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Opinion: Long-Term Relationships Are Unrealistic – It’s Time We Accepted This

Article By Edikan Umoh

~ MARCH 2022 ~


Every time I start a new friendship or relationship, my brain automatically starts flirting with the idea of a forever relationship with this person.


It’s like my mind has been conditioned by the presence of parasocial relationships to skip to the deep part of the relationship, excluding the fact that it might not work out.

Social media shows us the highlight reels of long term relationships and normally we start to crave what we really don’t understand. These highlights don’t show the sacrifice, pain, compromise and even discomfort it takes to build this kind of relationship.

These same highlights also do not portray the depth of these relationships. We assume the depth from the portrayals online, but it can never be what we think it is.

We idolize friend groups and friendships after watching a few edits, videos or sometimes a few of their deep conversations. We see two people have been friends for a long period of time and we assume that that’s what we want. And maybe that is what we want. But we need to take these portrayals with a grain of salt.

Social media and the development of parasocial relationships has made us derive our relationship aspirations from online personalities and influencers. And that isn’t even a bad thing. We just need to control its level of influence.

Keeping in my mind that social media indeed influences our wants, we have to note the nuance of relationships, and maybe what we widely perceive isn’t the truth of the matter.

Although the idea of focusing on having an instant long term relationship is appealing, a better substitution would be falling in love with the journey. People, in general, are intriguing and someone giving you the opportunity to get to know them is a win.

I understand the allure of everlasting relationships, but memories and the stories you’ll get to tell can also be a motivator in developing them. The journey is sexy and it should be treated as such.

Moreover, the allure of short term relationships isn’t discussed enough. I know finality looks terrifying, but I think that’s because it’s always negatively connoted, especially with relationships. But short term relationships have something I like, simplicity.

It’s like a summer fling; perfect for memories, consisting of the best vibes and good for showing us the possibilities in our future. Short term relationships help us focus on the joy of being in relationships. Sometimes goals and intentionality are overrated. Sometimes you just want to be.

I’ve had to develop this viewpoint of relationships recently because of several contributing factors. I don’t exactly know what kind of attachment style I have but I know it’s not healthy if I mentally jump to the final stage of the relationship; the part where all the deep bonds have been formed without a true idea of who the person is.

Photo by Tove Liu from Pexels

I don’t live in the moment, but instead, place a lot of high hopes on that person, and get attached to their potential. But failing to understand the screening and observation part in developing relationships results in building friendships that have a certain level of delusion in them. I might be imprinting the kind of relationship I desire on that person without taking into account what they want and the reality of the situation.

My abandonment issues also come into play here. I’ve lost track of how many of my relationships have ended, and they hurt 10 times more than if I had approached them differently. My abandonment issues have also conditioned my mind to jump to the best possible scenario, a forever relationship.

However, I’m gradually adjusting this best possible scenario to just being in the moment and the presence of the relationship with the likelihood of it ending abruptly.

I know this isn’t the rosiest way to view things but accepting that maybe all my relationships might end has helped me go into them with more wonder and joy, instead of anxiety and fear.

A version of this article originally appeared here on independent.co.uk

Source
independent.co.uk
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