Random Thoughts

People Want a Relationship but Don’t Want a Relationship

I’ve noticed something. More and more people want a relationship, but don’t want a relationship.

People, not all, love the title of boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, lover, etc., but will bypass all of the necessary steps to build the foundation to have a stable relationship. During these quarantine times, people want company. To be honest, there are couples who’ve discovered how much they dislike each other, but that’s a different topic.

Social media is filled with #couplegoals, #marriagegoals, and who knows what other relationship hashtags. Nothing wrong with that, but there are a lot of people who want to be part of that hashtag so bad, they’ll seek relationships just for the sake of having them. Very few people aren’t interested in getting to know each other. They’ll date for a month, end up with a title, post their love on social media, then the relationship is over a month later. Yes, I’ve seen it happen. The same people wonder what happened or were shocked to see the person dramatically change once the “title” was implemented. It’s as if some are jumping into relationships for the gram.

I wrote a post about never feeling lonely. Some people hate being alone and seek romantic relationships to fill that void. The thing that strikes me is those same people will admit to not wanting to be in a romantic relationship with anyone because they only want company. Sad thing is, they don’t relay that vital information to the person they’re essentially using. The unknowing void filler wants to make things official resulting in the relationship becoming one-sided. In the end, the relationship doesn’t work and the one who didn’t want the relationship in the first place wonders why things didn’t work out.

I know people who have done these things. I tell them to stay single and concentrate on themselves, but they continue to have at least three relationships a year and can’t figure out what the issue is. Chill! Come up for a few breaths of air. Are they hopeless romantics? Do they constantly daydream of love? Do they want to imitate what they see in romantic movies, dating shows, and social media. Based on conversations, seems like it. Ironically, they say they don’t want to be in a relationship, but the invitation is too tantalizing to say no. I laughably don’t understand.

I had someone ask me to be in a relationship less than two months after dating. My response,

There’s a want versus need when it comes to relationships. You should never need a relationship. You want one. When I say want, make sure you have the time and space to allow someone to enter your life and travel down your path. If you don’t want to share that path with someone, don’t drag them along and possibly hurt them on the way just to fill void. Make sure you want to put in the effort to build a friendship that forms the foundation for a strong relationship. Stop worrying about whether or not your behind in the romance department because society is pressuring you. Stop looking at the lovey dovey social media posts of couples smiling and pretending they don’t argue or broke up at least three times before taking that picture.

I’m not a relationship expert. Relationships can be complicating because life happens, but if you go into an unwanted relationship, you’re just complicating things from the jump which is 100% avoidable. Some people only like the idea of a relationship. That’s the problem.

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Entertainment, portfolio

‘After’: The Dangers of Lust and Idolized Fictional Romance

Should We Really Be Excited About After We Collided?

Tessa and Hardin’s relationship shouldn’t be admired as ideal love.

After follows college freshman Tessa Young (Josephine Langford) as she meets and is swept into a whirlwind of lust over tattooed British bad boy Hardin Scott (Hero Fiennes Tiffin). The film is adapted from Anna Todd’s enormously popular After series, based on her Harry Styles fan-fiction. The series has racked up 1.5 billion views on Wattpad and sold 15 million print copies. 

After masks the problematic dynamics of Tessa and Hardin’s relationship under a blanket of passion. They aren’t #relationshipgoals or #couplegoals, yet die-hard fans of the fiction are obsessed with the pair. 

Tessa and Hardin’s attraction to one another stems from the concept of “opposites attract.” This form of lust can be dangerous, as it’s idealized and can blind individuals to some obvious reasons they should not pursue a relationship with a potential partner. Many people are attracted to the “bad boy” in hopes of proving they can get the guy, play therapist, and mold them to their liking. Some simply love the extreme highs and lows of the relationship as if it’s a drug and they need their daily fix.  

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Hardin has a lot of emotional baggage due to his upbringing with his father. If you’ve read the fan-fiction, you’ll recognize that his fluctuating emotions are going to be psychological torture and exhausting for Tessa. The film didn’t include all of the arguments the pair had in the Wattpad and novels, including Hardin wanting Tessa to stay away from basically everyone in her life and only sees him. He is often nasty and disrespectful towards her and admits that he’s “just an a**hole.” 

When you’re young and inexperienced in love, Hardin’s behavior is easily dismissable, as it’s viewed as him being emotional or even romantic because he wants Tessa all for himself. But that’s not the truth. A lover should never attempt to dictate their partner’s life. That’s obsessive, manipulation, controlling, and mental abuse – and it isn’t cute.

Hardin displays his emotions by breaking glass and punching walls. In the novel, Tessa describes one instance where she thinks Hardin will slap her. This behavior is dangerous, and its magnitude is unpredictable. If you’re in a relationship and fear your lover will hit you, you need to end that relationship for your safety and sanity. 

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Anna Todd – Photo Credit: BBC

While writing After, Anna Todd told Refinery29 she was upset with how Hardin treated Tessa and didn’t want them together, “I was like, ‘He should just be alone forever and be miserable.’” Todd added, “I don’t know if I wanted them to end up together. I just wrote it, and they had to be.” 

Does the pair have to live happily ever after? No, but since this is fiction, fan service is required. The problem is, people invest in these characters as if they’re real and start to seek a Hardin of their own. Therein lies the danger of someone assuming the turmoil in their relationship is normal – because Tessa and Hardin went through the same thing.  

The one thing After gets right is that young love is complicated by naivety and driven by hormones. We can’t blame every bad decision on hormones, but they can contribute to illogical decisions that make you wonder what exactly you were thinking later.

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Let’s not forget Tessa had a boyfriend named Noah. The writers made their relationship seem vanilla so fans could obsess over Tessa and Hardin getting together and dismiss the fact that Tessa cheated on Noah…TWICE. If things were reversed and Noah cheated on Tessa for a bad girl, would he be considered a jerk? If so, what does that make Tessa? Or did fans see Tessa leveling up so cheating on Noah wasn’t a big deal? This double standard is ideal for another discussion.

The sequel, After We Collided, will be released in 2020. If you haven’t read the fan-fiction, from the sound of the title, you know more drama is coming.

**A freelance movie review completed for Wishbone.**

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