Relationships are hard at the best of time, but with the surge of social media and online dating apps, relationships have got a hell of a lot harder over the past 20 years or so.
Why? We have never before had such unrestricted access to ‘other people’s relationships, ‘other people’s rules’ and ‘other alternatives’ to compare against what we have with our own partners.
It puts unnecessary pressure on you and your relationship and too often, we end up thinking and saying things because we think it’s the norm, not because it’s actually right for you.
I’ve put together 6 words and phrases that I think should be banned from modern-day relationships but fear not, I have also some alternative suggestions to help along a healthy happy relationship.
Too much pressure is put on couples early on to ‘define their relationship’ and ‘put a label on it.’ Admittedly, the connotations of ‘girlfriend’ and ‘boyfriend suggest that you’re committed and you’re exclusively with one another, but do you really need a label to establish that you are enjoying spending time together? Or do you just need to have an honest conversation about what your expectations are of one another in your relationship.
The second reason I don’t like this is because one of my dear friends is bi-sexual. She hates the term ‘girlfriend’ because people automatically assume she doesn’t like men. She said she loved when her and her now wife got engaged because she could refer to her girlfriend as her fiancé and so no one would label her with LGBT tag either way. She wasn’t ashamed, she just got sick of correcting people when they presumed she only liked women.
Replace it with: Partner, significant other, other half or friend.
2. Relationship Status
Following on from my previous point – there is a certain expectation to ‘define the relationship’, most of all from Facebook. I have 834 friends on Facebook, and if they don’t already know I have a boyfriend then they’re not really my friends.
There’s nothing more humiliating than being forced to change your Facebook status from ‘in a relationship’ to ‘single’. Just save yourself the pain and embarrassment and don’t declare it!
In fact, Facebook can generally be pretty damning for any relationship. Just read Nicole Weavers ‘7 Subtle Ways Facebook Is Destroying Your Relationship’ to see why.
Replace it with: Nothing. You can hide your relationship status (make it private to you only). When someone clicks ‘about’ it won’t appear for the Facebook world to see!
3. He should / She should
Put the rulebook down – please! This is the 21st century and
while chivalry is nice, I like to think of myself as strong, independent and quite capable of sharing the responsibilities of a relationship.
Replace it with: We should. Share the responsibility and own your relationship.
4. (High/Low) Standards
When looking for a significant other, rating one another is not only shallow but degrading to both you and whoever you wish to date. Ever heard that rule – rate yourself out of 10 and then date someone 2 above or 2 below. So if you’re a 7/10 you can date a range of 5-9. Excuse my French but what a load of shit.
Date whomever you want to date and if they’re good looking, that’s great but I guarantee a relationship will last longer with someone who is compatible because you share similar interests, values and goals (not just because you look good in a mirror together).
Replace it with: Compatibility. If you’re going to rate anything, rate how compatible you think you are together. A good test – if you were to be stuck in an elevator, how long do you think you could keep a conversation going before you’re screaming for help?
5. It’s time…
‘It’s time to define the relationship’, ‘it’s time to say I love you’, ‘it’s time to move in together’…
Put the rulebook down. Go at your own pace, not the pace of your best friend, your parents or worst of all your favorite celebrity (because those relationships always last, right?). Don’t get mad because he’s not asked or said what you want to hear, or he hasn’t called you back yet. Time is precious, but there’s no need to don’t through a relationship, trying to reach all your milestones according to a set schedule. Enjoy the journey.
Replace it with: ‘It feels right’ or ‘Do you think it’s time…’
Work out those relationship milestones together or simply trust your gut. If your guts telling you that it’s right, it’s probably right.
For one, I cannot take anything with a hash tag in front of it seriously. Secondly, we should not be basing our own relationships on anything other than the two people who are involved in it. If you have ‘goals’ that’s great but please do not compare your relationship to something as unattainable or idealistic as a posed picture of two models on Facebook or Instagram.
This article reinforces exactly why #RelationshipGoals Should Actually NEVER Be Your Relationship Goals.
Replace it with: Relationship Goals (no hashtag)
Your real relationship goals should be decided between you and your partner and they need to be realistic. For example, one of my relationship goals is to buy a house with my partner. We are currently saving to do so – a real, attainable relationship goal. Simple!