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We’ve all seen them pop up on our social media timelines; images of couples who look like the perfect couple and are seemingly happy, in love, and living their lives together as one. But what do these relationship goals mean? Are they representative of the perfect relationship, or are they just an unrealistic portrayal of what relationships should be? And most importantly, can you achieve them? If so, how do you go about it?
Table of contents [Show]
- Science Explains Why We Shouldn’t Have Relationship Goals
- Relationships are hard.
- Dating Is Hard Enough Without Relationship Goggles.
- I Don’t Want to Set Myself Up for Frustration.
- Finding Love Took Work—So I Hope My Marriage Does, Too.
- So, What Are These Goals Then?
- A Word About Relationships in the Digital Age
Science Explains Why We Shouldn’t Have Relationship Goals
In most romantic comedies, relationships are portrayed as two people trying to win each other over to be together forever and live happily ever after. In reality, that’s not always how things play out. There is no formula for achieving relationship goals because every relationship is different. Your partner will change you, and you will change your partner too. What works in one relationship may not work in another.
Science has been studying romantic relationships for decades, and they’ve come up with some answers. In their book, The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, renowned psychologists Dr. John Gottman and Nan Silver break down what makes a healthy relationship successful. One of those principles is accepting your partner for who they are: flaws and all. But how does that work when you expect your significant other to be someone you can brag about on social media and put on a pedestal for everyone else to see?
How do you accept them for who they are when society tells us we should be able to change them into something better? We need to get over our idea of having relationship goals because it sets us up for failure.
Relationships are hard.
It's no wonder that so many of us look to other people who appear to have it all together. But here's why you shouldn't: if you've set your expectations too high, you'll be even more disappointed when your relationship doesn't measure up. Here are some relationship goals that are setting couples up for failure and what to do instead. Trying to keep your significant other in check may just get in their way.
Sometimes, we get so caught up in admiring people who seem to have it all together that we start believing their relationships are better than ours. And if they're not having relationship problems, why should we? If you think your friends' or celebrities' relationships are picture-perfect and you want yours to be too, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment.
This is one of those situations where the grass is greener and thinking can be very dangerous, warns Dr. Fran Walfish, PsyD., author of The Self-Aware Parent and a family and relationship psychotherapist in Beverly Hills and New York City. When we look at other people's relationships—and compare them to our own—we're also comparing their circumstances, she says.
Dating Is Hard Enough Without Relationship Goggles.
There are indeed partners out there who seem like they are taking their relationship to another level, but what we don’t see is all of their fights, their late nights at work, and how hard they have to work every day to make it look effortless. Because if you asked any one of them if it was worth it, I bet you would get an enthusiastic yes. But for your average couple, don’t compare yourself to others on social media or try to keep up with the Joneses. Each relationship requires its own time and energy, so don’t be discouraged by those relationships that seem better than yours—they probably aren't.
If you’re feeling unhappy in your current relationship, then it’s time to do some self-reflection. If your relationship is affecting your mental health and well-being, then you need to evaluate if it’s worth trying to keep going or if it might be time to move on. No one should be in an unhealthy relationship because they are afraid of being alone.
I Don’t Want to Set Myself Up for Frustration.
The idea of relationship goals sounds like a good one in theory, but I think it’s important to remember that you don’t have control over what other people do. Whether you’re trying to make your partner more affectionate or hoping they’ll let you stay out past 10 pm, if you set expectations for your partner, you may be setting yourself up for frustration. If they achieve your goal 100% of the time, that's fantastic! But they won’t, and relationships are all about accepting each other as is and working through difficult situations together. That doesn’t mean being with someone who fails to meet your expectations at every turn—it just means accepting their shortcomings and encouraging them to do better.
Finding Love Took Work—So I Hope My Marriage Does, Too.
When I met my now-husband over 20 years ago, we were both working at nonprofits in Washington, D.C., and dating other people. A girl’s gotta do what a girl gotta do.) Our relationships were serious but not meant to be; the one he was in was headed for marriage; mine wasn’t—or so I thought at the time. After months of playful banter and marathon phone calls, we fell in love and had to figure out how our lives would mesh together while continuing with our separate careers...Read more here!
Is there such a thing as having too much work in your marriage? Of course, no one can answer that question but you. But if it makes you feel better, I have to admit that my husband and I do argue about chores sometimes.
So, What Are These Goals Then?
If you think of relationship goals, what comes to mind? More importantly, why do these goals matter so much and how do they impact your happiness with your partner? While these questions may seem like a moot point for some, knowing what is considered relationship goals can be one of the best ways to ensure you have an idea of where you want to be and how happy you’ll need to be to get there.
If you’re reading this and you’re currently in a relationship, what are your goals for your future together? Do you want to be married someday? Do you want to have children? Are there any milestones that make sense for your relationship now and down the road when you look back on it? If so, how does that impact where you’re at today?
A Word About Relationships in the Digital Age
Relationships in 2019 are different than they were even ten years ago. Dating apps have made it easier to meet people. Communication is instantaneous. It’s not uncommon for a couple to stay connected 24/7 through texting, Twitter, Facebook Messenger, or whatever app happens to be in vogue at that moment.
People talk about relationship goals as if they're something we should strive for. But is there such a thing? If so, is it even possible to achieve it? Relationships are supposed to be based on reality and experiences. In 2019, it’s hard to know someone unless you spend time with them in person. The digital age makes it possible for people to be only one degree away from each other without ever having met face-to-face.
There is no formula for achieving relationship goals because every relationship is different. If you've set your expectations too high, you'll be even more disappointed when your relationship doesn't measure up. Here are some relationship goals that are setting couples up for failure. If you compare your relationship to others' picture-perfect, you might be setting yourself up for disappointment. Don't compare yourself to others on social media or try to keep up with the Joneses.
If you're feeling unhappy in your current relationship, then it's time to do some self-reflection. Knowing what is considered relationship goals can be one of the best ways to ensure you're happy with your partner. Relationships in 2019 are different than they were ten years ago. Communication is instantaneous and it's not uncommon for a couple to stay connected 24/7 through texting, Twitter, or Facebook.