How To Have A Successful Relationship In 2012
Say what you will about dating in 2012 but one thing is for certain: it isn’t for sissies. The inventions of Gmail, texting, Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, OKCupid and Instagram have all helped blur the line between public and private, making it more difficult to maintain a relationship that feels special and uniquely yours. Now you have to ask yourself, “What are the things I want to keep for myself and my significant other, and what are the things I’m willing to share with my 5,000 Facebook friends?” Questions like these are what make you wonder if relationships were ever meant to be broadcasted like this, if we were ever supposed to know so much about something so personal.
And then, of course, there’s the issue of jealousy. Jealousy has been haunting relationships since the invention of human emotions but now it’s been blown up thanks to all of your partner’s information being at your fingertips. You are always one click away from finding out about potential deceit! Betrayal! Infidelity! That’s why in order for anyone to have a successful relationship in 2012, you have to have trust. Trust is paramount to a relationship’s survival. If you don’t have it, if you or your BF/GF are always suspicious of one another, you’re in for some misery. You will spend most of that relationship looking for ways into their iPhone and email, instead of doing what you originally sought out to do which is just, you know, love each other.
If you have a solid foundation of trust, you’re off to a good start. You’re in the running to compete in the Modern Relationship Olympics. What you need to have next is pretty obvious and straightforward. You have to like yourself. I know, I know, it’s pretty cliche, but I can’t write this without including it. It’s especially important to mention the whole “liking yourself” thing when you’re talking about relationships that happen in your twenties because, honestly, it’s hard to like yourself, let alone know who the hell you are, when you’re dating someone at 24. It’s a tumultuous time that’s fraught with change, so if you don’t have a good base of self-esteem and self-respect, the relationship could easily turn #dark. You could end up sacrificing too much of yourself and give up your goals for theirs which, in turn, will make you resent them. Trust me. It’s not good. It’s always a gamble when you meet someone you love early on in your life because typically, this is your time to be selfish. This is your time to move around and do whatever you want without having to answer to anyone. You can pursue the career of your dreams without having to factor in someone else’s decision. That’s why if you do happen to get into a relationship now, you need to have a solid foundation of self. Otherwise, you run the risk of getting too swallowed up in their world.
Trust and self-esteem are great, aren’t they? They are the pillars of any long-lasting relationship. Just ask Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell! But another crucial aspect to any successful relationship is being able to compromise. You’ve been riding the “ME ME ME!” train for a long time and now it’s time to get on the “Me and sometimes you” train. Basically, you have to outgrow your brattiness for the sake of your relationship. Sometimes you have to eat Thai when you really wanted Mexican or watch a few dumb movies you had no intention of ever seeing. Although it can be painful, knowing how to compromise is imperative for any relationship, past, present and future.
I know you want to tell the world how in love you are but please don’t be in a relationship with them on Facebook. Just don’t. Not only is it tacky, it also makes a potential break up that much more public and painful. Your friend from summer camp in 8th grade doesn’t need to see that your relationship is over. People you don’t know or care about don’t need to be sending you heartfelt messages asking you if you’re okay. Just do yourself a favor and keep that offline. We live in The Information Age, which can be a good and bad thing for relationships. Although it’s nice to share photos of the two of you and be affectionate on each other’s Facebook walls, it’s important to keep parts of the relationship sacred. The best moments of any love occur offline so focus on cultivating those rather than maintaining your online presence.
Whether we like it or not, we love each other in a digital age now. Our temptation to play mind games, enforce deal breakers, and have an overall lack of trust is stronger than ever. However, it’s best to keep those temptations at bay. On the surface, relationships might seem a little different than they were in the 70s or 80s, but at their core they’re still the same. They’re unchanged by time. Maintaining a successful relationship is always going to require some effort, regardless of the decade, but as long as there is a foundation of mutual respect and trust, something like a curt text message (okay.) won’t be enough to derail it.
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Even as I write this now I am debating whether or not to erase it all together.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter.”
I was 24 and, while not gay, ever since college I had been getting more attention from gay men than from heterosexual women.