There are many things I would do with my fiancé in the name of love at the drop of a hat. I would happily hang out with a couple of his ex-girlfriends. I would babysit his baby niece for days and be thrilled about it, even if it meant zero sleep and messes everywhere. But there’s one thing you could never, ever get me to do even if you paid me, and that is stay handcuffed to him for 24 hours.
Everyone has their threshold, and that just happens to be mine. While I love him dearly, and feel more comfortable around him than anyone else, I just know being forced to remain within arm’s length of each other for that long would push me over the edge. See I’m a classic introvert, and like most who fit that description, I need a little alone time every now and again to recharge. Granted my fiancé and I can spend whole weekends seemingly attached to each other, watching shows, going out to eat and making cat videos together, but there’s one important distinction — we’re not actually attached to each other. I think that little bit of forced interaction could be enough to break us.
Yet couples everywhere seem to be attempting this ultimate relationship challenge and making it through (for the most part). It’s the final obstacle in Brook Silva-Braga and Jill Andres’ The Marriage Test, which was designed to let couples know whether or not they’re ready for marriage. And it’s the subject of this already viral relationship video that was just released by BuzzFeed Yellow yesterday.
Ned and Ariel, BuzzFeed’s guinea pig couple, agreed to remain handcuffed to each other for 24 long hours, and the resulting video appears to be hitting home with viewers in a big way. However, I don’t think it’s because anyone’s enjoying what’s going on in those six and a half minutes of compressed relationship struggles (least of all me). I think it’s because the challenge is like something you might see on Fear Factor — incredibly horrific, but you can’t look away because it’s impossible to believe people would subject themselves to such an experience.
GAH, it’s like six minutes of emotional nails on a chalkboard to me! OK, perhaps I’m projecting too much. But I honestly don’t see why being forced to remain in earshot of your partner while he’s using the bathroom proves that you’re ready to spend the rest of your lives together. Or how compromising your work, eating, fitness, sleeping and social time with metal manacles is demonstrative of making the ultimate commitment. It just seems like a totally unnecessary recipe for disaster, which is exactly what the video demonstrates.
Moreover, one must remember this couple is being filmed by a third party, so all those blowups they have would likely be magnified ten-fold if they were alone. Needless to say, it was not at all surprising that they needed to break out of the challenge at least three times in 24 hours. However, I still think they deserve a major relationship prize, like a free dinner or a giant bottle of wine, for lasting as long as they did. If it had been me, I would’ve said “screw it” after 45 minutes.
It’s all fun and good to put these crazy relationship challenges on YouTube as entertainment, but I genuinely believe “relationship experts” who declare such things a necessary step are sending the wrong message. Every couple is different, and while some might have no problem breaking through their respective comfort zones in such a way, it might do unnecessary harm to others.
If you’re thinking about taking on a similar challenge, make sure you’re both sincerely on board before committing (guys, that means asking a bunch of times, not just once). And remember, you’re not dooming your relationship if you need to call “uncle” and reach for the keys — you’re just a normal human being with personal boundaries that have been reached.