A little while ago, Jozen C brought up the discussion of people being too busy to be in a relationship. Folks in the comment section went back and forth on what they thought was right. Could you in fact be too busy for a relationship or was it a cop-out, and it really meant that you hadn’t found the person who made you want to take time out for them?
Well, you know my stance on this already. Pure Cop-out status.
But what the conversation really made me think about was the generational difference of opinion concerning relationships. It seems to be my generation that has decided that if you really want to grind it out, you can’t risk losing or wasting time by working on a relationship as well – so the best thing to do is to have your FWB on the side. This arrangement seemingly allows you all the perks of a relationship without having to work for it.
Now, I’ve mentioned before how I think friends with benefits is a road to unnecessary complications. But I have to say that I find it hilarious that so many people feel like that route is the best alternative, simply because while it does allow you to normally have some of the perks of a relationship – you also really miss out on most of the best perks of a relationship. Sure, you can get sex anytime you want. But if you get sick, your FWB’s not bringing you soup to help you feel better. Maybe you can go on dates with your FWB, but if it’s a bad day and you need your hair rubbed or a big bear hug – FWB ain’t gonna cut it.
These are things our parents and grandparents knew. Yeah, they were on the grind just as much as we are – but still, they made sure there was going to be someone at home for them when they needed a hug after a long day of working. Hell, if you look at the show Mad Men, all the men and women on the show are vying for different power positions, but unlike us, they find that they are more powerful when joined with someone than alone.
So what’s wrong with us? Where did this change come from? I have a few theories. I think part of it is that more women are striving for those power roles and positions than before. In the time of Mad Men (or at least the time the show takes place in), men were the ones working hard days and long hours outside of the home – so when they came home, they came home to women who made it their role to comfort their man. Now, we have just as many women working long hours and hard days outside of the home as well. With both people working hard (and grinding), a relationship becomes a bit more work and thus for some, can seem like an added distraction from the career goal at hand.
Another thing that happened was that the definition of a relationship progressed to something that should be mutually beneficial for both parties. No longer was a woman just in a relationship to follow the man’s lead and make children; now we demand expectations as well – a fact that certainly changes the dynamics from what relationships were in the 1950s. At that time, the woman’s feelings were basically an afterthought, obviously making pulling off a successful relationship less work for the man.
Finally, I believe that our generation didn’t grow up with the social expectations to get married right after high school or soon thereafter. 50 years ago women went to college to meet their husband. Now, women go to college to make their own careers (and maybe meet a husband while doing so lol).
All of these things affect the dynamics of what it takes to make a relationship work – but it still really doesn’t explain why a large portion of us has resigned ourselves to believing that we can’t have both: a successful career and a successful love life. We talk as if, if we were to find love, we’d be less likely to keep striving for our career goals. As if those things are mutually exclusive. As if finding the person we want to spend the rest of our lives with threatens our chances for being successful in our careers. So we settle. Men, women – we all settle and begin to focus strictly on our careers, the things that’s tangible and less complicated. And I wonder if we’re worse off because of it. Personally – I want both and I plan on getting both. What about you?