This one isn’t going to win me any friends. I realise this, and I’m ok with it. But, ladies and gentlemen, it is time we woke up from this Disney induced fantasy that somewhere out there is the “perfect relationship”, and it’s just waiting for us to come find it. It isn’t.
Don’t get me wrong, deep down I’m a tried and true romantic. I believe that love at first sight can happen. I believe in soul mates. All that hokey BS that we’re spoon fed from the time we can understand Mother Goose, Brothers Grimm, and Disney I’m all for it. However, I don’t believe there is a such thing as a perfect relationship. Even the best relationships have problems.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. Humans are flawed. That means anything we engage in is flawed, even if it’s in the most minuscule way, regardless of how pure our intentions are. So if we go back to 9th grade algebra and accept that A+B=C, then one flawed human in a relationship with another flawed human, no matter how well matched they are, means that the relationship is going to have its problems. This isn’t a death sentence for relationships, and I’m certainly not advocating inter-specie relationships (ick). We just need to accept that nothing is perfect so we can stop striving for perfection and stressing ourselves out.
Let’s look at our favorite fairy tales. Where do they end? Most often on the wedding day. “Princess So-and-So married her beloved Prince Whoever and they lived happily ever after.” Realistically, life doesn’t stop on the wedding day. It doesn’t stop after the honeymoon, or after you have kids. Nor do we stop growing as people after any of these events. But your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life, so what better place to end the story? Why bother looking down the road four years when Princess So-and-So is tired of being cooped up in the castle and Prince Whoever is too busy flirting with the courtiers to notice her misery? And who wants to hear about how irritating of a mother in law Queen Whatsherface is? No. Just end it when everyone but the bad-guys are happy.
Fairy tales and trashy romance novels sell this idea of the perfect relationship. But they don’t exist, and we need to stop pretending they do. Ask anyone who’s been married for 15 or 20 years, marriage is hard. Making it work is even harder. Dealing with two different personalities, who had two different upbringing, and have two different ways of doing things…there’s nothing easy about any of that. Add to that equation that both persons grow and change throughout the relationship. They develop hobbies and interests that don’t always coincide with the other persons. They have friends their other half can’t stand.
But we want perfect. We don’t allow for growth or change. No wiggle room for mistakes to be made. The minute the image of perfect gets the slightest hint of tarnish, that’s it. Towel’s on the mat. Fights over.
If we could get past this, we’d all be a lot happier. And I wouldn’t spend a good portion of my days helping friends (and sometimes near strangers) with their relationship issues. I don’t mean for you to settle with whatever is handed to you. Not at all. Happiness is necessary in any relationship. But happiness can’t be appreciated if there’s nothing to compare it to. However if you’re going to search for happiness in perfection, prepare to be very disappointed.
Everyone has issues and baggage that they drag into their relationships. Some of us heap these things onto our partners (whether they deserve it or not) without consideration of how it affects them. We’re blind to everything except how things affect us. We need to open our collective eyes and see our partners for the flawed humans they are and accept that they will never be anymore perfect than we are (and if you actually believe that you are perfect just as you are, then may I suggest that you live alone, possibly with cats, for the rest of your perfect, miserable life and spare the rest of humanity from having to deal with you).
Flip Cinderella the bird and you’ll find yourself a lot better off for it.