partner to be with us in that endeavor for happiness, but hey, live it up while you’re young, we have plenty of time to figure this out.
Good luck out there!