Some Nightmares You Need to Avoid

The caption “couple goals” has been viral on Instagram for a while, but what is on people’s minds? If you are in a successful romantic relationship and reading this piece at the moment, don’t go nuts. I don’t mean to destroy anyone’s fantasy about having a sweet partner. I am just obliged to pinpoint the miseries I have seen in life, so my dearest friends can save themselves from falling into tragedies. 

On the first date, you dress up from head to toe. You reserve a table at an exquisite restaurant. You paint yourself as a charming, smart lady. You also see it in him. His attractive personality really catches your eye. But as time goes by, people change. You might sometimes not be totally honest. You become unpredictable. You may go wild, and you become strangers in social situations. You have developed a system of changing faces when meeting different people. It has been exhausting to try to keep being a flawless girlfriend. You are afraid of comparisons and a broken image. 

You are not who you were. Yet, there will always be an unsatisfactory part. Arguments, fights, and complaints still occur in the relationship. Even worse, you always have to carry around the heavy load of perfection after you've initiated it. 

The expectations are set for the beginning of an ideal relationship. Imagine cooking for a long night and hosting a candlelit dinner. You are predicting his behavior and directing yourself on how to engage in the scenario. You think about how you act. You are so thrilled to share this special moment with him, so you have all the surface level emotions. When he shows his gratitude, you convince yourself that it really works.

Or on the other hand, if you hold negative attitudes at the very start, the relationship might not last very long. So you slack off with little contribution. You don’t have the initiative to put much effort in it because you assume it is not worth it at the end. 

The beliefs you convey impact the response on both sides. Presumably, you do what you are looking forward to. That being approved reinforces your initial ideas about yourselves. You simply take the results without seeing the whole process, and it is hard to determine authenticity if we are already filtering the picture. 

We can’t resist these human innate reactions. More than ensuring fundamental survival, we desire proximity and attachment. Babies need to satisfy their hunger, thirst, etc., whereas adults in relationships long for company, love, and mutual dependence. Yet, the pursuit sometimes ends up falling into toxic demands or an infant-caregiver pattern.

If you happen to learn about your partner’s family background, the situation can be better understood. He could constrain himself with anxiety and suspicion every time his wants are not fulfilled or attention is given to someone else. If he overhears his girlfriend on the phone speaking in a nice tone to male friend, there is a fight. And he might be too clingy to let her go for some alone time. He would even come after her for a doubtful text. He puts her life on pause and cuts off all the "threatening" social pathways. This friend of mine is likely to develop his paranoid cognitive process. The mystery behind this is that he grew up in a negative family climate, with a lack of parental caring and love. 

But this couple is still together. How come? People stay in relationships for many reasons. It could come down to having a sex buddy or friend with benefits. Otherwise, there is an emotional connection. The thing is, affection and habitual routines are sometimes hard to tell apart. If you have lived with another person for a long time, so long that you are used to the fact that they are by your side every day, how could you get rid of them right away? It’s such a common reason why people sustain unsatisfactory relationships. 

As mature adults, we need to try to manage the things under our control. There are many alternative relationships that are much better than the worst-case scenario, so it's worth a try. I wish all the lovers could finally become a family.