Sunday, 10 June 2012
Recently, I hung out with a friend who repeatedly made disparaging comments about long term relationships, marriage etc… He is convinced that people in long term relationships are stupid and are not really happy (of course conveniently ignoring or maybe trying to take a slight jab at me since I am in a long term relationship.)
I just simply said that all people are different. Some people can be happy in long term relationships, some aren’t. He wasn’t too convinced and continued to make cynical remarks, despite the fact (puzzlingly enough) his parents have been happily married for about 30 years, which he admits they seem pretty happy.
A lot of people who are staunchly against long term relationships/marriage are either a.) hurt too much by past experiences (but I’ve found many of those people can be rehabilitated) or b.) they’ve never been in an actual long term relationship or had any real experience with romance.
Those who fall under the “b” category are usually the worst offenders. (Just to note not ALL people who’ve never really experienced romance are cynical. In fact, I would say most aren’t.)
I think those who are cynical towards love AND in the “b” category are that way because they are bitter. They’ve never been in a real relationship that’s lasted. They watch lots of people break up and get hurt so they start to get this smugness “Ha! I’ve never been hurt and I’m better for it!” And the older they get the more critical (and angry towards people in relationships) they become.
They hear about people making mistakes and falling in and out of love and they say “HA! YOU FOOLS!” As if they know better. As if their lack of experience simply makes them “smarter.” As if they “chose” to not be in a relationship because they are so “smart.”
But how can they even know or understand if they’ve never even been in those people’s shoes? Honestly, if you do not have experience, why dole out advice on something you really know nothing at all about?
Whenever I hear about people having issues with their relationships, I don’t rush to judgment, because while I have relationship experience it doesn’t mean I necessarily understand EVERY issue in relationships.
All relationships are dynamic because every person involved is different. Sure they can be some guidelines on what is a successful relationship but it’s not the end all be all; different things work for different people.
So as you can tell, my friend falls under the “b” category. He’s never had a relationship. I’m not really sure he’s ever kissed a girl. There’s actually not much wrong with him so I’m not sure why he’s never been in any kind of romantic situation. But I think with every passing year (he’s now in his late 20s) he becomes more self-conscious of his “lack of experience” and in response he has the following defense mechanism:
“Obviously I’ve never been in a relationship because I CHOOSE not to, because relationships are dumb and only stupid people do it. And it’s a waste of time that prevents you from being successful and satisfied in life. After all it just leads to break-ups and what not etc…” Which is silly because he knows plenty of people who are in relationships and successful and happy. Perhaps he wants to convince himself they really aren’t?
Ultimately, I think the smart thing to do is if you do not have much experience in romance or relationships you should give advice in a limited capacity. Just like I wouldn’t ever try to dictate an opinion to a surgeon regarding some complicated surgery he is about to perform, simply because I have watched live surgeries and looked up procedures online. That would be dumb.
I may suggest options but I wouldn’t act like an authority on such a subject. I wouldn’t give absolutes or make sweeping conclusions. (ie. “Everyone who is in a long term relationship isn’t truly satisfied.”) The same goes for people who lack experience in romance, why act like an authority on a subject you have never experienced?
I guess I’m just frustrated. But do you agree? Shouldn’t people gauge their knowledge base and then respond accordingly? Or are you just like my friend, who thinks he knows everything despite lack of experience?