Lorrie Lynn: Relationships aren’t recipes


Credit: Lorrie Lynn. Used with permission.

Lorrie Lynn

I’m getting the feeling more and more that one of the biggest things people on the hunt for a relationship want to find is messed-up-ness, but a fixable messed-up-ness; not to be confused with truly-damaged-aka-normal-messed-up-ness. It’s the new oh-so-beautiful-and-quirky-yet-soulful Zooey Deschanel/Edward Cullen of the emotional ideal. Interesting and thoughtful and physically gorgeous but emotionally torn; someone who needs someone to tell them they’re okay. Someone who needs to be held, but still wants to spontaneously leap around in fields of daisies and feel passionate about things only a hint less significant than their significant other themselves.

Girls find themselves reinforcing this popular ideal, blogging and tweeting and talking to their potential love interests about these feelings, voicing them through John Green quotes scribbled on paint chips and The Perks of Being a Wallflower GIFS and Bukowski words taken out of context. Boys find themselves encouraging it, sometimes participating (though this is less frequent) in the self-deprecation as well. We say gender roles have completely evolved, but I’m not so sure. It seems to me that guys and girls alike are falling into the same old boxes, just with different labels, and it’s harder than ever to climb out of them.

The problem is that we’re still following the same old conventional recipes. People still use formulas to put together “the perfect person.” The “ideal” that I mentioned above is only an elaboration in some of those formulas we all are all too familiar with:

1) Stunningly beautiful + smart + dependent but not needy + innocent but mysterious = new and improved damsel in distress.

2) Athletic + scholarly + sensitive + rumored to be a good kisser = revamped prince of the modern 2013 fairytale.

3) Become “official” (whatever that means) after z-times “hanging out” + x-amount of time together in person/week + introduction to family at y-week of dating = perfect relationship.

Humans were made for community, and wanting something closer is completely natural. Where we get in trouble is in wanting the unnatural perfection of the idealized relationship, and by wanting the stereotypical “girl” or “guy” we’ve always dreamed of. Wanting and pining after someone is the easiest part, and it’s hopelessly addicting. But if we want to go the extra mile, we need to break the mold and work for the other person just as much as ourselves.

Each of us is a beautifully complex creature, not to be diminished by some little code a member of the opposite sex uses to deem us a worthy partner. Everyone has problems and everyone is damaged, just as everyone likes to feel needed or be held, even if only for a millisecond. These are all natural human experiences, and the only way you’re going to end up “forever alone” (for the love of Aphrodite, please stop using that term, people) is if you tamper with them or ignore them in order to fulfill your own selfish fantasies.

What do you think?