I read it in countless e-mails, facebook status updates and suspect that if smoke signals were still in fashion--I'd see it there too--the same question, "When will the hard part be over when it comes to dating and relationships?
The concept was birthed somewhere between the invention of marriage and the creation of the Hallmark Valentine's Day card; the idea of love being simple and that anyone could do it--like bedazzling. The notion was romanticized to the extreme and we took the bait. "Act now: get married and be set for life."
And for years we've seen it played out on the small screen as the main idea as with Sarah Jessica pioneering the way to love or in the form of a secondary plot on the big screen with flicks like SALT with Angelina Jolie. (The man she was in love with went to the depths of the Earth to find and rescue her--I can't even get my boyfriend to close the kitchen cabinets when he pulls a glass out to drink water)
For many, the dating scene is rough; it's competitive, frustrating and nerve-wracking, but it will never go away--because we each have an idea of what being in a relationship is like--and it's always sunshine and lollipops, right? I've never heard anyone say, "I can't wait to get married in order to go through a custody battle and bitter divorce." Or, "I'm so excited to be engaged to Mark--I hope he turns out to be gay and comes out 2 weeks before the wedding so we can cancel it and I can dive into a deep destructive tailspin of despair to get in touch with my inner alcoholic.
"And guess what kids?" The hard part isn't over when you find someone--it's just begun because you really get into the psychology of that person--especially after the 3-month love-bubble bursts. So the question remains, "Does it ever get better?" The answer--yes. But the real question we should be asking is, "Does it get easier?" The answer--no. And that's not a bad thing. I say no because it's work. It doesn't have to be painful but it is work--you have to increase communication and make sure you don't fall into a pattern of "the same old same old" and that's hard when you come home tired and just want to rest, but instead you find that the laundry needs to be done, the dishes need washing and on top of that--they want you to listen as they retell the story of how they argued with someone at work. But if for that moment, you can bring the "big picture" into perspective...that it gets better, it can be a great relationship-saving device.
Dating will always be a challenge because we're not bean pods sprouting on command; instead, we're evolving individuals with shifting ideas, concepts and emotions. "Will relationships ever be smooth?" No, but the ride you have depends on your character and how you choose to formulate your behavior and response to the ever-changing circumstances of a relation because in the end--it was never about them, it was all about you, wasn't it?
Those of you in the dating trenches, do you ever think that once you get involved in a relationship, the fairytale starts? Leave a comment and let's get Mexican in here!