Relationships Shouldn’t Always Be Rainbows and Sunshine

Fairy tales, rainbows, and sunshine—these are all universally loved and romanticized, but they are not everything in life. The general public seems to have an unrealistic idealization of relationships, where conflict is shunned and confrontation is taboo. Social media platforms—Instagram, YouTube, Twitter—and television portray only the good, sweet, and picture-perfect dynamics of relationships. Although transparency and realistic portrayals are increasing in the media, it seems that people still expect that, when they find the one, they will ride off into the glorious sunset and live happily ever after. Yet, fairy tales hardly, if ever, reflect reality. A relationship with arguments and disagreements is not unhealthy or bad. Rather, (healthy) disputations and discord are not only normal, but often times nourishing and beneficial.​Image via Giphy

The human condition entails that there are no two people who are exactly the same. Even identical twins, with identical biologies, don’t have identical mindsets or personalities or thoughts. If even people with identical DNAs are not the same, how can anyone expect a relationship to ever glide smoothly off into the sunset without controversy? A relationship that has a zero disagreement tally may really just be burying deep, underlying issues. If two people fear dissensus so deeply that they prioritize “happiness” and fairy tales over honesty and integrity, they may be sacrificing their individuality to enhance their relational identity. Two partners who agree on everything may be silencing their own voice to promote Candy Land ideals, and even though there may be no arguments, suppression does not signify health. Essentially, a relationship without conflict can be a passive relationship and constant agreement does not equal perfection. ​Image via Giphy

Not only is consensus imperfect, but disagreements can be productive to growth—for both the relationship and the individuals. Disputes and differences enlighten relationships. They allow us to learn more about our significant others and the whole, multidimensional individuals they are, leading to depth and stronger relational roots. We grow and develop an understanding of each other, learning what makes the other tick and, conversely, what makes them happy. Moreover, differences enhance us as individuals. We are able to stay true to ourselves while coexisting in an intimate partnership; we learn how to productively communicate and how to have compassion and empathy. Contrasts and diversities teach us different ways of life, new perspectives, and new ideas, which not only lead to personal growth, but also make the relationship more interesting.  

Image via Giphy

Essentially, it’s necessary to begin to normalize the occasional argument and conflict. Of course, there is a consequential limit between a healthy amount of dispute and a toxic one, but the point is that it is normal and it is okay to fight with your partner. We as a society need to stop idealizing and painting relationships as a picture that must fit certain guidelines. It’s unrealistic to expect a fairytale story for anything in life, particularly when it comes to a significant other. Leave room for growth and throw out some of those starry-eyed expectations, because a little rain can always help the grass grow.