Social media has increasingly become the way we connect with one another– and how we share our ideas, hopes and feelings with others. Facebook pages like Boyfriends who actually treat their girlfriends like princesses post pictures and status updates about relationships that have thousands of likes, comments and shares. But are all of these messages about relationships reflective of a healthy relationship?
Let’s take a look at some of these pictures (taken from the above Facebook page) and talk about what each picture is really saying about the relationship.
Everybody likes to feel wanted; in fact, the entire point of a relationship is that two people enjoy being together enough to spend a lot of time together. The fact that this girl wants to be with her boyfriend is great! But comparing him to an object like her phone and acting possessive? Definitely not a sign of someone who trusts someone else. Additionally, this treats her boyfriend as if he is incapable of making his own decisions. Which is healthier– a boyfriend who is true to his girlfriend because he’s afraid his girlfriend will get mad if he so much as touches another girl, or a boyfriend who is true to his girlfriend because he chooses to be (regardless of how his girlfriend feels about it)?
Everyone LOVES talking to their significant other (or SO)– that’s the reason why you date them! And with tech like Facebook, Twitter, and texting, it’s easy to stay in contact with our SO every moment of the day. But is this really healthy? Setting good boundaries between you and your significant other about when it is and isn’t okay to text or Facebook chat is a great way to keep your relationship respectful. If one partner sets a boundary, that doesn’t mean they think the other partner is annoying or bad– it just means they want to have that time apart, and that’s okay.
Relationships? Are hard. Really hard. Two people who are great, wonderful, loving people as individuals who are 100% compatible and who are in love with each other still sometimes can’t make it work. That doesn’t make either of them bad people– or unlovable people– just two individuals who don’t work well in a couple (or who have to deal with outside pressures– like location, religious differences, or family conflicts– that are too much for the relationship.
And the truth is that some people ARE hard to be with– in fact, most people are hard to be with! That’s one of the hard things about relationships, that we all have quirks and problems and emotional baggage and a thousand other things that make building a relationship extraordinarily difficult.
If you seem unable to make a relationship “stick,” that doesn’t make you bad, unlovable, or worthless– it makes you human.
Some of the most important relationships we have in our lives will be with our friends. Friendships are an important part of being a healthy human being, and everyone has to learn how to balance romantic relationships with friendships. While it’s pretty common for time spent with friends to decline once you’re in a relationship, especially in the beginning, keeping strong friendships is not only possible but a good thing to do when you’re in a romantic relationship. In fact, it is a huge relationship red flag if your partner either makes you feel guilty for spending any time with your friends or tells you not to see a close friend you have. When a partner says things like this, they don’t say it because they love you or because they want to see you more– but because they want to have control over your life and your choices.
Our media is full of examples of a “bad boy”– a boy who rebels against the society around him (maybe even being violent or committing crimes) or who behaves in ‘dangerous’ ways is sexy, mysterious, and desirable. Unfortunately, these “bad boys” who are so often treated like the romantic lead in movies are often less than desirable partners in real life. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with your love interest wearing a leather jacket or having tattoos, ask yourself– does he treat you with respect? does he let you make your own decisions? Check your relationship against the wheel of power and control.
A lot of times, boys who “act bad” or do things that go against the grain are doing so because they need someone else to tell them how cool or important they are. Because they’re so insecure, it’s hard for them to express love and respect for themselves, much less towards another person. Additionally, a lot of girls are attracted to ‘bad boys’ because our culture teaches us that it’s possible for good love to change a bad boy into a good man. In reality, any attempt to change a partner because they “aren’t good enough” ends in frustration and pain. No person can change another person– they have to do that on their own.
Hopefully these pictures have helped you think about your own relationship or the kind of relationship you want to have. Just remember that mutual love and respect are the two most important keys to any healthy relationship.