This morning I was sitting in the college coffee shop, busily trying to get all my homework done. I flipped back and forth through the pages in my psych book, praying that I could just get through it. But there was a sentence that caught my eye. (So naturally, I put my book down to write this because I have not been able to figure out what to write this week) "The divorce rate is approaching 50% in the United States."
To be honest, I was stunned. Now I've heard it for years (and I'm sure you have too) that the divorce rates...
"are going up,"
"they're getting higher,"
"they're on the rise."
I've always heard these phrases, but I don't think I've ever paid attention to what they really mean. 50% is a strong statistic. That means that half of the people in your life that have relationships are likely to end up divorced. That's insane. But at the same time, is that really so hard to believe? And to be honest, I don't think it is.
A friend said to me, that these days dating is like window shopping. And at first I laughed. But after I thought about it, I realized how true it actually is.
We approach dating as if we are placing an order or going to a store with a list. We spend our time on dating profiles like Tinder, initially judging people solely on their appearance. And while many may say "Well, it's just an app," I disagree. I think that before we know it, this approach translates into our lives. Appearance becomes such an important factor, that we may look past the aspects of someone that truly matter in a partner.
We are so focused on appearance that we don't even give ourselves the chance to get to know someone who may have a beautiful soul.
We almost objectify people in this way. It's like walking into a store with a list of what we want.
We want someone who's tall.
they're too short.
she's got a great body, but I don't like her face.
she seems nice, but she's not very pretty
he's not muscular enough
It makes me sad to say that I hear these statements from a lot of people my age. We are out the door before we even know the person, if they don't fit the image in our head. And I think that is outrageous.
Perhaps it is because relationships just look too easy. We have movies and TV shows that show unrealistic couples, and it seems that everyone in the world of Instagram has a fairytale romance. And while many of us may recognize the inaccuracies, whether we realize it or not, these things are affecting us.
We carry them around with us and these thoughts and feelings shape and form our expectations. We walk around with this idea of everything a relationship should be, rather than open to the possibilities of what one could be.
So, we meet someone new. We check their characteristics off our "list". A few weeks or months go by and we find things to be going well. And then it happens. The first conflict arises. And with that also arises a feeling that, "This is not the way it's supposed to be." We look around us and see other people that seem be perfectly happy. So we decide it's time to leave because its gotten too tough. It's not as easy anymore. And oftentimes, the relationship is completely normal. Conflict is supposed to be a part of any relationship. Now, that is not to say that there should be large issues present all of the time. But that any and every healthy relationship has its ups and downs. We should not give up so easily.
Yet, every day relationships are thrown away and hearts are broken because of this idea that there is one definition for love or that relationships are supposed to be easier than they are.
Relationships are work. A lot of work.
However, when people hear statements like these, they are often received in a negative light. And that is simply not what I'm saying. Anything that is worthwhile takes a lot of work.
When you get a promotion at your workplace, your pay will go up (usually!). But, you are likely to also have more duties and/or more hours, that results in more work. However, the majority of us would not see an increase in pay as a negative thing. Having more money would be worth it, even though we would have to put in more time and effort.
And in a way, that is the nature of relationships. Yes, they are more work. You will have to put in more effort than you may be used to. But at the end of the day, the relationship that you have cultivated with that other person is worth it.
However, we will never get that chance with someone if we aren't willing to see them for more than their physical appearance. We could miss the opportunity to meet an incredible person.