While strolling into town with my housemate last night we shared our current boy dramas, a standard enough conversation, one which actually occurs daily. And as we empathized, laughed and shook our heads a question occurred to me; Did our parents generation simply settle? My own parents are completely happy after nearly twenty five years of marriage, but are they the exception? Did the majority of their generation just get married because they felt they had to?
The reality is that we as young strong women have literally no idea what to expect from relationships, when are we expecting too much, when are we expecting too little? These answers can be pieced together by our Irish experiences of relationships and also by the filtration of the media into our everyday lives. As a country Ireland is still tentative about the subject of divorce. Divorce is still a strange idea in Irish public forum, with archaic administration and lengthy legislation dragging the process out. Divorce banishes the idea that people are together forever, and we are the first generation of young Irish women to have divorce be such a tangible reality.
Growing up during the rise of Celtic Tiger Ireland has left us with some confused ideas, we were the first generation given the gift of endless opportunity, we could be whatever we liked when we grew up, there were no limits, the world was our oyster, until the economy collapsed and it all suddenly went very very dark. This naive hopefulness has spilled over to our personal lives, we expect fireworks, princesses and unicorns when we set our sights on a relationship. What we are faced with is probably best described as jigsaw pieces that simply don’t fit. Should we abandon our hope and simply settle on the best frog we’ve kissed? Is this the recession buster solution to our relationships?
Its no secret that films, books, magazines, and now even social media are projecting to us what to expect from relationships. The ‘Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus‘ and ‘He’s Just Not That Into You‘ debates pull and push our expectations. We shouldn’t expect a man to understand us… but we should also consider that he’s refusing to listen to us… not because he doesn’t care but because men can’t help us because they don’t understand… but maybe he does understand but he just doesn’t care… because maybe he’s not interested in you in the first place. Confusing? Yes!
Maybe there is no such thing as The One or Prince Charming. This is initially disappointing, but then I start to see that maybe this makes life a little easier. Maybe I don’t have to wait for the fanfare, maybe I let go of my Disney expectations of relationships. But I feel a sense of nostalgia, I want to ride off into the sunset, isn’t that what I was promised? By giving up on this am I already settling?
Every Girl? Perfect wedding, perfect man, fact or fiction?
This is certainly a big can of worms, pass me a glass of wine and tell me your thoughts on this!