Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well.
I read a book the other day that had been sitting in my ever growing ‘To Be Read’ pile for a while; it was called Relationships by The School of Life (you can buy it here if you want – affiliate link) and it really got me thinking.
It was quite an odd book, unlike any relationship book I’ve read before, and trust me, I’ve read a lot. There were many parts I don’t think I’ll be adopting into my life anytime soon, but there were some interesting parts too. The general premise of the book was that romanticism, our view that relationships have to be like a movie and full of burning passion and soulmates, are ruining normal relationships; and I can’t help but kind of agree.
At the beginning of most relationships, they’re fun and exciting and the little niggly things like their snoring or collection of rugby trophies from Year 8 are endearing and sweet. Fast forward a year, and you’re whacking them at 4am and telling them to shut the fuck up or sleep on the sofa, and you’re wondering if the rugby trophies could get into an accident that requires them to be binned.
I suppose things like Instagram don’t help; we see a snapshot of relationships that involve loved up couples on romantic getaways in Dubai and The Maldives, amazing proposals and cute family snapshots. You look at your own relationship, one that involves disappointing takeaways, boxsets, tracksuit bottoms and rows about who’s family you’re spending Christmas with, and you can feel almost embarrassed that you don’t appear to have the glamorous relationship all these people you follow seem to.
I don’t need to tell you that even the couples who post all the above have their problems inevitably; everyone has a showreel of their best moments online, and no one really showcases being slumped on the sofa with your other half, at opposite ends, on your phones ignoring each other aside from the occasional grunt when offering each other a Malteaser.
The book I read spoke about people with a Romantic Mindset, who believe in only having one soulmate, and relationships needing to be full of constant, burning passion, non stop sex and declarations of love.
Whilst I like to think of myself as a romantic person, who one day hopes to get married to the ‘love of my life’, I can see the issue with the mindset that a relationship must never change, or it means it’s doomed.
Relationships change; it’s what happens. Especially when children then become involved, which I’ve never experienced, but it’s bound to occur. It’s an inevitability.
I am the queen of doomed relationships, and so my longest relationship stands at 2 years, with an on and off period of 18 months thereafter, so we aren’t talking a massive amount of time, but it was enough for me to see how things change and adapt during that time.
What began as constant date nights, city breaks and sex on tap, turned into quiet nights in, irregular sex and bickering over things like boxers being left on the floor and wet towels on the bed. Some could argue this means we weren’t right for each other, and I definitely agree with that statement trust me, but I also don’t doubt that this would’ve happened with the ‘love of my life’ too.
We are under constant pressure as a society, especially in this digital age, to put forward a life that shows off-the-charts levels of happiness, exotic holidays, a great big sparkling diamond, a wedding to rival that of The Royals and a partner who kisses the very ground we walk on.
You look at the Instagram page of a girl you went to school with, and see her and her boyfriend in a loved up snap at a luxurious villa in Bali looking totally in love. You’re in Primark pyjama bottoms doing the washing up and you’re not on speaking terms with your boyfriend because you had plans to go out for the day but he was too hungover to even move because of the stag do he went on the night before. You think it’s you, and that you just weren’t destined for a life of luxury villas in Bali.
In reality, everyones relationship has it’s up and it’s downs, maybe some more than others, but we all have them. Of course we should aspire to be in a happy relationship with someone we love, care for and respect, who does the same for us; and of course, lovely holidays and romantic gestures are wonderful but they aren’t reality, not all the time anyway. Reality is ready made lasagnes, Netflix documentaries, arguments about who’s turn it is to take the bins out or walk the dog, and mismatched socks. Instagram isn’t real life.
We can incorporate romanticism into our lives and relationships, but at the end of the day, we need to accept normality for what it is, and become accustomed to it. A normal, healthy relationship can be happily boring a lot of the time, because life isn’t a movie, as much as we wish it could be.
All my love BGP xx