If Relationships Had An Expiration Date, Would You Check It?

If Relationships Had An Expiration Date, Would You Check It?

Do you want to know how long your relationship will last?

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The other night when I was procrastinating, I re-watched my favorite episodes of Black Mirror. An episode I really love is 'Hang The DJ', written by Charlie Brooker and directed by Tim Van Patten. The episode follows the story of two young adults living in a dystopian world where people are required to use a dating app that matches people into relationships. They can check the expiration date of their relationship that the app gives.

This episode really stuck with me. I think the concept of checking the expiration date of your relationship is mind-boggling. The duration of a relationship, just like many things in life, can never be known until it actually ends (or takes a serious turn). I feel like the question of "how long is this going to last?" always lingers in our minds whether we're aware of it or not.

And who really wants to address this question every single time it pops into their head? The idea of a break-up isn't the most pleasant thing to talk about (unless the relationship has been struggling for a while). I don't dare to test this out, but I'm sure if I asked my boyfriend "how long do you think we're going to last?" every single time we hung out, it would drive him crazy.

But even though this question looms over my head sometimes, if there was a way to check how long my relationship would last, I don't know if I would check it. If I was told my relationship would last one more day, I would freak out. If you're happy in a relationship, how else is someone supposed to act when hearing this?

If the relationship was going to last a few more months, how would we treat each other? If we're going to be over in a matter of weeks, it seems as if there's nothing we could do to improve the relationship since it's ending in such a short amount of time. I guess we would just coast and enjoy the time we still have left with each other.

If you're happy in your relationship and find out that it was going to last for two or three more years, this would sound great. I mean, it's better than your relationship ending in a few hours. But, at the same time, wouldn't this sting? If you love someone, you're obviously going to cherish the time you have left with them, but it'll probably haunt you every morning when you wake up to know that each day gets closer and closer to your relationship ending.

Yet, even though this seems depressing, this is a reality for so many couples. Even though we may not know it, each day has the potential to bring us closer to a break-up. It's a beautiful thing when the person you love turns into your forever partner, being sealed by marriage and maybe even a family, but this isn't always a reality.

So, it would seem like finding out your relationship will last forever would be perfect if you're in love. But, it's worth point out that relationships can change; something that may bring you all the happiness in the world today may not be such a strong source of happiness in a year from now. This is scary, but it's true. Because of this, it may not always be a good thing to find out the person you're with now will be the one you end up with in the long run.

I think it's best to assume that it's probably a good thing that we can't check the expiration date of our relationships. Even though not knowing can drive us crazy, ignorance is bliss sometimes. Going with the flow and taking things one day at a time seems like the best course of action. I know it sounds cheesy, but my favorite saying has to be, "whatever is meant to be yours will find its way to you". This thought experiment also encourages us to cherish the time we have with our significant others each and every day.

If you could, would you check how long your relationship will last?

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It's Time To Challenge 'You Complete Me' Culture

Your partner should be your companion, not your completion!

pmterch
pmterch
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After having some time to reflect after "The Bachelor" finale, I think this is the perfect time to put this article out there. In this article, I want to offer you a different perspective on how to view relationships. I want to challenge you to defy cultural assumptions of what romance is and shine a light on how codependency can squash your happiness.

The puzzle analogy

In wedding vows or proclamations of love, we often hear the phrase, "You complete me." We compare finding our person to finding the missing piece of the puzzle in our lives. Once we place that puzzle piece in the empty hole, we can finally see the beautiful and complete picture. Without that piece, we would be in a frenzy, searching all around under the kitchen table and on everyone's chairs to see if we find it. We desperately hope the dog, or the baby, hasn't eaten it. We hold out hope.

This comparison, as I have found, has created quite an issue in our modern day society. We are so obsessed with finding that missing piece in our lives to complete us that we often search in the wrong places or live in unending frustration. Sometimes we find a perfectly wonderful person, but they seem to lack everything on our checklists of what we have deemed as the perfect missing piece, so we let them go. If you are one of the lucky ones who has found a person who fills the void in your life, you often try to shove them into the puzzle as hard as you can and force them to fit. You need to be filled; you need to have the beauty of the final picture — without it, how could you ever be completely happy?

Where did I go wrong?

I was riding along in the car with my boyfriend when I realized we had hit a rough patch. We are a long distance couple — going to separate colleges four hours away from each other — but we only live two minutes away from each other when we are back at home.

I had never had a boyfriend before my second semester of senior year. I had always been very independent. I moved a lot, which meant anytime I got close to dating someone, POOF, there I went. But, this time I had finally stayed and found an amazing guy — my best friend.

When I was single, I was the queen of relationship advice (as we all are when we are not blinded by rose-colored romance). Finally being in a relationship made me realize how easy it was to fall into habits that I had always scorned others for. I began letting this relationship affect me in ways I never even suspected it could.

Don't get me wrong, this was not his doing at all. My boyfriend is the sweetest guy I know. He is always lifting me up and supporting me to reach my dreams. While we both struggle with anxiety and depression, we have found a way to always put our individual mental health first. My boyfriend had dated people before me, but I had not. This altered expectations of what this relationship was supposed to look like for each of us. He knew what mistakes to try to stay away from, while I was still trying to figure it out.

How to reframe your perspective in relationships

Regardless of my background, I think I have stumbled on the most amazing way of reframing perspective in relationships. Once I started changing the lens on how I looked at our relationship, we started bickering less and I became so much happier.

Here it is: your significant other is your COMPANION, not your COMPLETION.

Of course, you should feel happy and enjoy when your partner is around. They should treat you with care and make you laugh, but they should not be the person filling the empty piece of your heart — that isn't their responsibility. They should not be the ultimate source of happiness that makes you feel emotionally whole. This perspective is extremely unhealthy because people are fickle and we make mistakes. We screw up . . . all the time. Our culture loves to use the phrase, "You complete me." It sounds extremely romantic. However, it can be so problematic.

Now, when I spend time or communicate with my boyfriend, I see it as a lucky bonus we get after we both have spent time improving ourselves that day. When I text him, I don't expect him to reply to me immediately — even though I still wish he would because of the need for instant gratification, let's be real. I know that he is going after his dreams by working as hard as he can to make a life for himself. As a girlfriend, not only should I commend him for that, but I should also give him the space to do that. Likewise, I should go after my dreams and work as hard as I can to achieve them.

Your partner should be the fun blanket you have on top of your comforter. You would be just as warm without the blanket and still get a good nights sleep, but the blanket is still really fuzzy and gives you extra joy and you can wrap it around you while you are watching tv. And, if it is a really cold and stormy night, perhaps you snuggle up with your blanket and hold it tightly for a little extra warmth and comfort.

I am a believer in God, and I believe his holy spirit makes me whole. Regardless of if you share this belief or not, I think we can all agree that we are all supposed to walk through life together and lift each other up. If we expect to put our happiness and worth on the shoulders of one person, then that relationship is going to crumble. Why would you want the person you love most to crumble? I certainly don't. I want to be able to look my partner in the eyes and say, "I love you and I want to stand by you when you need me. When you don't, I will be okay because I am still whole and fulfilled".

pmterch
pmterch

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All Relationships Require Participation And Respect, Not Just The Romantic Ones

As society pushes us to believe that romantic relationships are the most important, it is vital that we expect the same level of dedication and maturity from every relationship in our lives.

aruhman
aruhman
5
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The narrative that evaluating behaviors and emotions are only relevant in a romantic context is creating incomplete relationships. Platonic and family-based relationships have the same complexity and need for active participation as romantic relationships.

When it comes to intimacy, people tend to relate it to sexual or romantic relationships, but sexual intimacy is one of the seven forms. The other seven forms of intimacy include emotional, spiritual, intellectual, recreational, aesthetic, and physical. From going to a movie with your parents to telling your friends about your deepest secrets, activities done out of a desire to be around people more leads to one of the seven types of intimacy.

Every type of relationship that holds some importance to you will have some form of intimacy. That intimacy is what builds relationships that are based on mutual trust and respect. But with that intimacy comes the responsibility to treat the relationship fairly.

Romantic relationships are not the most important or the only one that needs the effort to be maintained. Toxic behavior doesn't wait for romantic partners and can lead to manipulative or abusive behavior in platonic or family-based relationships.
The effort to apologize for mistakes, the art of making time to spend with them, and the beauty of learning more about the person you spend your time with are all vital to keeping a healthy dynamic.

In addition to checking your own behavior, evaluating the behavior and emotions present within every relationship that you are a part of not only helps to make sure that you don't get stuck in a bad situation, it also helps rid the world of the narrative that romantic relationships are the most important relationships. Not only does that put too much pressure on romantic relationships, but it invalidates all the other relationships that are vital to being socially healthy.

Friendships should never be passive and weak imitations of romantic relationships, and they should have the same level of effort as any romantic relationship.

aruhman
aruhman

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