In the same way that social media paints an idealistic, watercolour version of what being fit and sub-15% BF looks like, I think it does the same thing with relationships. Being with somebody long-term and living with them isn’t all candle-lit dinners, kissing mirror selfies and unwavering devotion. I haven’t been blessed by a perfect, Disney-movie relationship where everything is understood and our souls are enchantingly intertwined.
My relationship is thick with misunderstanding. It involves pain and regret over things said in the heat of the moment. There’s anger and fire and just getting pissed off because the lid of the toothpaste was left off for the 17th time.
After three and a bit years it’s not always pure passion. Sometimes there’s no intimacy because you’re either tired, or distracted or you just can’t connect. Sometimes it’s wondering whether after all the ups and downs maybe you both need some space. It’s falling asleep without saying goodnight or simply irritating each other without even trying.
It’s being tired, it’s swallowing pride and meeting halfway, it’s trying to be understanding even when you don’t agree, it’s realising that non-negotiables are important but nit-picking is entirely unnecessary. It’s always wanting the best for him. It’s being amazed that you could care about somebody else’s happiness and wellbeing as much as you care about your own.
These relationships aren’t just comfort and support and ILYSM Insta-captions– there’s also feeling vulnerable as all hell and investing your most valuable possession, time, in something that could shatter and disappear in a single moment. It’s wondering if your devotion will be for nothing and contemplating, subconsciously, the horrible pain that will be inflicted if the two of you decide this just isn’t it.
It isn’t looking at each other and seeing perfection. It’s seeing every fault, every shortcoming, every idiosyncrasy, every dark part and accepting it. Loving it. Embracing every twisted bit of their being.
Despite #couplegoals, the reality involves slammed doors and raised voices. It’s feeling like I don’t like you very much right now. It’s needing to go for a walk.
It’s feeling at home in their arms. It’s feeling like you’ve fallen apart only to realise they know exactly how to put you back together. It’s having somebody who can fix it. It’s feeling scared and confused and working it out together because despite it all you’re both learning how to love.
Relationships aren’t what you see on black and white Tumblr quotes, they aren’t embodied by Instagram romance memoirs to significant others, they aren’t the same for everyone, there are no standards.
This commitment is beautiful and fractured and painful and scary and unpredictable. It has the power to obliterate everything and the power to consume you and teach you what happiness is.
It’s this tangled, intricate mess that makes it worth it. The beauty isn’t in the perfect idea, the beauty is that amongst all the imperfection there’s something hidden there, which words can’t explain that makes life worth living.