How often do you watch a film where the guy goes above and beyond to win over the girl?
I’m talking Pretty Woman (1990), where Edward leaps from his limousine’s and rescues Vivian, and 10 things I Hate About You (1999), where Patrick sings to Kat in order to win her back. Oh, and I’m also talking about EVERY Disney film that was ever made. Maybe you’re not much a film person, but books are the same; Jayne Eyre, The Fault in Our Stars, The Notebook.
Even if you’re not a film watcher or reader, you don’t have to look much further than Instagram to see your mates perfect couple photos plastered all over your news feed. Oh, and of course we can’t go without giving songs mention – we all know Taylor Swift’s ‘Love Story’. It’s no wonder, then, that hugely unrealistic relationship expectations have manifested in our society. But how do we manage this and, more importantly, how can we eradicate the expectation that every man will be your Prince Charming and every girl will the perfect Princess?
Perhaps your partner has never turned up unexpectedly at your door with cue cards saying “to me, you are perfect”, but realistically who does that?
Well here’s the good news, you don’t need to stop watching films or throw all your books out. You don’t need to delete all your social media (although, I do think this is probably the biggest culprit when it comes to promoting fake happiness and security within a relationship; we all know films and books are, at the end of the day, just fictional, right?) Instead, what you really need to do is put your own relationship into perspective. Perhaps your partner has never turned up unexpectedly at your door with cue cards saying “to me, you are perfect”, but realistically who does that? By being in a relationship you’re effectively saying you both think the other is perfect and if you’re happy with that person, that should be enough.
That being said, not every relationship will be smooth going. Arguments are healthy, believe it or not, because it means you both get the chance to say when one is unhappy with something the other has done (if you never argued it would likely mean you’re both suppressing elements of your relationship that bother you). If you argue it also means you’re comfortable talking about issues, if you don’t do this you risk being walked all over. Of course constant arguing is unhealthy, and if this is the case you may need to rethink whether you are truly happy with this person, but the odd spat is perfectly normal.
Unfortunately, media injects society with projections of exciting fast paced relationships, cute couples that do huge gestures for each other, and exciting arguments which end up with partners making up after a feisty fight. In reality, relationships rarely have so much excitement or drama. We also need to take pressure off heterosexual men in relationships, because films and social media paint out the perfect boyfriends to be constantly doting on their girlfriends, but in reality that would be pretty intense. The best relationships are those where both partners put in an effort to see each other and make the other happy.
So here’s the bad news, you’ll probably never find yourself in a Rapunzel like relationship. But, if you lower your expectations and remember that those people posting images of their perfect relationship probably have their fair share of problems, then you’ll almost definitely find yourself more content. Prince Charming has always been a little overrated anyway …