The Elderly Couple, or Why I No Longer Take Relationship Advice


old couple

I stumbled half-alive into the kitchen at one in the morning today, after a very stressful shift at my retail job (the ONE year I have a boyfriend on Valentine’s Day I have to work…don’t you wish you could be so lucky?) As I was setting my wallet and phone on the dining table, my eyes wandered over to the previous day’s newspaper. The front cover of the local news section was taken up entirely by a picture of a very old couple, with a headline that said, “VALENTINES FOR LIFE” in the most in-your-face way imaginable for a newspaper. Scrolling down the page, a very old black-and-white photograph of two toddlers sported the caption, “They share all their childhood memories–and he carries the picture to prove it.”

I know every year the media likes to remind us of what true love is, or whatever their twisted, warped idea of it may be. But 50 years from now, will my closest friends be married to the same people? Will I be married to the same man? How many of us will even actually get to the point where they like it enough to put a ring on it? Is that even a realistic hope anymore: a meaningful marriage that lasts for the rest of your life?

Let’s face it: our generation (born late 80’s or later) sucks in relationships. We grew up in a world of instant gratification and chronic, irreversible lethargy. From day one we have been groomed to give up if it’s too hard the first time and lose patience in anything that lasts any longer than about five seconds.  We can’t even muster up the energy to get up and change the channel if the TV remote is broken, let alone put any effort into a long-term relationship.

How many people stay with the same person for more than a year nowadays, especially our age?  Not nearly as many people as we like to believe.  Sure, we have that one friend that’s had the same boyfriend or girlfriend since 9th grade, but that’s that ONE friend.  Now before you say that it has to do with maturity or age or anything like that, how do you explain the elderly couple that have been together their ENTIRE LIVES?  How do you explain that??

Another thing that is killing the way this society looks at love and marriage is the way the media makes us think about ourselves and the people around us.  Think of all the songs on the radio about cheating, breakups and one-night-stands.  I bet an hour of your favorite local station will provide at least ten examples of such- no matter the genre, no matter the artist, no matter the station.  Or the magazines at the check-stand at that grocery store you always go to, the one plastered with the photoshopped image of an enviable celebrity and headlines about how your sex life, love life, and every other part of your existence needs to be drastically improved?  What about advise columns, even?  That’s ONE person’s opinion.  Why is one person more right than anyone else?  Because they went to college?  Because they have a degree in Journalism, they know more about YOUR relationship than you, who is actually experiencing it?

The elderly couple came from a different time.  Back then, it was much easier not to let outside sources get in the way of how you feel or interact with your significant other.  Back then it was normal to marry young and build a lasting marriage.  Not saying people back then were necessarily any happier, or any more right for each other, but people back then didn’t consider divorce to be such an easy way out as they do now.  People didn’t get divorced, because in their mind it wasn’t really an option.  Sure, it was legal, but back then you were looked down upon if you broke up a seemingly “happy home” with a divorce and destroyed the family dynamic for the children.  So people stayed and worked out their problems and 40 years later, they are still together and still very deep in love because they were able to get through the bumps in the road.

Who does that now?  Many times, especially with us younger folk, as soon as the going gets tough people walk away.  No longer is it fun to call your girlfriend in the middle of the night because instead of talking dirty to you, she complains about something you did to offend her.  You stop calling because you don’t know what you did.  She gets angrier and keeps leaving angry voicemails   You don’t respond to texts, and pretty soon, you are telling her that you just don’t feel the same way as you did before and that you would prefer to see other people.  And for what?  Because you were too much of a wuss to man up and solve your problems?  Two days ago you two were planning out your future home and now you’re gone because you didn’t know how to address an obvious issue?  What do you think they did back in the day when couples married when they were teens?  They were no more mature than us necessarily.  But they were brought up on a strong foundation that you do not run from your problems, especially when it comes to family and the ones who matter most to you.

What happened to people talking it out?  What happened to people thinking before taking drastic actions?  This is why the divorce rate is so high in this country.  People no longer see love as permanent.  They see it as fleeting and easily replaced, like their iPhone’s or their tablets or their Xbox’s  and they figure they can find something somewhere else that’s easier.  People who still love each other leave because they don’t know how to solve the basic problems that will pop up in any relationship.  They over-analyze and compare their relationship to what the tabloids and the movies say that love should be like, and if it isn’t as romantic or sexy or EASY as people expect to be, they take off because it isn’t perfect.

I will let you know from experience that in my current relationship there were times that I was sure it was over.  But we talked it through and he’s still in my life and we are still (for the most part) happy.  If we hadn’t, I’d be on to the next boy already and the cycle would repeat until I was no longer young or hot enough to spark such intense, short-term infatuation.

And it DOES get better after you work things out!  Intimacy is better, kissing is better, even just sitting on a park bench eating a burger is better because you got through the hard stuff and stuck it out.  It’s a lot like reconciling with your best friend after a power struggle.  Do you think you and your best friend would be where you are in your lives today if you didn’t have a disagreement or two?  Don’t say you have never at least scolded your bestie, either.  That’s a complete lie.  If you care about someone, you don’t just give up because they’re pissed off that you were 45 minutes late to pick them up.  You grow a pair (yes, you too, ladies!) and admit you’re wrong and resolve your problems like GROWN ADULTS.  I don’t care who said what on Twitter, or what happened to Britney Spears’ marriage, or even how your favorite movie ended.  Every relationship is different and no one but you and your partner will truly know what exactly to do when things start to go south, and you have to figure it out together.

I doubt that elderly couple took much romantic advise from a tabloid anyway.  And they sure didn’t consult the many internet zombies that seem to know how to keep a relationship going when they obviously have nothing better to do than give people faulty and misinformed information in uncensored forums.  Don’t listen to anyone else!  If it’s right, you will know.  No one else can determine that for you.

Just sayin’.

I’m DJ Selenium and my show, Party Rock Shock, is every Wednesday at 4pm PST on kssu.com.  I play Dubstep, House, Drum & Bass, Jpop, Electropop, and the occasional Trance or Hardstyle.  I also drop my own beats in my spare time.  For more info about me, my music, or my radio show, DUBscribe on Youtube, follow me on SoundCloud or Twitter, or like me on Facebook or join the Party Rock Shock Facebook Group.

Peace out, people.  Don’t do anything stupid.

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