Recently, the terms “couple goals” and “relationship goals” have become a social media phenomenon. @Couplegoals is an Instagram page with over four million followers, and the hashtag #relationshipgoals has over nine million posts. These words are thrown around in chart-topping songs and used regularly to describe these sometimes over-the-top, sometimes sweet, sometimes bizarre snapshots of “real love.” We consume images of couples posed to look intimate, and the world can’t seem to get enough.
There are couples walking hand-in-hand on the beach, laughing while grocery shopping, kissing in Paris, and resting their feet on each other in business class on their way to a mystery vacation. These images have become the standard for #couplesgoals, and their Instagram comments are inundated with praise and compliments by random onlookers and friends alike. But are these snapshots a reality or a reel? By the way, who takes these pictures?!
Anyway, the hashtags #couplegoals and #relationshipgoals are easily the single girls’ kyrpotnite. We see these photos and our heart drops a little, not necessarily out of jealousy, but because damn, we want that feeling. The world seems obsessed with super cute couples appearing head over heels in love with each other, and sometimes, admittedly, how can someone not love these photos? Some of these pictures really do ooze love. However, it seems like every time I open my Instagram, it’s lit with some inflated idea of relationship glory. This is how love should look, this is how love should be, and this is what you should have or aspire to attain. Whether a celebrity couple or one of those random YouTube stars earning a living off of their relationship via Vlogging, these couples are enough to drive a single girl mad. As LovePankey.com put it, “…it’s because we think that’s reality, and we wish it was ours. We wish we had someone to hold us just like the person in the image is holding their ‘loved one.’” I felt that quote in my soul. As single women, we often view these relationships as unattainable when, actually, these couples should be an inspiration. The couples not showing out for the ‘Gram, but genuinely sharing glimpses into their love, are so beautiful, and I’m inspired by their joy. Nevertheless, not long after studying one of these posts, fear starts to creep in, making me wonder if I will ever have that picture-perfect love.
The issue with these #relationshipgoals and #couplegoals pictures is that often times, they’re not real. Sometimes, sure, they’re real, but even then, those photos are merely one still frame of a person’s life. The anniversary dates, special surprises, sweet shoutouts – sure, those definitely carry validity, but let’s be real, all of these posts are hardly a depiction of life in a relationship. I mean, think about it – can you imagine if your favorite couple posted a photo with a caption that read, “This dude just liked his ex’s picture, twice, and I spent the last hour questioning if what we have is real”? Of course not! Nobody posts pictures of the hardships relationships endure; they’re posting their highlight reel.
Earlier this week, Jada Pinkett Smith released a video-gone-viral where she shared that “being in love” meant learning how to deal with devastation. She dropped some gems, y’all, and while I hated to hear her advice, I absolutely agreed with the message she shared. You must find someone you love more than the devastation they cause you. Do you hear that, sis? All that glitters is not gold.
Social media has opened up space where couples can highlight their joy and love for the world, and that’s a beautiful thing, but that does not mean it’s always accurate and honest. These couples write the sweetest captions to and about their loved ones, but in some cases, those same people have never said those words to each other in real life. They pose in matching outfits that the wife had to beg her husband to wear. There’s a sweet image of that same couple laying in bed together on Saturday morning, but the wife never revealed that her husband didn’t walk in the house until 4AM. The Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Valentine’s Day posts leave out the fact that the couple argued over who they followed on Snapchat the night before.
It’s important to understand, in general, that social media is a place where you celebrate your highs and rarely announce yours lows. You never know how many moments of disappointment are behind that particular moment your favorite couple just posted.
Not all of those pictures are full of junk, though. Some of them depict real couple goals. I have my fair share of friends who are actually, truly #relationshipgoals. Bigger than #couplegoals or #relationshipgoals, they are #familygoals and #lifegoals, too. I not only admire their relationship, but I admire their journey and their honesty. The way they share their love is genuine, and the snapshots they post fill me with hope.
On the flipside, I know people who are promoting a C+ relationship like an A+ relationship, and too many of you are falling for it.
I challenge every single person to define #relationshipgoals. Define this without a photo. Take some time to really think about what qualities and characteristics of a relationship matter to you. These answers matter far more than an Instagram-worthy photo on your boyfriend’s lap.
To me, #relationshipgoals means you are with someone who genuinely knows you and loves you without judgement, someone who loves your flaws, quirks, and shortcomings. When I think about #relationshipgoals, I know that these goals cannot exist without love, patience, tolerance, and security. Those are non-negotiable. Above all else, the ultimate #relationshipgoal is happiness. I pray to be happy more than I am devastated.
This Post Has 8 Comments
E LA18 Aug 2018
I say this all the time to anyone who will listen!! Don’t let those posed instagrams make you feel like love is this easy amazing ride. While it is all of that, the shit is hard as hell at the same damn time. I love to see happy couples share their love but I do wish more couples would be more honest about the ride. So our single friends can manage their expectations. So many people have a hard time finding and staying in love because they don’t have a realistic expectation of what love is. My fiancé is my best friend. But he also gets on my last nerve. And makes me work on the deepest darkest parts of myself. So while there are romantic trips and I love waking up to him every morning, there’s also a lot that happens that forces us both to look inside and grow. And sometime not so gracefully either. And that’s real life! We do a disservice when we only share the highlights. That’s just my opinion. Xo.
Ashley Weatherspoon19 Aug 2018
Ummmm… I’m obsessed with your opinion!! LOL I was trying to capture exactly what you said here: " I do wish more couples would be more honest about the ride. So our single friends can manage their expectations. So many people have a hard time finding and staying in love because they don’t have a realistic expectation of what love is."
Do you want to just take over and write for me please??! 😉 LOL
Thanks for reading!
Erica L’Alease24 Aug 2018
Lol awe thanks! Thank you for sharing! You’re doing a great job! I LOVE reading g and I’m so happy you’re having honest authentic dialogue! It’s neccessary for us to all have honest convo with ourselves and others. It’s how we all heal. But if you do decide to take on another writer I’m here for you!! I have so much to say lol. And I sincerely want the best for all people. Sending much love!
Ashley Weatherspoon12 Sep 2018
ERICA! Thank you so much!! This is so awesome and exciting…. I’m in the process of revamping my site and it will have a section for other women to upload their own stories! 🙂
You were my little confirmation this is a good idea…. November Young Queen. Waiting on November.
Rosie18 Aug 2018
Wow! I wish all my single girls can read this. Everything you wrote is so true, there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship- like my mom always says “you don’t know what happens behind closed doors”. Thanks for sharing your writing never disappoints.
P.S. you should totally be a therapist 😂
Ashley Weatherspoon19 Aug 2018
What’s the famous saying? "The grass isn’t always greener on the other side." Sometimes it’s astroturf. 😉
anonymous10 Dec 2018
Are you taking a jab at karruche and victor Cruz with this article since their relationship is going strong? Since you so opinionated about relationships how do you feel about Elaina, victors baby mama, calling him out the way she did? Everyone thinks she confirmed the mad black woman by being so enraged. I’m asking because your an associate of hers. Elaina must feel like a fool for trying to hold onto victor for so long but she lost in the end lol. She played herself. Women better make their own money/fortune and not try to be in a mans life just because you know he’s a high earner. The gold digging is real lol. Elaina is not professional for the way she handled the situation. Im not on anyone’s side I’m just saying.
Ashley Weatherspoon11 Dec 2018
Let’s clarify something. I don’t take jabs at people I consider family. Victor is still my brother & Elaina is still my sister. Riddle me that. Isn’t maturity pretty cool? It is wild how this blog made your mind spiral into all these thoughts though.
There’s actually a lot in your comment I could unpack but unfortunately you made assumptions, accusations, and some downright nasty comments about real people from my life that you don’t know. That actually says a lot more about you than the woman you just tried to drag.
We have too many women tearing other women down Young Queen, don’t spend your time trying to be like them. xo