It might make a cute Instagram tag, but in reality, it's time to strike #RelationshipGoals from your lexicon of love – because it isn't realistic. Granted, nothing about Instagram life is exactly realistic, ditto Snapchat and Vine and what-have-you, but that's especially true for love. The next time you see a snap of a lovey-dovey couple, remember that you're only seeing a single second in time, one moment, one image. That's not a goal, it's a snapshot – and mistaking the perfect you see on social media for real love goals can tank you before you even have a chance.
To paraphrase, all happy couples are alike; each unhappy couple is unhappy in its own way. You may want a taste of the happiness you see in the snapshots of couples you know and celebrity lovers, their names and fingers entangled, their love captured by the perfect filter. Their goals aren't your goals. Your goals aren't theirs.
Every relationship has its own goals. Even the parties involved in a relationship often have different goals. Superficially, yes, you can have a goal to be happy or to eat ice cream together on the first hot day of summer, but those aren't the things that make a relationship.
Although we gleefully share our funny failures on social media, you rarely see a #RelationshipFail. I don't think I ever have, actually, although I've seen plenty of food fails and other mishaps. If the couples who encompass your idea of #RelationshipGoals fight, do you think they're going to put a picture on Instagram or Facebook? You don't see the arguments, the silent periods, or the disagreements when couples post on social media. Hell, you don't see the realistic side of things from most people – we're always presenting our best to the world. Well … most of us.
Simply put, your relationship is an experience. It's its own special, living, breathing thing, and sometimes it's blissful, sometimes it's cranky, sometimes it's ugly, and a lot of the time it's … not boring, exactly, but predictable – which has its own sweetness, really.
Seriously. If you see your favorite celebrity or real life couple – even your best couple friends – doing something you think you should be doing, if you start comparing yourself, you're poisoning your own relationship. What happens if you come up short? Why even makes you think you have to do what another couple does? Look into those questions before you sell yourself short when you don't compare to some impossible, or, at least, illogical, ideal.
Working on the things that are really important to you can't – and really shouldn't – take place in the public eye. It's one thing to announce to friends or the public at large that you're trying to live a healthier lifestyle vis a vis diet, exercise, or quitting smoking. For goals like those, a little accountability can motivate some people. However, your real relationship goals may consist of much more personal endeavors, such as better communication, arguing in healthier ways, or trying to have kids. Those aren't the sorts of things you share in an Instagram picture.
… but real life is unpredictable. You can't capture those moments, and when you can, you don't always want to share them. That funny meme, on point tweet, or gorgeous Instagram probably went through at least half a dozen drafts and do-overs. Real life doesn't have those. That being said, however, if your personal relationship goals are important to you and your partner is definitely your person, you can try as many times as you like – as many times as you try for the perfect 'gram, even.
We're all guilty of putting only the best on social media, but it's worth remembering that our idols and ideals do the same. #RelationshipGoals make for sweet Instagrams and touching Tumblr memes, but don't make the mistake of using them as a basis for comparison. Keep it in perspective, you know?
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