Relationship clichés are a dime a dozen. But just because they’re everywhere doesn’t make them true.
by Emily Mary Chin, Carrybeans
Relationships are hard. I mean, yes, relationships are beautiful and fulfilling and life-changing and all that good stuff, yes. But on top of all of that, relationships are really hard. And sometimes, it’s easier to fall back on relationship clichés than to rely on our own good sense.
Here are a few relationship clichés that have withstood time longer than the relationships that were built on them!
‘Twas the cliché to end all clichés. Arguably the most widely used relationship cliché in pop culture, it has become a staple in romantic comedies. If sparks don’t fly amidst two eyes meeting across a crowded room, rom coms wouldn’t have a place to start. But what makes for a good plot device doesn’t necessarily make for healthy relationship dynamics.
The thing to understand about why this cliché does not work in real life, is that it is completely derived out of physical attraction. A survey showed that people were nine times more likely to experience love at first sight with a person who was physically attractive, as opposed to someone who was less so. But as anyone who’s been in a relationship should know, love is about way more than just physical attraction.
In fact, Psychology Today even suggests that being too physically attracted to someone from the get go may actually be a bad thing. This is because physical or sexual attraction triggers an over-idealisation of the person in question. When you believe that you have just experienced love at first sight, it distorts your perception into believing that meeting this person is supposed to be a life-altering experience. You start getting it in your head that you’re about to enter a whole new world, that you’ve just found what you knew was missing from your life all this while. Just from initial eye contact, you’ve already convinced yourself that this random person will somehow complete you.
Which brings me to the next cliché…
We all melted along with Reneé Zellweger when Tom Cruise pulled the line out at the end of Jerry Maguire. We’ve all spent time wondering when we’d find the other half to our whole, when we’d find the one to make our lives complete. The problem with that, however, is that we forget we’re meant to complete ourselves.
Multiple sources on the subject have expounded on how intrinsically dysfunctional it is to feel like you need someone to complete you. When a person gets caught in that mindset, they fall prey to the false idea that they need to wait before their life can start. Instead of focusing on self development, they instead grow complacent. They start convincing themselves that they will start to feel more fulfilled once their other half finally shows up.
The thing about relationships, however, is that they amplify. If you are an insecure person when single, that insecurity will be amplified in a relationship, regardless of how much you think that person ‘completes’ you. If you are lacking in personal fulfillment, the relationship will only serve to amplify just how little you value your own life.
Because as much as we want to believe it sometimes, no one person can make your problems go away. Such as with the next cliché…
I’m 25 and I’ve been in a number of relationships by this point. I can honestly say that I have never been in a relationship that I could call easy. But this wasn’t because I hadn’t found The One.
First off, the idea of there being The One for everyone is an extremely narrow-minded idea. The truth is, you may meet multiple Ones in your lifetime. Compatibility is an ever-changing thing and you may have already met a number of people who you had the potential of spending your life with. However, just because you’re compatible doesn’t mean you’re emotionally ready for the relationship it brings.
To be honest, I’ve dated some incredible guys in my lifetime. To be even more honest, I could have ended up with any one of them. But to be even more uncomfortably honest, the person I was within each of those relationships was not capable of maintaining them in a healthy and functioning way.
When things aren’t working out the way you want them to, it’s so tempting to blame the person you’re with. It’s tempting to believe that there will be one person that comes along one day that will make everything easy. But here’s the thing: relationships are hard work. No one has ever built a lasting commitment without having to put in that work. If we keep looking out for something easier, we may miss out on something real.
Clichés are clichés for a reason. There is some truth to them. Sometimes, love does happen at first sight. Sometimes, a person really can complete your life. And sometimes, a person can make your life infinite times easier. But this should never be an excuse to get complacent.
General rule of thumb when it comes to clichés: if you find yourself waiting around for them to happen, it may be time for you to just live your life instead.
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