C/O Jessica Yang

By accepting our individual connections, we can ensure we’re building our relationships on an honest foundation 

Expectations regarding our relationships are extremely prevalent in society — especially during our post-secondary years. It is natural to see young couples posting about each other on social media, attending parties together and willingly sharing their partnership status with others. However, sometimes our personal relationships fail to follow this pattern.

We need to learn to accept our unique and individual connections and not be pressured to fit into “relationship molds.” Doing so will ensure we are bringing our most authentic selves into our relationships and building their foundations on the basis of honesty and integrity.  

Anyone with an Instagram or Snapchat account will tell you they often see couples put each other’s initials in their bios, share posts about their happy times and be carefree in sharing such details. These behaviors are so widespread that they feel like the ‘norm’ and what we have to do to for our relationship to be considered ‘normal’ in society.  Placing such general expectations on our intimate relationships can do more harm than good.  

We are each distinct and unique individuals and that is what we should be bringing into our relationships. If a person was not fond of social media before entering a relationship, but now feels as though they have to in order to meet society’s standards, the truth within such a union is belittled. Changing or sacrificing one’s own values because of one’s perception of society’s expectations is almost always detrimental, especially when another person, especially one close to you, is involved. If we are not being honest with ourselves about who we are and then share that version with others, we only get farther away from our invaluable individuality.  

So, while it can be fun and completely acceptable to follow through with trends, one shouldn’t be judged if they choose not to do so. Especially while dating as young students: it’s okay to want to have a ‘date night in’ rather than going out to a student house party. It’s also okay to not want to share who you’re with and keep that private aspect of your life to yourself.

At the end of the day, your relationships are all your own and you are not obligated to share that with anybody but yourself.  

Keeping true to these values can also help to maintain the authenticity of a relationship by not compromising its honesty and integrity — honesty and integrity that is essential to the relationship’s foundation.  Instead of sharing the version of yourself that society expects of you, you are sharing the real you. It can be hard to understand what we really value when we’re surrounded by a multitude of tools that distort perception, especially in the media: filters, photoshop and being selective of what one posts paints an inaccurate portrait of reality. However, finding our true self — or even aspects of it — is invaluable and we should protect it from inconsistent external expectations as much as possible. This way, we stay honest to ourselves alongside maintaining sincere connections in our life.  

In sum, trying to fit into a mold our aesthetic-driven society has created is only detrimental to ourselves and our most personal, intimate relationships. We should celebrate who we are as individuals and refrain from changing ourselves simply because we live in new or different circumstances. Be who you want to be, date how you want, share how you want (or if you want) and cherish your own relationships in a way that aligns with what you and your partner individually desire. 

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