Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Relationship

"What greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined for life - to strengthen each other in all labour, to rest on each other in all sorrow, to minister to each other in all pain, to be one with each other in silent unspeakable memories at the moment of the last parting?"

I've spent the best part of the last couple of months talking to lots of people about their relationships. It sounds like I've begun a career as an agony aunt, but alas I am just researching for a dissertation about the formation of online relationships, and I have lots of very emotional friends gong through lots of changes and transitions in their romantic lives. It's left me thinking a lot about the notion of a relationship: why do we want it so much? Why is it so hard when it breaks down? Why are all those in relationships so fearful of losing them and, most of, those who aren't so determined to be in one (even when they pretend they're not)? 

You see, I am friends with lots of amazing, beautiful and independent women - ones that don't take any shit and don't have aspirations to be housewives. I am also friends with lots of fantastic, committed and thoughtful men. And lots of them seem to be coming to points in their relationships where it's make or break: it's a few years in, it's starting to get 'serious', they're talking about the future, and a decision has got to be made. Is it right? Do they see themselves with this person in the 'long term'? Do they have compatible ambitions, values, aspirations? If not, is it better to get out now, in an attempt to provoke minimal pain/tears/suffering? Scary, huh? It is, and it's really hard. I find it hard to be on the outside of it, let alone in the middle of it - driving it or the victim of it. 

The fear and the tears almost always seems to come down to change. Whether the change is realising that this person, with whom you'd planned a life with (even if it was just in your head) is no longer going to be there, that you're no longer going to have the life you'd imagined and planned; or discovering that ultimately this person, and your life with them, doesn't match your aspirations for yourself and you can't live a lie, or try and make it work, for any longer. It's an upheaval, it's unsettling, it's insecure - for a time, you don't know what to do with yourself apart from get pissed or cry into your coffee, eat everything or nothing at all, or sleep with everything that moves or stay in your own bed, with Netflix forever. It's one of those things that can creep up on you when you least expect it, when you're 22 and not necessarily thinking about co-habitation, marriage or babies - but you're laying in bed one night and you think 'shit, this isn't what I want now...or maybe ever'. You're overcome with guilt, worry, fear - of what should do, how you should do it, how your s.o. with react, and how you're going to get over it. I feel like there's a really common misconception that it's far easier to be the person doing the breaking up, and that's not always the case. Sure you have the power, but you also have the responsibility. 

But what about when you get it right? When you're infinitely happy, and when you're snuggly in bed with your s.o. and talk about the future, your shared future, and all the adventures you plan to go on together; when neither you or they can imagine being with anyone else; and when you agree...on the important things. Then it's great. I'm not saying that it will always be perfect, and there will inevitably be disagreements and arguments and times where you want them to just shut up and get out of your face, but you'll always come out the other - probably better off. You'll probably have lots of worries, doubts, concerns before you get to this point. You'll almost certainly worry about whether they feel the same - sure, they tell you that they love you, but do they love you like you love them? You'll worry about another person coming along, the home-wrecking bitch who will do her best to destroy everything you love. You'll worry when they've had a bad day, because they're a bit quiet, a bit snappy or not quite themselves. But one day, you'll worry less. You'll feel happy, secure, loved. 

So to all my lovely friends and all the people who have kindly helped me with my dissertation: well done for being brave, and doing what's right for you (or coping with what's right for them). If you're not right for them, then they're not right for you. You will feel better, and you will stop binge eating crisps. You will come out of this happier, stronger, and more full of love. You've got to get it wrong to get it right. And when it's right, it will be amazing. X


  1. Hi Laura. I really enjoyed reading this article. Such a powerful, beautiful message. Thanx.

  2. Thanks toxicsweety! I'm glad you enjoyed it :) X


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