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COLUMN: Millennial 'relationship goals' that lead to broken hearts


girlmug

The filtered Instagram pictures of happy couples smiling and doing adorable things are never-ending. While it fits in with the world’s idea of perfection, what it doesn’t allow us to see is the day-to-day realities of a long standing relationship.

Only the happiest of moments are shared to the world. It’s all quite superficial, isn’t it?

Artificial romantics on social media have created an impossible ideal for relationships built around the sweetness and intensity of the honeymoon phase. This state where obsession and infatuation leaves little room for rationality when looking at the sum total of your relationship.

The honeymoon phase is not meant to last, so let’s stop promoting it as everlasting love.

When we become infatuated with a person, our brains are constantly awash in dopamine, and cortisol for women. This period is not just enjoyable, it can also be highly stressful on the mind and body. Eventually our bodies can’t keep up, causing the beloved honeymoon phase to inevitably end.

If we base our entire conception of true love around a chemistry experiment destined to end, what do we do once it’s over?

In my experience, that’s where things fall apart.

Let’s start with stupid fights caused by nothing, which are never truly about the little things. They’re signs that the fantasy is cracking and we want a way out — whether we consciously know it or not.

It’s taken four relationships all ending the same way for me and others to finally figure this out.

While we’re so busy obsessing over our picture perfect romance, we don’t bother to look deeper and learn about the person we’re supposedly madly in love with.

Once the clouds clear, we’re left with the reality of the person we’re actually with. We hate to admit it, because we’re picky, often shallow, and all terrified of settling down.

Realizing these factors lead up to that first big fight — a crash of emotions running high comparable to nuclear couple’s warfare.

Somewhere between our need for repeated instant gratification and our desire to be wanted, we’ve mistaken dopamine and lust for love and security. The only result is a broken heart.

Getting to know someone is a process. It’s worth it to pay attention to the person deemed worthy of your heart, instead of daydreaming about who you want them to be.

If finding happily ever after was effortless, there would be no need for long nights of sappy romance movies and empty bottles of cheap alcohol, or listening to that one song on repeat for days trying to forget all the happy memories.

Maybe it’s time to stop posting and sharing other peoples “relationship goals” and go out and define what those words and experiences mean for ourselves.

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