Have you seen this hashtag floating around the internet? It’s being used by everyone from lust-led teenagers to national newspapers and is pinned on to photos of doe-eyed looking celeb couples or a stock photo of two beautiful people appearing to be very much in love. It’s used to sum up the best a relationship can be, because after all, aren’t we all striving for something better?
Actually, no. Just as the media portrays unhealthy physical ideals, it does the same mentally. In soap opera, Hollywood films and books, romance is used to uplift an audience and give us the warm fuzzies, and of course it works. But this hashtag isn’t about romance, it’s about fantasy. When we’re consistently drip-fed expectations, it can cloud our reality and what if that actually affects our ability to be happy in the relationships we have?
Having looked at the sorts of things people attach #RelationshipGoals to, I’ve realised that those who use it can be split into two tribes: The Curtis Clan and the Poehler Posse.
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The Curtis Clan bases their #RelationshipGoals on the entire works of Richard Curtis – the King of the Chick Flick. These goals are full of kisses in the rain, serenades in public and women wearing their boyfriend’s shirts in bed. It’s public displays of affection, all smooches caught on camera and listening to ‘their’ song.
The Curtis Clan replicate that fucking photo of that woman holding her boyfriend’s disembodied hand as they travel the world together (don’t these people have jobs?). It’s ‘the way he looks at her’, calling them ‘bae’ and having so much fun playfully splashing each other in the sea before saving an injured seal pup and teaching the indigenous local people how to fill in their tax returns.
It’s having someone who constantly tells you you’re beautiful, that they can’t live without you, that every message ends in a heart-eyed emoji an private lolz at your cute pet names.
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The Poehler Posse takes their #RelationshipGoals inspiration from quirky couples on late night BBC3 comedies and the ‘she’s so weird but her man adores her’ protagonists like Amy Poehler’s ‘Parks and Recreation‘ character, Lesley Knope. This group wants to be Jess from New Girl, Mindy Kaling and Caroline Todd from Green Wing. Oh look, they’re so ditzy and everyone’s best mate yet perpetually single until she inevitably finds that one man who puts up with her farting/PMS/demands for ice cream without so much as a blink.
The guys here are either zapped of personality and follow the women around like lapdogs, or are awkward, bumbling funny men who someone turn their dry wit and sarcasm around to then proclaim their undying love in an incredibly extravagant way.
It’s just so adorable how they sing TV theme tunes together an take selfies covered in flour from their unsuccessful attempt at home baking. He has to help her when she can’t figure out why her computer won’t switch on (it’s not plugged in, silly, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!!!) an forgives her instantly for burning a hole in his favourite shirt when she makes an adorable attempt at being domesticated.
From the outside, everyone’s relationship seems ideal, because why would anyone publicly share the shitty bits? I’ve been totally guilty of putting pressure on myself and my relationship based on society’s expectations of milestones and life achievements; it is hard not to get pulled in and worry about the future. But over the last few month’s I’ve come to realise I only have one #RelationshipGoal: Just be happy.