Relationships Are Hard (And Anyone Who Tells You Otherwise Is Lying To You)

Fairytales aren’t real.

We are sold this idea that one day we will just magically fall in love, all will be easy, and we can start the next chapter of our lives. And the early stages of a relationship can sometimes feel fairytale-esque. But life is hard, and messy, and complicated. Almost no one has this fairytale feeling throughout a whole relationship, and I am pretty sure anyone who says they do is just hiding the bad parts from their friends, which is honestly really easy to do. Some people might not even be doing it intentionally. I can’t even count the number of times I responded “Good!” when someone would ask me how things were with an ex and I just because I knew it was a polite question and I didn’t feel like getting into how things really were, and for the most part the good did outweigh the bad so “good” didn’t feel like a lie. I have had friends take this to an even further extreme, especially in a world where so many friendships are long-distance; I have had friends extol their relationships to no end via texting, only to find out once we were able to catch up in person how many challenges they were actually having.

Chemistry only gets you so far without work.

Chemistry is really important. The elusive “spark” and how much it matters in early stages of dating is a much-debated topic on Twitter, but I personally think it’s really important. I go on dates with people who are very nice but I just feel NOTHING for, and I don’t think it’s fair to waste their time on further dates. I also go on dates with people who I feel like mayybeeee with another date or two I could feel the spark, so I give them a bit more time. Sometimes stuff like this can blossom into great relationships and that’s awesome. Once in a blue moon, you are hit with the spark right away, and that is even better. But regardless of when you feel it, it is important to feel eventually. And if you don’t ever feel it, it’s not a good sign. If you don’t know what it is, you’ve never felt it.

Relationships are a CHOICE that we make every day.

All of those things I just listed? All the things that are so much work? We choose to do it. We choose to do it because we love someone, because we feel our lives are better with them than without them. We choose it because we make a commitment, and because we want to walk through life with this other person. But it is a choice nonetheless. There are times you want to leave. So many people do leave, or all relationships that start out well would last forever. A high number of relationships that end probably could have been fixed with the right amount of effort, communication, and potentially professional counseling. Likewise, a high number of relationships that are still going could have ended a million times and it would have been totally reasonable and understandable for them to end. We choose to put in the work, and sadly sometimes we are willing to work when the other person is not. Conversely, sometimes we reach our breaking point and the other person wants to keep working but we just can’t do it any longer. But this idea that long term relationships are just cozying up on the couch after a nice dinner that someone cooked and talking about our day and then having sex and going to bed, and then waking up the next morning to fresh breakfast and loving snuggles is just not real. Sure, some days are like that. But many days are not. Most days are not. And you choose to get through the regular days because those great days mean that much to you.

Your free time isn’t really yours anymore.

When you are in a relationship, your free time no longer solely belongs to you. You have another person to take into account and it involves so much compromise. You have to do things with their family, their friends. And when you love someone, you are willing to do this, but no one ever really talks about the amount of personal sacrifice that goes into a relationship. No matter how independent you are, no matter how many of your own activities and your own friends you have (and you should have many of both of those things — they make you a better person and a better partner), and no matter how much time you spend doing your own thing separately from your partner (and it should be a fair amount of time), a relationship still requires a TON of compromise and sacrifice and doing things you otherwise would not be doing.

Ultimately, a relationship isn’t going to fix you

(and a baby isn’t going to fix a relationship)

Whatever issues you have going on in your life, a relationship will not solve them. It might make them worse. Whatever issues you have going on in your relationship, a baby will not solve them. It will probably make them worse. This isn’t to say that you should try to make yourself perfect before dating — no one is perfect. And it’s not to say you should wait for the perfect “right” time to have a baby, because no time is ever “right” for such a major life change. But we get it in our heads that these major life changes will somehow drastically improve our lives and that is just not true. We can not truly be happy in a relationship without first being happy with ourselves. Relationships are so hard and so much work, and in order to make the work worth it, we need to not only be so fully and completely in love with a person, we also need to be fully and completely in love with ourselves. We need to have convictions, but we also need to know when to fight for something and when to compromise. We need to know when to have an all-out brawl and when to just shut up and silently roll our eyes and let something go. We need to have the type of emotional intelligence that can only come from being fully sure of ourselves.

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Sarah

Sarah

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Lover of dogs, food, coffee, bourbon, and exploring new places.