**DISCLAIMER: Spoilers about the book Normal People are included in this article!**
This past summer, I read the book Normal People by Sally Rooney. It’s safe to say, I was obsessed. As one who adores a sappy, steamy, yet heartbreaking romance novel, let’s just say the book was completed in three days. Flash-forward months later, to me scrolling through Hulu and *just* finding out that they made the book a TV show?! So, the past few days I’ve been aggressively binging the 12 episodes of the show. However, while I already read the book, there are so many moments where I felt myself rolling my eyes and shaking my head at the plot.
We’ve all heard plenty of “right person, wrong time” stories that pretty much sum up Marianne and Connell’s love story. A lot of people have their own stories about the one person we effortlessly reunite with, or claim we’d “drop everything” for if the timing was right. In the book and show, Connell and Marianne break up, reunite, and lose touch again countless times. And to be completely frank with you, I think every “break up” was completely avoidable. Marianne couldn’t swallow her pride and respond to Connell’s messages after their high school graduation. After their first year of college, Connell literally asked Marianne if they should “see other people” when he in fact did NOT want to do that, and he was only going to be gone for 4 months. And after all they’ve been through with each other, the show literally ends with Marianne practically pushing Connell to go to NYC, but refusing to accept that he wants to be with her when he gets back.
This fictional story sparked a thought that prompted me to write this article. Is there a possibility that we might be responsible for some of our worst heartbreaks? While we are all far from perfect, I believe that we have a key piece in preventing our romantic downfalls.
Think about Connell and Marianne’s love story. They singlehandedly define the dreamy concept of two people loving one another from day one. In my opinion, nothing should have stood in their way. And technically, nothing really did. Somehow, their longstanding “friendship” survived Connell and Marianne’s separate depressions, Marianne moving to Sweden, and more. So, what was their excuse for not staying together?
My point is this. Why don’t we learn to communicate better? Why can’t we swallow our pride when it comes down to the people we love? Yes, these things do take a strong amount of maturity, but they’re not impossible.
If we all learned to stop playing games with one another, said what we felt in the moment and let our guards down, and ultimately became advocates for our own happiness, maybe our romantic endeavors would be better. If you’re saying to yourself, “Yes. This is what I want” why don’t you fight for it?
One thing I did like about this book is how it realistically portrays how relationships are far from perfect. I saw this quote the other day, and it said this: “A true love is knowing all the annoying and difficult things about somebody, but still loving those things about them.” That quote really stuck with me. Fighting is normal. Miscommunication is common. But really loving someone is accepting the person’s faults, and loving those things about them anyways.
Instead of letting small difficulties and challenges completely ruin us, it’s time to let our anxieties run their course, and accept that we may be partially to blame for them. It takes a lot to swallow our pride, push aside our ego, and refrain from escalating issues into arguments. I am so guilty of these things, but ever since I started to realize that a healthy relationship is about maturity from both sides, I’ve seen my romance life flourish. And yours can too.