As we all know, the definition of a good relationship varies from person to person. An individual’s upbringing, his principles, cultural influences—all play a role in how a person delineates a good relationship. It is human nature to want someone that accepts one completely and unconditionally. It is therefore important to gain deeper insight into why many people fall out of relationships.
I wanted to provide a more open perspective regarding the topic and so I asked 12 random individuals why it is hard these days to find a lasting and meaningful relationship—
Romantic Comedies: Rom-coms are partly to blame for absurdly unrealistic standards held by many as they get into relationships. Such movies are notoriously guilty of showing a more optimistic perspective when it comes to growing human bonds. They present only the good side of the process and have the tendency to skip parts that seemingly don’t matter. Many people—especially first-timers—get too enticed by the feel-good moments of romantic fiction, also known as the “kilig” factor here in the Philippines.
It points at how we illogically create a standard that defines relationships, and when our friendship doesn’t exactly meet said expectations, we tend to find faults with our partner. We hastily make rash decisions that end up hurting ourselves and our loved ones. We get so obsessed with these standards that we tend to ignore what actually makes us happy and what our partner’s perception of happiness is. One thing rom-com movies fail to show us is that relationships aren’t just about cheesy one liners or charming gestures that make one feel extra special. It takes a lot of time and sacrifice to build love.
As the Maroon 5 song goes: It’s not always rainbows and butterflies. It’s compromise that moves us along. To have a good and lasting relationship, we need open communication, such as the capacity to communicate one’s needs and wants—what is expected of you, and what you expect of your partner. After those are established, we then find the means to meet them half way, to reach a compromise. And yes, sacrifices are part of this process.
Power Play: Another factor that seems to cause mistrust and feelings of bitterness is what people these days think about modern dating. One must be able to establish expectations as one gets to know the other, but in modern times, we equate lack of concern with power in any relationship. If she cares less, she must be calling the shots. It’s power play that greatly employs the law of scarcity where the less available you are, the more power you gain and the more people view you as a person with worth.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that those who follow such absurdities are horrible people. I think they are fragile people—with low self-esteem—who rely on a defense mechanism of coldness to show others how “significant” they are. Thankfully, there are people out there who respect themselves well enough to realize that they have no need to present facades to prove their value.
Social Media: Communication these days means using social media. It’s quite amazing how easy it is to have a quick chat with a person who’s miles away from us. From the outside, it seems to resolve most problems the previous generation dealt with—especially in long-distance relationships—but there are problems innate to social media that affect many friendships. For one, there’s the obvious problem of misunderstanding messages. You could easily misinterpret the tone of a message sent on chat because you can’t see the body language of the person who has sent it. I can’t even begin to count the number of times I appeared snobbish to others because I skipped a smiley or some other appropriate emoticon. Social media may also cause some of our insecurities to come into play. Let’s just scrutinize the label—“in a relationship”—which we find on our profile pages. It sends a powerful social message that we are loved and desired. The tag seems more significant than the actual relationship itself; it has overshadowed reality to the point that people rush to be in a relationship just for the sake of proving to the world that they are worthy of love.
Open communication and trust are indispensable in any relationship. Even if someone strives to keep you happy, and yet you feel nothing for them, pursuing the relationship would be a recipe for a mundane and honestly boring future. It’s about balancing sincere emotion with logical thinking, which is quite a difficult feat to master. It’s the foundation of our relationship that determines how genuine it will be. We need to create deeper bonds with each other to connect meaningfully.
As one of the best professors I had in soil engineering once said, buildings are like relationships—provide a poorly designed foundation and see your structure crumble and fall before your very eyes.
Photo: Sai Shraddha Suresh