You know that couple your Instagram feed that looks like they need their shit completely together? they are going to pumpkin patches, send one another little gifts, and clearly never argue over whose turn it’s to wash the toilet in their shared apartment. Their love seems effortless, and that they cause you to question your own relationship when it doesn’t feel as uncomplicated. Are you and your partner even meant to be together if you squabble over all types of little things?
Say hello to the autopilot relationship: one during which the partners never bicker, never let one another down and appear to intuitively know what the opposite is thinking. It’s just like the coupled-up version of the “cool-girl” — one that’s uncomplicated, easy-breezy, and totally chill.
This relationship, however, may be a bullshit myth. And you’ll blame social media for why we expect it’s real. “We’re so image-conscious — literally,” says Kristin Zeising, PsyD, a sex therapist in San Diego. “Everything we glance at and put out into the planet has got to look so good, that that is the main focus during a lot of our lives.” we do not want our lives, including our relationships, to seem messy, albeit they’re. So rather than being upfront and honest about the adversity in our pairings, we’d rather present a faultless front.
“It becomes a vicious circle,” says Kelley Johnson, Ph.D., a clinical sexologist based in North Carolina. “You see how perfect other people’s relationships seem to seem, so then you think that that there is something wrong with you and your partner because you’re during a rough patch. But rather than being honest, you present an ideal image.” That, in turn, can cause people to question their messy relationships as compared to your seemingly flawless one.
All this culminates during a culture during which people feel as if relationships should just be effortlessly perfect, which they do not require work. “So when problems do arise, you would possibly leave the connection prematurely, because you think that that points to you two not being a fit,” Dr. Zeising says. “It’s perpetuating the thought that relationships don’t take work — and that they do.”
Now, that’s to not say that you simply should stay during a relationship when there are serious issues, like disagreements in lifestyle, plans for the longer term, or whatever your other big “deal breakers” are. But working through disagreements is such a crucial part of a robust partnership. “We’re a society that does not wish to do tons of labor around personal growth.
We just expect it to return to us,” Dr. Johnson says. “But an honest relationship is one that does take work.” Sometimes, that employment might be enlisting the assistance of a couple’s counselor. Other times, it could just be a weekly check-in for you and your partner to speak about where you stand or how you are feeling.
The easiest thanks to bust the parable of the autopilot relationship is to only be real about the ups and downs in your own. that does not necessarily mean sharing every detail of your therapy appointment, or calling out your S.O. on social media once they neglect to send flowers on your birthday. But it does mean being honest, even just with yourself, about a number of the hurdles you two have crossed together, and therefore the incontrovertible fact that people will have faced some, too, whether or not they mention it openly, or not. “The more people are often frankly authentic and honest and real, the healthier their relationships are going to be,” Dr. Zeising says.