Relationships vs. Society

Relationships take a lot of work and maturity to maintain. It’s easy to be fooled by magical princess stories from Disney or Instagram couples who take #goals pictures and post them to their page that relationships are easy to come by and easy to maintain once establish. Society is pushing this warped ideal of relationships through many avenues.

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Whenever I visit family or speak with someone I haven’t spoken to in a while, we always seem to get into this topic. Do I have a boyfriend? Do I like anyone? These questions seem innocent enough, but the frequency at which they’re asked is becoming disturbing. As though I’m expected to be a relationship. When I tell them no, I am not in a relationship, they often proceed to ask if they’re no cute guys around campus? Some even joke about setting me up with someone. This is a common story for many young adults going home for a break or the holidays.

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While it may not seem like an issue, millennials and generation Z alike are under a lot of pressure when it comes to being in romantic relationships. In the age of technology, it’s nearly impossible to go onto social media without seeing photos of “perfect” couples. When we turn on the television, there are a ton of commercials targeting us for dating apps. It’s everywhere. Children are being exposed to it. At such young ages, it highly affects the way they think about their own happiness and their self-esteem.

It’s almost as though we’re pushing an ideal that you can’t be happy when you’re alone and that relationships can fix you if you’re ‘broken’. Around Valentine’s Day, it’s hard to be subjected to entire stores changing their appearances and TV commercials about love every second if you’re not in a relationship. It’s one of the holidays that shows an increased amount of calls to various suicide hotlines.

It shouldn’t be that way. There should be more coverage all around- from family, friends, social media, and businesses-- about self-love and being independent. Finding happiness in yourself and by yourself. Happiness shouldn’t only be found in relationships. It’s okay to be alone.

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