Does your partners’ age matter to you? Their height, their preferences, their opinions, are any of those things a dealbreaker for you? They may or may not be, the point is that you get to define your own relationship values. When society barrages you with different values and opinions, they pay no heed to what you may want from your own life, only what society demands of you.
You get to choose when you want to get married, not the neighbors. You get to define if the age gap matters for you or not, not your acquaintances. The opinions of your close friends are invariably taken into consideration, but the decision, at the end of the day, lies with you. After all, other people don’t really get your partner like you do, right?
Let’s have a conversation about the important values in a relationship and how they differ from person to person. Should the people around you get to define your relationship values, or should it just be treated as a difference of opinions?
Difference Of Opinion About Relationships Influence Our Decisions
My cousin has just heard about a wedding, and upon learning about the age difference between the bride and the groom, she exclaims, “Eight years!? That is way too much.” I, for one, have always believed that age shouldn’t get in the way of love. “That’s all right, I think,” I said mildly.
She vehemently argued that it was a recipe for disaster, even calling it a ticking time bomb. I knew it was futile to contradict her, for her husband is barely a couple of years older than her, but I am reminded of someone I’d recently met, who had proudly confessed to me that her boyfriend was fifteen years older than her. “I’m so lucky and so happy,” she’d dimpled. “It is so good to be with someone who takes complete care of you.”
This tendency to put everything under one blanket and assume that what worked for you will work for everyone else surprises me no end. We seem to have the most deep-rooted opinions when it comes to love and relationships. Take the example of fights in a romantic relationship. While I have friends who swear that having arguments is a sign of a ‘healthy’ relationship, there are those who would rather die than contradict a word their partner says.
Common sense seems to say that just as constant quarreling could destroy a relationship, so could complete silence. And yet, I’m always hearing how it must be one way or the other, no middle path. No two people view relationships the same way, hence, a difference of opinion can sometimes be tackled by saying something like “we are two different people”.
Differences In Relationships Exist All Around
Differences in relationships can be in your own dynamic or while comparing yours to others. The idea of the ‘best couple’ can even dictate the way you two choose to spend your time on the weekends! You may just be looking forward to a quiet evening cuddled up with your partner, but that’s not what the ‘best couple’ does, hence you must do something exciting.
Take, for example, the idea of gifts. You like people, you give them gifts. Sometimes they give you gifts too, sometimes they don’t. It should really be as simple as that but apparently isn’t. There is a complex thought process behind the giving and receiving. “I don’t think couples who constantly give each other gifts have a stable relationship,” a friend says, “They’re just showing off; their feelings aren’t really deep. It isn’t necessary to give out presents to display your affection!”
I didn’t agree but didn’t retaliate either. I can detect a sliver of dissatisfaction just beneath the smug surface. Perhaps it is her suppressed wish for a more flamboyant ring, an extravagant date or a random bouquet of flowers that she has learned to camouflage. Passing off her deep desires as disdain, she instead basks under her virtuous glow of love-without-consumerism as being ‘true’ love, which is above and beyond shallow showmanship. She tries to make me acknowledge this, except that I never do.
Related Reading: 11 Reasons Why You Must Date Your Polar Opposite
Your Relationship Values Shouldn’t Be Defined By Those Around You
I will never accept that one must have a late marriage. Or an early one, for that matter. As if there were some sort of predetermined set of rules for that. I will never forget how a friend, who had been married for just a month, said to me, “You better get married quickly, or else you are going to regret it later on. A couple needs to grow and evolve together!” I thought it was rather funny coming from this girl, who, not so long ago had been as happy-go-lucky as me and refused to even discuss the ‘M’ word.
In hindsight, at least she was not as bad as my other friend, who told me, “A woman must get married by twenty-four, and must have a child by the next year, else she will go mad.” She was, no doubt, referring to women who had in the past been driven to the point of hysteria by a cruel and unforgiving society. But to actually believe in this baseless fact and to try to pass it on to me and so many others? It seems more condescending than helpful.
What gives people, even those close to you, the right to assume that they can coax, cajole, frighten and threaten you into accepting their point of view? There must be as many types of love and as many dimensions of relationships in this world as there are people. Who is anyone to say, with any certainty, that ‘A’ will work and ‘B’ won’t? Anyone daring to act on their own free will is immediately labeled foolish and overconfident.
Take charge of your own relationship values
People love to poke their nose in your business, especially those who think they know better than you. “Haven’t we seen it all?” the elders say. “We are here to advise you”, the experienced ones say. Newspapers and magazines are full of agony aunts contradicting each other and giving confusing relationship advice. Voices gush out from the radio and TV, telling us what is wrong in our relationships and what we must do to make them right.
Related Reading: The 10 Different Types Of Husbands
What a circus! Tell me, in the end, does any of this work? All the perspectives, experiences and ideas, might be fun to listen to and might even be relatable in some cases, but just as no two thumbprints are alike, similarly, the emotional radars of two different people are not the same either. While similarities might exist, no one is the exact replica of the other.
It makes sense, then, to stop being so judgmental of one another and shooting down any idea that is contrary to ours. For, after all, love is similar to postmodernism: it carries with it no absolute truth or objective reality. We can have multiple interpretations about it, but then no interpretation is final, and none absolute.
What’s better for you in your relationship is completely for you and your partner to decide. All the advice out there might tell you that one type is definitely better than the other, but the truth is, what’s best for you is solely for you to decide. Different values exist everywhere, it’s how you navigate through them that matters.
How to deal with different beliefs in a relationship is as easy as communicating with your partner. Establish a no-judgment environment and honestly communicate your feelings about the different beliefs you two hold. Try to come to a compromise or a promising conclusion from the relationship, and you’ll see your bond getting stronger.
If both of you have different goals and expectations from the relationship, the chances of it succeeding are hampered because of it. Even so, communicating openly about your goals, expectations and values should get the ball rolling towards a healthier dynamic.