It's Okay to Fail at Relationships

While scrolling through Facebook the other day, I came across a post that asked why younger generations are more likely to divorce and fall in and out of relationships. In contrast to most of our parents and grandparents, there seems to be a lull in young successful couples sticking together until the end. Why do we see ourselves failing at relationships more often than not? 

So often do young people date, breakup, and repeat. For women, slut-shaming is no secret if you date or have dated many people, especially involving sex. Dating around has this societal stigma of being dirty, or it says that someone is simply bad at love. It often makes you feel like you are bound to die alone. Is that the reason for more failed relationships? Is hook-up culture to blame? 

Broken heart Photo by Kelly Sikkema from Unsplash

Instead of seeing our rising generations as young men and women mindlessly searching around, I see it is a love revolution. There is a certain wave of liberation in love that feeds us with the freedom to choose what we want with others. We don’t have to be shamed for breaking up with someone who doesn’t fit, or divorcing a partner after decades. Dating and divorcing does not take away our chances at a long lasting partnership, it gives us new lessons to use later on. Perhaps all the breakups and makeups provide even more opportunities for future success. 

Philosopher Erich Fromm wrote about how love is a process; it is an art form to be practiced and grown with time and effort. He says that most of us do not know how to love, but with more and more practice we can find ourselves mastering love as an art form. If most of us young adults fall in and out of love with many people, learning what works and what does not, I have to believe that it means we are getting better at love, not failing at it. For some people, practicing love can be seen in the form of working through a relationship. But for others, it looks like finding the right person to love requires many attempts of finding ourselves as people and as lovers.

Like Ariana Grande says, “one taught me love, one taught me patience…” It’s true that every pursuit of love is simply practice, not failed attempts. Our generation is allowed to be fearless in the face of love; to go through broken hearts without being shamed. In an old Wizards of Waverly Place episode, Theresa is even seen giving Alex comforting advice about going through tons of broken hearts before you find “the one.” Growing up, I have realized there is no set amount of people to date before meeting the mystery fairytale romance. Love is an art, and experiencing it a lot is what helps me master it. And with Ariana’s albums by my side, I’m no longer scared to say “thank u, next.” 

woman with Photo by Sydney Sims from Unsplash So don’t worry about the stigma. Refrain from forcing a relationship, lingering around your ex, or hiding from romantic opportunities. It may scare you to take the leap, but from what I know, learning how to love is something we should all go through before we meet our match.

Love is supposed to be grown, and that growth comes within ourselves. Falling in and out of love over and over again is what makes us practice this necessary skill. Someday, if you wind up with the one that finally fits, you’ll look back at all the dates and know the journey was needed. Call up that cutie from your chemistry class and take a chance...in the end, it will either leave you in love or with a lesson.