Relationship tunnel vision

Sex on Tuesday

Last Wednesday during “National Boyfriend Day,” taken people posted cute pictures of themselves and their boyfriends to express their appreciation for their beaus to the Internet world. Amongst all the “OMG I LOVE MY BOYFRIEND SO MUCH” posts, the one that stood out to me the most was, “It’s a day to make single people feel bad.” Oh, hell no.

No one ever really posts about the downsides of being a couple. Let’s knock couples off their pedestal of bliss for a minute and talk about what relationship people don’t have going on. The type of relationship I’m referring to is monogamous relationships, that are not long-distance, in which the couple spends a lot of time together.

People in relationships may have the advantage of a steady, constant stream of sex and unlimited booty calls. But taken people tune out the rest of the world that doesn’t concern their relationship.

For example, a close friend and I planned a trip to Los Angeles months in advance, and she reassured me multiple times that she would give me a ride down. But then out of the blue she told me that she didn’t want to drive me anymore because her boyfriend had made plans for them to go with another couple. The best part was when her boyfriend told me on her behalf that I wouldn’t be able to get a ride with them and that I should make other plans.

It’s great that monogamous individuals care about their partners so much. But when people only care about their partner and no one else around them, it’s not only selfish but also exasperating. As their relationship starts to take more precedence, people in relationships fail to consider the feelings of the people surrounding them.

Most people have probably experienced having their good friend go into a relationship and then never seeing that friend again. It’s annoying when you ask your taken friend you haven’t hung out with in a while to go out with you, and they choose to spend the night in with their partner, again.

I understand that I can’t offer my friend the satisfaction of an easy lay — easy being the operative word here — but I can offer a stimulating conversation over wine or a series of memorable, albeit drunken, mishaps in the city. We all have busy lives, and whenever you do have some time to spare, it is easier to hang out with your partner by default because it’s much less effort than seeking out your friends. But this doesn’t send a good message to others who care about you. Friendships wither the longer you ignore them.

My close friends in relationships tend to flake out on countless plans and show absolutely no initiative to stay in touch. Honey, I love you, and I want to be there for you. But I don’t feel like holding you when you cry after you’ve taken me for granted throughout the length of your relationship.

If you’re in a relationship, and you want any hope of having someone to cry on and bitch to at the end of the day, take the effort to stay connected and be in the lives of those who are not your significant other. If you want people there for you when things get rough, you’re expected to do the same and be around enough to know when your friends need you. Look up once in a while to see if you are satisfied with your other social relationships. It’s not that hard to stay connected with people. Just check in and ask how they are doing over a meal.

There’s no denying the happiness that comes from being in a relationship with someone you love. It’s natural to want to spend time with your partner. But there’s also no denying that it’s important to invest time in other parts of your life, such as your personal goals and nonromantic relationships.

If the relationship with your partner ends, it’s important to have other things to continue with so your whole life doesn’t feel like it’s come to an end. And even if it doesn’t end, it’s healthy for you and your partner to have your own lives with less codependency. After all, your partner did fall for the individual you used to be, in the life you used to have by yourself.

Some couples have this down in that both individuals make it a point to hang out with other people and take time away from each other. It takes awareness amidst all the love and happiness you feel from your relationship to stay invested in other parts of your life and prioritize things you care about other than your partner. Finding that balance is probably what makes your life feel complete, not just that one person.

So on the next Valentine’s Day, maybe couples should take the time to think about how much their relationship is taking over their lives. Because even though they’re not blatantly being showered with affection, most singles are probably powering through their day, doing new things and branching out in order to meet new people. And those singles definitely don’t have anything to feel bad about, thank you very much.

Contact Nadia Cho at [email protected] and on Twitter @nadiiacho.