You and your man aren’t seeing eye-to-eye. He thinks he’s right and you know you’re right. You go into your basket of reasoning, and pull out the good-ol-comparison card, using another couple you know as a reference. A couple who practices what you’re preaching. Surely, if couple x are like this, than you two should be as well, you tell him matter-of-factly. In response, he get’s defensive and pulls out a comparison of couple y, who are nothing like couple x. The argument is ongoing until you agree to disagree.
Why is it, that in times of disagreement, we look to other couples, as a reference to what is right in a relationship? This reminds me of the confirmation bias I learned about in a psych class in first year University; we look for things that confirm our beliefs to convince ourselves that we are right. If I think my point is right, I’ll name drop all the couples who are the perfect example of my thoughts, and subtly (and unconsciously) dismiss the couples that come up in my head who clash with the point I’m trying to make.
We are so concerned with being right and fulfilling our expectations, that we are unable to see the other end of the spectrum.
So is there a such thing as right or wrong in regards to a relationship? Should other couples behaviours and decisions be indicative of how you and your man operate?
I’m not going to spoil anything, but in ‘Sex and the City 2’, Carrie discusses that it is impossible for an outsider (no matter how close they are to you) to truly understand your relationship with your partner. We often look for black and white in regards to relationships, and try to follow what – to us – seems like the norm. But what defines the norm? Is the norm friends of ours who are coupled up? Is the norm our parents and their behaviours? What is normal for one couple may be abnormal to the next.
All couples move at different paces. Think of Khloe Kardashian and Lamar Odom – their shotgun love affair and wedding took the paparazzi and trashy tabloid mags by storm. ‘I give them a month,’ people said at the time. People were quick to assume that moving this fast in a relationship wasn’t normal, since they themselves have been trained to move slower.
Most recently, reports are surfacing of Brody Jenner who’s said to be in a whirlwind romance with rocker-chick Avril Lavigne and only a few weeks after dating they got tattoos together. Although we judge the quick pace of these couples, they help break a myth we all seem to live by: Relationships are neither black, nor white. Each relationship is made up of a bunch of different shades and colours that make it work for the two people in it.
The comparison – though a seemingly useful card to pull at the time – is destructive in relationships, because it creates expectations based on judgments we make from the outside. Being in a relationship is connecting intimately with someone on an emotional, physical and spiritual level. When we spend our time caught up worrying about what other people will think in regards to our relationship type decisions, we lose out on the connection and bond we so luckily have found.
I used to tease a friend of mine for being whipped by his girl. He’d wait for her outside the ladies washroom holding her drink at bars, and he’d always ‘seemingly’ do whatever she wanted. But truth be told, holding a drink does not a whipping make. Instead he is taking part in a mutual relationship. His girl gives at times and he gives at times. To the outside viewer perhaps some decisions are agreed on, but behind closed doors, as long as the two of you are in bliss, that all that matters.
Drop the rules, drop the comparisons and lift your heart to embrace what you have.
– Jenny Jen