When did "it's complicated" become a status alongside married, single, divorced, widowed? I confess to having rolled my eyes a time or two or even chuckled when seeing this status on a few social media walls, shaking my head and thinking, "really?" However, relationships really can be complicated. I'm not sure it's worthy of a status but when two human beings come together and try to make a go of it, it's never quite that simple.
Let me be clear and point out here that I'm referring to REAL relationships.
- "It's complicated" because we slept together after dating a week and now I'm not sure where we stand doesn't fall into the real relationship category.
- And certainly not, "it's complicated" because we broke up but I keep getting a booty call and responding to it so now I'm not sure if we're back together or not.
- I'm definitely not referring to "it's complicated" because he's married although it's not a happy marriage and he's working on getting a divorce.
- Nor am I referring to "it's complicated" because we get together often but never with friends and never in public.
I'm referring to what I like to call a term you may have heard before…A COUPLE.
- Two people who are thinking long term together or can at least see a future together.
- Two people who are married or planning on marriage.
- Two people who are living together as a couple…not roommates.
- Two people who are dating exclusively.
All couples have a once upon a time, a story of how they met, their beginning. The thing is when we are in a relationship, we are not alone. We are part of a whole. Yet, we each come with our own individual once upon a time. Both parties did not begin this race called life at the same START line, even if we hope to end at the same FINISH line together.
Each party has their own unique set of experiences that has shaped them gradually into the person they are today. Each half of the couple had a different and unique upbringing that has contributed not only to the adult they've become but also how they interact with others. This is never more evident than when an individual becomes a plus one. It is then that all the years of molding and kneading, tweaking and shaping comes to light because it is then that love for someone other than themselves comes into play. This is where it gets complicated folks.
I believe couples get in trouble when we forget that the person we fell in love with had a story all their own before we came into the picture. Instead, we get frustrated when they don't behave a certain way. After all, we, personally, would never do things that way or handle a certain situation that way. Why should they?
We don't understand why our other half is less affectionate than we would like, and I don't mean in the bedroom necessarily. We each have our own way of showing affection, and holding someone else (especially someone we claim to love) to our own set of standards isn't fair and certainly isn't realistic. Maybe the other person was raised in a family where hugs and kisses weren't the norm. That is sad and shocking to those of us who were smothered with physical affection as kids, but it doesn't need to be and it certainly doesn't make that person love any less…just love differently.
There is no formula, no rule, no instruction manual to follow, though following your heart is a great start no matter what your heart has been through in the past. Being in a relationship means give and take, understanding, patience, compassion. It also means there is room for anger, hurt, frustration, blame. Keeping those scales balanced…therein lies the key.
Sound complicated? That's because it is, but you don't give up on life when the road gets a bit bumpy do you? And, if it really, truly, is that "complicated" then get off the road before you get run over. It's your status.