Dating: Judge Me

Let’s talk about judgement.
A few weeks ago, a close friend and I were sitting in a group taking a relationship quiz. One of my friends directed a question at me because I was one of two people in a relationship: If your boyfriend decided to move on with another girl, how would you take it?

Granted, I don’t like to think about that happening, but I told her that if it did, I would certainly be hurt, but I would also have to understand that the new girl must make him happier than I ever could. So, no, I wouldn’t be jealous, at least not to an obnoxious degree, because I just want him to be happy.

My close friend that I mentioned looked at my funny and then said in a loud voice that she would actually be furious if her boyfriend left her for someone else; it’s weird that I wouldn’t be!

She’s actually really awesome; I realize that story makes her seem crazy. She’s not! But I was a little annoyed. “That’s so weird!” has been directed at my relationship a lot, probably because while my boyfriend and I knew each other in high school, we didn’t actually start dating until we got to college, by which time it was long-distance. I can take people poking fun at my relationship (we’re pretty unconventional), but passing judgement? Ouch.

Realistically, someone will always think they know your relationship as well as you do. And while it can be nice to hear, “Trust me, I recognize this problem. I’ve totally been there,” it’s also important to remember that, as Charlotte says in the "Sex and the City" movie: “Every relationship is different.”

I can honestly say I had a relationship fall apart from judgements. Granted, it was high school, and people were judging like it was going out of style, but that still happens in college (you can take the kid out of high school, but...)! I’ve heard high school never really ends, and from what I’ve seen, that is certainly true.

I was so busy mentally noting what my boyfriend and I weren’t doing and how we didn’t measure up to all of my friends’ standards that I forgot what I wanted from the relationship. Tip: The most important two people in a couple? The couple. I was so concerned with “getting it right” that I damaged and lost a guy who wasn’t just a great boyfriend, but also a great friend. Disclaimer: A lot of other things played into our breakup, but I can say that outside opinions definitely had a role.

It can be hard to tune out the opinions of best friends and family members. And you shouldn’t have to, honestly. Just don’t get swept away by the views from people on the “outside.” Of course, don’t become the “YOU DON’T KNOW MY LIFE” couple either; trust me, someone’s been through it, and even if they haven’t, human empathy goes a long way. Don’t be the jerk who assumes their experiences are too weighty and worldly for other people to understand. 

By all means, get opinions from friends, especially about fights and long-term commitments. But when someone starts passing judgements on your relationship, (“You guys aren’t nearly as close as you need to be,” or “I can’t believe you haven’t done [insert act here] yet!”), remember that as a couple your connection with one another is a lot more significant than a few checked-off boxes on a To-Do list.

Unless that person is your boyfriend’s sister or mother, you generally know him better than the friend telling you how wrong you’re getting it. And such harsh words can be unnerving, especially early in a relationship. You’re nervous enough as it is; why mix in more insecurities?

I have a general rule for myself that I established after my horrifically failed relationship back in high school: Ask for your friend’s opinions, but always check back in with yourself. Do they have a point? Ask them why they’re saying what they’re saying. Does that fit with your relationship? Are you comfortable with that? Are you doing it to help your relationship, or are you doing it because it’s what everyone else told you to do?

For example: I’m currently in a long-distance relationship, and my boyfriend and I do pretty stupid things for each other. When I try to tell some of my friends what we’re up to (ridiculous mix CD for Valentine’s Day, yo) some of them think it’s strange. And that’s okay -- they just don’t want that in their relationship. It doesn’t mean I don’t let my friends help with the tracklist; I just don’t let them influence the fundamentals of my relationship. Yes, it can be fun to compare hook-up stories, but don’t hook-up unless you’re ready! I’ll repeat what I said earlier: the most important people in the couple is the couple.

But if a friend is verbally worried about you and your safety in a relationship, always give them more than just a passing glance. Chances are they’re nervous to mention it to you because they don’t want to hurt you or your happy-couple-ness. And that’s not judgement; that’s love.

By: Alise Murawski 


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