Society tells us that relationships consist of two people, whether it’s a boy and a girl, a boy and a boy or a girl and a girl — boy, were we wrong about that. Maybe you've been lucky in love, or maybe you've seen it all, but it seems that among the hectic patterns of breakups and make-outs, we’ve failed to recognize that relationships never consist of just two individuals.
Perhaps the key components of your relationship are not found in you or your partner, but rather in the five other people you never even realized were in this relationship with you.
It's simple probability. One of your mothers will be, well, horrible. Okay, that was harsh. Maybe not horrible... but definitely uncomfortable. She may laugh. She may smile, but underneath it all, your mom has never and will never approve of your relationship.
Why do you think all study dates have to end by 10 pm and Grandma's 90th birthday party was family only? This outside pressure from one parent can be a nuisance that is damaging for the self-esteem of one partner and the nerves of the other.
The Third Wheel
This is the friend that your boyfriend now texts more than you do. This friend has supported your relationship — or at least your happiness — since day one, and you feel as if he or she is your significant other’s adopted child or puppy. Other friends think its strange that an outsider is texting your boo-thang, but you love your third wheel just the same. It's like a big happy family when you're together, and this friend is the first person you guys will call through every relationship milestone.
Did horror music just start playing? Exes are the primary causes of insecurity in relationships, and no one ever wants to be the boyfriend or girlfriend who worries about the ex. Don't try to hide it though — we ALL care about who our partner was spooning throughout season one of "American Horror Story.” You may never meet, see or talk to the ex, but the pressure to outshine every past relationship can leave you feeling tired.
The most important thing to remember though is that exes are exes for a reason. Season one is so 2011 — I'd like to think that relationships operate much like AHS — each season is an opportunity for a brand new story.
The Flat Tire
This friend has seldom approved of your romantic endeavors, but the wrath of disapproval burns stronger than ever. During any fight, the flat tire points out the selfishness and pride of your boyfriend and always brings up matches that she thinks would suit you so much better. While its sweet that he or she cares about your well-being, you really wish that everyone could get along once in a while to have a movie night or a day trip to the beach.
Third parties shouldn't end your relationship, but do heed at least some of what this friend is saying. Unfortunately, they are usually right about some things.
We all have visions of the "perfect man" or "perfect woman" before we can even read or write. The final member of your relationship is likely branded on a poster from 1999, tucked away in the closet of your parents' house in Ohio. It could be Queen Bey, Hansen, Kate Upton, or even a more eclectic choice like vintage Patrick Swayze or the cast of the original Melrose Place.
While it's important to have standards, the unreal expectations that celebrities cannot even reach (without Photoshop and a killer PR rep) always seem to sneak into our relationships. So, how do we fix this? Don't expect to date a perfect, fictional human with every quality and attribute you desire. After all, can you, yourself, meet those standards for your partner?
Photo credit: Columbia Pictures