Amid the selfie-dominated and Kardashian-overloaded world of Insta, the tag #relationshipgoals is sweeping social media with approx. 1,650,000 posts (and counting).
Admittedly, these posts are mostly funny and sometimes cute, but is this tag really just a handful of people jokingly tagging their friends for a brief moment of inspo or laughter?
Having recently gone on a date, I was shocked, utterly disappointed and writhing with self doubt when my suitor did not pick me up and toss me above his head Dirty Dancing style.
Isn’t that supposed to happen? I mean, I have seen the images in my feed under the mind-fogging hashtag #relationshipgoals. I know this is how I should be treated.
If I were to go off these posts, my partner would be (24/7) groping my ass, doing push-ups with me sitting aloof on his back, kissing me aimlessly while a creepy third party photographer takes the shot, and looking like he just stepped out of a Calvin Klein ad. And really not much else. No wait, really NOTHING else.
So what does this mean for our generation?
Disappointment. Diminished self-worth. Unrealistic expectations. Over-analysing. Obsession.
Of course, I’m not talking to everyone out there. There are many of you who can admire a picture of a cute couple and continue on with your own relationship in a healthy way. And I’m not saying all relationship goals are unrealistic. It’s probably, maybe, definitely OK to aspire to having someone who respects and supports you, but c'mon guys.
Insane expectations can be destructive in themselves. It may cause an individual to over-analyse the standing of their current relationship, or start to doubt their self worth because they aren’t in a relationship.
Couples cuddling in bed is a recurring theme of these posts. But should I feel uneasy or dissatisfied because my boyfriend and I didn’t cuddle last night? Of course not - mainly because it was bloody hot outside and that would’ve been sadistic. Yet these posts try to induce negative feelings if you aren’t the exact image being unrealistically portrayed.
It’s healthy to aspire, but it becomes problematic when individuals are sucked into this perception of reality. And that’s all some of these posts are. Strategically posed, timed and manipulated to produce an image worthy of likes, love heart eye emojis and "nawww you guys!!" comments.
A wise philosopher once said, “Comparison is the root of all unhappiness.” And while some may be admiring the love of others in a healthy way, there is a large portion of the social media population simply feeling worse about themselves due to this constant comparison.
And I know what some of you are probably thinking. “But I deserve to be loved like that”. And that is completely right, you do. But comparison and expectation can completely overshadow any opportunity you have to enjoy a normal, healthy relationship.
The fact is each relationship is different. Take The Bachelor for example. These women are sharing their ‘boyfriend’ with up to 15 other gals for an extended period of time, for our amusement. I haven’t seen any #relationshipgoals images with this as its inspo, but hey, true love availed… (I think. I dunno. Didn’t watch after Heather left).
Social media has forever forged a blurring line between expectation and reality, giving seemingly unauthentic portrayals of love. A couple bickering would be more appropriate than two people tonguing each other constantly.
There’s no point getting down on your relationship because Tyga bought Kylie a car, or because Alexis Ren and Jay what’s-his-face never seem to stop travelling and taking cute pics with puppies.
And in the words of that guy in that one episode of Friends, “Let’s stop looking at what you don’t do, and start focusing on what you do do” (or something similar).
Illustration by Twylamae, who prefers illustrating Seinfeld to cringe-worthy couples.