We need to talk.
When you were but a wee lass of no more than five or six years old, I'm sure your parents told you many little fibs to make their lives that much easier:
"Be a good little girl, or Santa won't give you any presents for Christmas."
"Eat your vegetables, or you won't grow up big and strong like Mommy and Daddy."
"Don't worry, honey! Mommy and Daddy were just wrestling!"
And like a dutiful daughter, you believed them. After all, you were only a child. How were you to know any better?
As you grew older, however, you figured out the truth behind most of these white lies. You realized that, good or bad, presents will generally show up under the tree on Christmas Day as long as you're one of the gentile-folk. That puberty is a crapshoot and vegetables have very little to do with the matter. That, outside of online pornography, nude wrestling isn't commonly practiced.
But if your parents were like mine, they told you some lies that weren't quite so easy figure out. Lies that couldn't be disproved with access to a Google search bar. These included the consolatory...
"That kid might be picking on you now, but it's okay. That just means that he likes you."
"Don't worry. It's perfectly normal for parents to sleep in separate bedrooms every now and then."
and the self-assuring...
"You think we fight a lot? Well I have news for you: All parents fight as much as we do."
Maybe your parents told you the same falsehoods as mine. And maybe you, like me, grew up with a fairly skewed notion of what constitutes a healthy relationship.
It would be easy to blame your troubles on dear old Mom and Dad (and in this age of therapy and tell-all memoirs, it's generally the most popular thing to do). Whatever the reason, the fact of the matter is that your idea of a functional romance is glaringly askew. You're oblivious to your biggest problem, blind to the truth that is staring right back at you every time you open your laptop and gaze adoringly at your desktop background: You and your boyfriend are completely wrong for each other.
Now, I understand that you might not agree. But before you launch a rebuttal that quickly devolves into shrill accusations about how badly I want attention, just take a moment to ask yourself a few important questions.
Are you doing all the work?
Like most other extracurricular activities, relationships take a fair amount of effort. You have to coordinate schedules to make time to see each other, keep in frequent contact so you know if you have free time to hang out, get your roommate out of the picture for a couple hours so that you two can work on your wrestling technique, etc.
For a busy college student like yourself it can sometimes be exhausting, which is why it's best if you share the load.
He should be putting in about as much effort as you to make sure your relationship succeeds. So you've got to ask yourself: is he?
If you haven't seen each other all day, are you always the one to send the first text message? If you're worried you won't have time to see each other, is it you who is frustratedly rearranging her calendar to work around his schedule? Do you have to trek across campus because wrestling practice is always in his room?
If the answer is yes to all three of these questions, it could mean one of two things. 1) His cell plan isn't very good, you're a very organized individual, and your conservative roommate doesn't approve of premarital wrestling, or 2) He doesn't care as much about your relationship as you do.
If you're not sure which is the case, maybe you should take a look at his monthly bill from Verizon.
Do the bad times outnumber the good?
It might be the naive optimist inside of me, but I've always been under the impression that a relationship is meant to be enjoyable. That two people choose to be together because they make each other happy, and stay together because they'd lose that happiness if they were apart. Well, either that or there's a solid prenup that would leave one of them broke in case of divorce.
Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong so far.
Assuming that this is the case, that the driving motivation for one in a relationship is the pursuit of united bliss, then there are certain behaviors that I really can't quite understand.
For example, if you spend more time lamenting your relationship troubles to your friends than enjoying time with your boyfriend, why continue that relationship? Or why would you stay in a relationship if you have to walk on eggshells around your man to make sure that nothing you say or do will put him in a bad mood?
Unless you're a fan of horror films, the constant fear that something will go wrong is not part of a fun time. And if you can't relax enough in your relationship to appreciate the time you two spend together, you might have a problem.
What do your friends think of him?
Like pet dogs and Haley Joel Osment, your friends have a sixth sense about people, specifically the men you date. They can tell when your man might be cheating on you, when you're being naive about a boy's intentions, or simply when a guy might not be the right fit for you.
It might be intuition - or it might just be an objective view of the situation from an outsider's perspective - but if your friends all have an uneasy feeling about your relationship, you and your boyfriend might not be the best match.
Does this mean that you should immediately end any relationship that your friends don't approve of? Of course not. If Mean Girls taught us anything it's that your friends might not always have your best interests at heart. Also that home-schooled kids very easily give in to peer pressure and, in lieu of Doppler Radar, mammary glands are a useful means of predicting weather patterns.
Still, if the room gets eerily silent when you ask your friends what they think of your boyfriend, your relationship might warrant a little scrutiny.
I know it's hard to end a relationship that you've put so much time and effort into. You might feel like you've failed, like you didn't work hard enough to make things work.
But despite what you might think, a romance shouldn't always be a struggle. Relationships are work, but they should also be fun. Love need not feel like a battlefield. Pat Benatar and Jordin Sparks only said that to sell records.
If you took those words as gospel, you might as well believe that "Mazel Tov" is normally shouted at parties and a club is an acceptable setting to make love in.