Barack and Michelle Obama / Luke Vargas / Wikimedia Commons
As a society, we are suckers for a good power couple. Beyonce and Jay-Z, Barack and Michelle, Portia and Ellen, Kanye and Kim K. We watch them on TV, we stalk them on Instagram, we listen to their music. They are greater than gods; two people who are both individually powerful joining together to create an empire that Alexander the Great would be proud of. As we consume this all, we turn to our friends and we dub them ‘relationship goals’.
When I am trying to figure out what a good relationship is, I am either looking at my family, or to the media. I want to have the camaraderie of Legolas and Gimli in Lord of the Rings. I want to have the hustle of Kanye and Kim. I want to have the collective vision of Barack and Michelle. I want the whole life love of Alicia and Will in The Good Wife. The humour of Portia and Ellen. My own relationship has been a huge learning curve, as we try and live the qualities we love about other couples and be healthy together.
I think often the pressure to be in a relationship is that which we put on ourselves. I had many unreciprocated crushes in high school, but most of my friends and I never actually got into a relationship during this time. The pressure was absolutely there though, as our school peers started dating and having sex. We want a relationship because it seemed like the next step towards growing up. Because whether the movie is a romance, a drama, a documentary, or even a horror, there is often true love tied up in the ending of the story. We conceptualise ourselves as half of a whole rather than one whole person. We want to be #RelationshipGoals.
I know that the ideal of #RelationshipGoals is problematic, and yet honestly it is still something that I can’t help but desire. But for every photo of a beautiful couple dressed to the nines, or travelling the world together, or doing couples yoga at 7am every morning, there is also probably an argument, or a moment of hurt, or someone having to completely overcome their own ego and apologise. Relationships are hard. They are two (or more if you’re polygamous) people trying to co-exist; trying vaguely to follow a path together in life. Just like moving in with a new flatmate, there is a bit of reshuffling of the furniture before everything feels right.
A relationship is not just romantic, and it is not always sexual. While not all relationships are equal, there are some basic ingredients. Trust and humility, not letting our own egos cause problems between us and our partners. Kindness, safety, and always, always having good communication.
When Beyonce released Lemonade I was in awe. After the Flawless Era, the Couples Concert Tour, and the birth of Blue Ivy, it was easy to believe in simple true love. Then one of the most powerful and impenetrable women in the world released a comprehensive visual project about what it was like to be cheated on. #RelationshipGoals can still be a good working concept, but I think we should be double checking why exactly a relationship is #Goals.Support Villainesse