Instead of getting caught up with “Relationship Goals,” young couples need a dose of reality.
By Jessica Peña, University of Texas at San Antonio
It’s pretty safe to say that anyone born after 1989 is familiar with memes.
They’re funny, sarcastic and provide the internet with a steady stream of happiness. However, there’s one in particular that’s a bit too ridiculous—even in the outlandish world of memes.
All of these “relationship goal” memes are getting pretty out of control. They’re leaving a path of wrecked and ruined relationships in their wake—not to mention tons of disappointed, disillusioned and lonely girls crying themselves to sleep at night.
Why are these memes causing so much trouble?
“Relationship goal” memes do nothing but pound completely unrealistic ideas of what relationships and love should be like into peoples’ heads.
Mountains of flowers, giant teddy bears and extravagant surprises are actually rare, special occurrences in real long-term relationships. Those kinds of things don’t happen on the third date or every single month-iversary like these ludicrous memes suggest.
I myself have been with the same person for a number of years and have only had a handful of “relationship goal” meme worthy moments. But that’s part of what makes them so meaningful. How special would something really be if it happened all the time?
Besides taking away from what should be precious times, these memes also have a serious plot hole. The majority of all twenty-somethings don’t even have the kind of cash flow necessary to provide such lavishly romantic events in the first place.
In all honesty, it wouldn’t come as a surprise if it turned out that all these memes were actually set up by jaded people projecting their fantasies onto the rest of the world.
Most importantly, though, the over-the-top romantic gestures always portrayed in these memes are not even close to being the most important part of a serious relationship.
Sure, it’s nice to get some roses or candy now and then, but what good does that do if the person giving them to you is also a liar? Do you really want those super comfy looking cuddles from someone who is abusive? Are crazy expensive gifts really worth much from someone who cheats on you?
These superficial “goals” take away from what should really be valued in a relationship. They’ve got folks out there chasing unrealistic fairytale romances instead of searching for qualities like honesty and loyalty in real people right in front of them.
I’m not saying those kinds of things don’t matter—they do. But not nearly as much as everything else. Plus, it shouldn’t take rose petals in the shape of a heart or 100 tea candles to prove or show love.
Anyone who has been in a long-term, committed relationship can tell you, corny as it may be, that it really is the little things that count.
Having someone who knows your favorite combo at a fast food place, someone who strokes your hair when you don’t feel well, someone who reminds you to wear your seatbelt and be safe—those should be relationship goals. Simple, easy and real.
Personally, I myself have found it a million times more meaningful for someone to show effort and genuine thought than to just go on Pinterest and drop a bunch of money on some fancy display.
And, realistically, no one is ever going to be that sweet all the time. Relationships aren’t all smiles, adventures and cute, gushy text messages.
You’ll argue over stupid things and get on each others’ nerves. You’re going to have to use the bathroom right after them and it won’t be pretty. They’re going to steal the covers and roll over to your side of the bed. No one will ever be perfect.
And that’s okay.
They shouldn’t have to show up at your door with a bouquet for every date. There’s no need to take so much time out of the day to send Nicholas Sparks-worthy text messages on a daily basis. No girl is ever going to look flawless and walk around in sexy clothes 24/7. Neither is it necessary for a guy to put together an entire care package for his girlfriend every single time they get their period.
All those things are nice and sweet, but no one should be held up to such high standards. It’s not fair and they’ll only be set up to fail. And anyone who thinks otherwise is in for a lifetime of disappointment.
It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing situation, either. A good balance is the best anyone can hope for.
That “Get You Someone Who Can Do Both” meme is a little bit more accurate.
Instead of having ridiculous expectations, it’d probably be a lot easier to just realize that humans are just that—human.
Humans are imperfect and make mistakes, but are also completely capable of wonderful displays of affection given the opportunity. Maybe not extravagantly or often, but they’re capable nonetheless.
Another important element that comes into play here is appreciation.
Even if you were to find someone who met your fancy “relationship goals,” the honeymoon wouldn’t last without at least a little appreciation. “Thank you” is two little words that can go a very long way.
Reciprocation is another one that can help a lot as well. Grand gestures and romance doesn’t have to be a one-way street—nor should it be. There always has to be some give and take.
Let them steal your blanket without having to prepare a five course breakfast in the morning, but don’t be too shy to drop a few hints about what you want for your birthday.
Save the flashiness and sappiness for special occasions and birthdays, but try not to make it necessary.
As entertaining and dreamy as they may be, “relationship goal” memes can crawl under a rock and die now. The world will get along just fine with SpongeGar and that creepy little frog on the unicycle.