Earlier this week, I was on campus and overheard a few guys talking about their girlfriends. And honestly? I was kind of annoyed. No, it wasn't overtly sexist crap - they weren't calling their girlfriends bitches or talking about how they expected them to be homemakers, or about their bodies in degrading terms. It wasn't anything like that.
And that, in a way, made it more concerning.
One guy was lamenting how his girlfriend (and he didn't give her a name, she was just "the girl he was seeing") just "didn't get video games" and how she was more into books, a pastime he didn't share. She didn't care about his love for gaming, and he wasn't interested in her love for books. Now, that doesn't seem overly bad, but here's the root problem - these two people are in a relationship and literally don't share interests.
Couples don't have to do everything together, I totally get it. It's concerning when they do. It's totally healthy to have different interests in some respects, to hang out with friends without a significant other present, and to enjoy things that your significant other might not like. But if your SO doesn't even make an effort to take interest in your interest, and if your passions aren't shared by them, then honestly, what are you doing? I have to wonder what someone thinks a significant other is for, if not to share some interests.
This also ties into the narrative of marriage being a "trap" and men being "tied down" by a significant other. If your girlfriend doesn't share your interests and "ties you down," then this isn't a relationship - you're friends with benefits.
Another thing that I don't understand is the narrative of marriage being a trap for a man. Honestly, what the heck? I've seen engagement photos from people I knew in high school and if they're posted by a guy, the captions always seem to start with "Well, I was dragging my feet, but..." and then talking about the proposal.
I'm sorry, what?
If a proposal is a thing you're not excited about, why the heck are you proposing? If you aren't excited about marriage, why even bother doing it? Like yes, tax benefits, but ultimately marriage has a societal narrative of spending the rest of your life with someone. If you aren't absolutely pumped about that idea, I guarantee you won't last through marriage. Even some people who are pumped about proposing end up regretting it when they realize exactly WHAT "the rest of our lives" means. Marriage is NOT easy, and if you're proposing to your girlfriend because she's pressured you or you feel like you have to, then what are you doing!? (And yes, I did make that heteronormative--in my limited experience, same-gender relationships don't suffer from the narrative of marriage as a trap for a man.)
If all you're interested in with your girlfriend is sex, she is not a girlfriend, she is a friend with benefits. If all you care about in a romantic relationship is how hot she is or how sexy she can be, that is not a romantic relationship. It is a sexual relationship with a potential romantic overtone. If doing romantic things for your girlfriend is a chore, then--say it with me-- you are not in a romantic relationship, or at least not a good one.
Maybe this is nonsense coming from an asexual person who has never had a relationship built on sexual attraction, but the one I've had without that as a primary foundation was pretty great. You know why? Because we shared interests. He never thought treating me like a queen was a chore, and I never thought reciprocating was a bad use of my time. We were happy to treat each other like partners, not just like two people who happened to be sexually attracted to each other. And that is why I look back on that relationship with fondness.
A relationship should never be built out of obligation, romantic or not.
The relationships in your life should exist because they make you happy. They should be fulfilling, something that you enjoy a majority of the time. Yes, relationships aren't always perfect, and I know that well, but they should at least, on balance, make you happier than you'd be without them.
If they don't, they are not worth your time.