We’re constantly reminded of just how hard relationships are - the roughly 50% divorce rate is enough to demonstrate just how widespread the effects of failed relationships are.
Loving someone isn’t easy. It requires patience, demands vulnerability, and insists upon sacrifice. The laying down and shifting of your desires and priorities as an individual to make space for those of another person. It’s freaking difficult.
And despite this, there’s a common perception - this idea that comes around when things get rough, particularly early on in a relationship - that “it just shouldn’t be this hard”.
Books, movies, and television have created this idea of love as constant infatuation, a never-ending cycle of tickle fights and dance parties. That your partner will always say the right thing, always be there anytime you need them, and be able to anticipate your insecurities and needs.
And if they don’t, well… they’re probably not worth your time.
Anyone who has been in a long-term, healthy relationship knows this is crap.
Now - to clarify - there are times when the statement is appropriate. For example, if it feels draining and exhausting to be around someone - it shouldn’t be that hard. If being physically attracted takes effort - it shouldn’t be that hard.
But if life is throwing you curveballs that you are prepared and willing to walk through with someone - if you are committed to overcoming obstacles in a relationship - not out of obligation, but because you know that someone is worth it... don’t you dare let anyone tell you you’re making a mistake.
I don’t believe in soulmates. I don’t think that there is one person in the universe that you are fated to be with. I actually think that the reality is far more beautiful - you get to choose someone. And they get to choose you.
And when you find someone who brings out the you in you, who you love and like, someone who will drop everything because you need them, who will give you their ticket to an amazing concert and stay home so you can see your favorite band - who will watch stupid tv with you, memorize the freckles on your face and stay up until four o’clock in the morning just to spend more time together - fight for it.
Don’t let it go. Don’t give up on it because of a false expectation that love stories shouldn’t have speed bumps or diversions or even sometimes crashes along the way.
In an ideal world, these things would be simple.
No one would have scars, or be scared, and things would fall into place perfectly.
But we don’t live in an ideal world.
(This is not to condone staying in a toxic or abusive relationship - if someone is in a pattern of hurting you emotionally, mentally, or physically, get out. No question of it.)
We are broken people in a broken world. And when you choose someone, you choose to fight past the brokenness in both of you. To call each other to be more and see beyond the scars and mistakes of the past. And only you and your partner know the quiet spaces - the intimate moments. The tickle fights. The dance parties. The breakdowns. The moments of just holding each other tightly when there’s simply nothing left to say. Only you can determine if this is worth fighting for.
To sum up - Trust your gut. Know your worth. But give yourself permission to feel and to fight for the kind of relationship you want. Don’t allow false expectations to manipulate your decisions and risk losing out on a great love.
- Anika Green