Whenever I say “it was better before”, I am told I’m wrong, I’m told our parents and grandparents had as much trouble if not more in their marital relationships as we have today, and that saying that modern relationships are falling apart way too easily is an overstatement. That’s because I’m using the wrong word, what I meant was “it was different before”. Relationships these days : why modern relationships are falling apart so easily today.
Relationships these days : why modern relationships are falling apart so easily today
I hear everywhere that romanticism is dead. Maybe, maybe not… Romanticism still lives in those who pay attention to it, in those to whom it’s important and who nurture it. Being romantic is a question of will. Sure, a lot of headlines go “Viva Celibacy” “Why did love die?” “Why be in a couple when you can be alone?”. Yes, OK, fine, you can be a happy singleton, amazing isn’t it? So? Does it mean you’re not allowed to be in a couple?
Today, at the very hint of a problem, the whole thing falls apart. Well yes, when you’re in a couple, the honeymoon phase doesn’t last forever, nor does any other extreme regarding love, passion, between pillows I love you whisperings and day-long sessions of love making. Love and being in a couple, I admit, also means trouble, criticism, disagreements, incomprehension, lies sometimes, having good intentions and failing miserably.
Today, you find love like you buy a couch on eBay, you check boxes that make profiles supposed to reflect your tastes appear.
Actually, it’s even simpler : you don’t even check anything anymore, you simply scroll down a catalogue. As if a man or a woman could be judged using a picture, as if voice, body language, charisma, smile, skin, scent, where unimportant.
Today, being romantic sounds like being a sad yet sensible and kind douchebag. It’s the swear word of the century! “Hang on a minute, I’m not a romantic, come say it to my face you SOB!”
In a couple/single : same war
Yes, you could spend your entire life staying with someone for only one or two years and then dumping him/her, starting again and repeating the patern. Because even if you don’t encounter the same problems every time, each relationship comes with it’s share of trouble. And so some people (more and more in my opinion) decide to go hunting, to be single in order to womanize and never settle down. Until the day they realize that they are quite alone and haven’t build true love around them : the bros are having kids, you can’t see them as much as you want to, one night stands have lost their edge, your pick up lines are getting old and boredom kicks in.
There are also those, on the other hand, who promptly form a couple. And that’s pretty much that. They are reassured and can show that “you see, I’m balanced right?”. They sink within a couple they don’t feel, but since they don’t know what’s waiting for them outside, they might as well stay in. The couch isn’t that bad!
And there are those who are very happy in their couple, who have accepted compromise and can live with their flaws.
I’m digressing, but what I wanted to say was that being in a couple or being single is the same thing, there will always be moments of doubt and moments of paramount happiness.
Of course, it would be incredible to stay 25 years with the same person and to want him/her and his/her body everyday, yes it would be incredible to never fight, for everything to be more passionate and spicy, but WHEN YOU HAVE SOMETHING, THE DESIRE GOES AWAY. You may try as much as you can to rekindle the flame of seduction, it can’t always be like that everyday! SO WHAT!!??
I still think relationships are different today, if only by the unbelievable amount of choice we are given! How could we commit to Henry? When Jim, Max, Fred, Peter, David, Vincent and Franck are sending signals on Tinder? Not to mention John, Dan, Tim, Simon and Ted on Happn. Or Harry, Rob, Ben and Anthony on Adopt. Or…
You finally find the perfect guy or girl, you feel good, great actually, you’re happy. And then you fight, a little, a lot, too much. So you plug in your iPhone, reinstall the apps and start thinking “did I make the right choice?” “am I not missing something?” “won’t I regret it later?” “Emily is blond, I also like redheads, why did I choose a blond?” “why must I choose? I’m free and I have thousands of opportunities!” “am I doing the right thing by committing to her? I mean, I hate it when she complains about the laundry.” “will I be happy with him, he’s great but he’s always cranky”.
They say the grass is always greener on the other side, but it’s not. Because the other is nothing more than an image, a possibility, something new.
I’ve helped a number of people and one situation came up several times : a woman (or a man) in love with two people at the same time. Her life partner who brings her balance and stability, and the other who rocks her world. And then one day she decides to choose. Almost invariably, she decides to choose “the other”, and starts regretting it during the following months. Because what she loves, once again, is the challenge, the novelty and of course, breaking the rules, despite the guilt. And what happens once she’s lost the love of her life over a piece of candy? Annihilation, regret and the impossibility of going back.
We wrongly believe that having a choice is a good thing when it’s in fact killing us. You start doubting the choices you have already made and send your convictions down the drain at the first fear of missing an opportunity. And you end up being unhappy.
And then you have social media, Facebook, Twitter, Insta, Snapchat. And so you compare, you spy, you say “have you seen how happy dude and dudette are, oh my! I wish we were as happy as they are”.
Because when you find the right one, when you find THE right person with whom you feel good, it’s still not enough. For one thing, you know James or Matt are still options on every dating site impatiently waiting for you. And for an other, welcome to the couple breakers and privacy displayers : the social media.
You look at Mimi and Didi’s holidays on their paradise of an island and start drooling from a romanticism overdose. But Mimi and Didi don’t brag about their fights before leaving while packing their suitcases. Mimi and Didi don’t use Facebook to show off their tears, broken plates and the yells that echo through their apartment. No, Mimi and Didi only post pretty pictures showing a happy, perfect, fake couple.
And because of that, Todo and Caro wonder if they are really meant to be together, because I mean, Mimi and Didi are so in love and we’re not you know. So Todo and Caro decide to start a rivalry by posting a photo of them at a concert, because we also do stuff together, see?
Not to mention the other social networks, such as Instagram, where everybody posts all their ######### to show the world how happy they are.
It may sound like a caricature, but everybody kind of does that and it literally eats away at life. You compare and compare and make yourself believe it could be better (or at least as well as) than “them”, without knowing that “they” would like to be “as well” as “us”. All of that without realizing that we’re all on the same boat, and that even when the sea gets rough, we can make it through with our ups and downs, our happiness, our love and our tears.
No, it wasn’t “better” before, it was simply different.
No your couple isn’t perfect, no you aren’t an Instagram picture, and that’s a good thing! You will never be able to be better than the image you’ve built of Snookums and Cuddlybear because that is precisely what it is : an image!
Be happy in a couple or single, be happy for a night or for life. Don’t compare your relationship with that of the others, they are all more or less of an equivalent. There is always a lot of love, of tears, of always, of not okays, of feeling betters, of construction, of passion, of emotion, of incomprehension, of breaking downs, of daily happiness, of fights, but always a lot of love.
It’s all that matters, think of you, not of them!
All of that is a fact, something I have witnessed, and yet I know (even if it may sound like a contradiction) that plenty of us are romantics and that we love, love fully, love completely, unconditionally and with no fear of commitment!