I don’t like The Notebook. It’s not Rachel McAdams, she’s an absolute star (obviously.) It’s not the script; it’s not the setting. It’s not the fact that the closing scene made me cry- ugly, snotty, heaving shoulders cry.
It’s because when I trace back the idea that relationships should be all about chaos, about love-hate, about fighting and passion and crying and screaming and breakup sex and makeup sex and unsure feelings and wretched hearts, it’s The Notebook that I always end up at.
Okay, so maybe it’s not Allie and whats-his-name’s fault- after all, I’m sure that this notion has been around since the dawn of time, and I see it in my younger cousins and family friends today still. Either way, I want to make my thoughts on the aforementioned relationship structure known.
To clarify, I’ve been there. After a few lukewarm attempts at jumping into the pool of luurve with some of my cutest male friends, I found myself in a Notebook-esque situation with my first real boyfriend- not straight away, of course, but over time I found the reality of yelling until our voices were hoarse, nights spent numb, and tears by the bucketload. I’m not for one second saying that the situation wasn’t at least a little bit my fault, I’m simply pointing out that some people are not meant to be together, and that thanks to the idea that this is normal, I assumed it was normality for everyone.
The problem is, movies like The Notebook perpetrate the idea that ‘real relationships’ are a constant rollercoaster, that ‘passionate’ is synonymous with ‘resentment-filled’- and I beg to differ. I find it a lot easier to identify with the Marshall and Lily’s of the pop culture world, the Monica and Chandlers, the Olive Pendergast’s parents, than the Mr and Mrs Smiths.
Here are ten reasons why a chilled out relationship with a partner that you actually like, all of the time, is the best thing ever.
- Being part of a team is the best.
All of the not fighting with each other leaves a lot of room for fighting together, as a team. It means that you can express your true feelings without worrying about them losing their cool or distancing themselves from you, and it means that when the tough stuff comes up you’ll feel comfortable that you are on the same team, without necessarily being on the same end of the opinion scale. It means that you’ll always have an ally, and that’s pretty great.
- Fighting all night is exhausting. Watching netflix and snuggling is not.
Seriously, fighting takes a lot of energy! Not just the actual yelling at each other, storming off, driving away thing- but the spilling of tearful beans to your mum, screenshot-littered messages to your bestie, and emotional clean up when it’s all done. Now, imagine that instead of all of that, you didn’t get irritated at their tone of voice when they asked what you’d like for dinner, put on a movie and spent the night in cuddly bliss. You’d be a lot less sleepy in the morning!
- Your parents and friends will genuinely like them.
I’m not saying that they’ll think that they’re a complete dick if you do argue, all I’m saying is that it’s a little hard to make friendly conversation with your friend’s fiancé about their wedding plans when just last week she called you gasping for air between sobs because he’d been out to dinner with his ex girlfriend and stayed the night at her house, or she’d confided in you that she thought that she was being emotionally abused. On the other hand, if you mention casually to your mum how on-top-of-the-world happy your significant other makes you, every day, she’ll probably find it hard not to love them at least a little bit.
- You’ll think that the sun shines out of their bum, even when they forget to take the bins out.
If you’re in a relationship with someone that you only have positive feelings for (aside from the fact that they watched two episodes of Breaking Bad without you and you just don’t understand when you’re meant to catch up if not in your customary Friday night tv binge time), the big stuff doesn’t seem so big, and the little stuff seems not even worth pointing out. Sure, if you’re PMS’ing hardcore you might roll your eyes and put a little barb in your voice about cooking dinner and doing the dishes, but you’ll instantly feel guilty and kiss them on the forehead, to which you’ll get a warm hug and a look of absolute adoration.
- You’ll look forward to the future, instead of stressing about the past.
When I look at my boyfriend (yeah, he’s the sweet, placid, easygoing guy who inspired this article), I think about the future. I think about us smiling as wide as our faces will let us as we stand across from each other at our wedding, I think about playing marco polo with our kids, and swinging them in between us after shouts of 1… 2… 3! gusto. I think of us, white haired and slightly senile, sharing a pot of tea in matching wooly jumpers. Well, not every time I look at him because that would be entirely exhausting, but you get what I mean. Instead of worrying about who he’s been texting, about what secrets have been kept, about whether we’re really on the same page, it’s happy things. Instead of the catch-in-your-throat, lead weight in your belly that comes with a rollercoaster relationship, when I think of him I think of warm things, of contentedness and happiness.
So yeah, it does bother me when my fourteen year old cousin shares photos to her facebook page that say “have you ever missed someone so much that you feel physically sick?” or “true love is about tears and pain, you can’t have a rainbow without a little rain” when her boyfriend has broken her heart or caught it again for the sixtieth time and her young, jaded heart thinks that it’s normal. It does concern me when my high school friend says “everyone knows that fighting is the best thing for a relationship!” because I don’t think that it is- I think the best thing for a relationship is not wanting to slam draws and smash plates in the first place. My voice might be drowned out in the millions of those saying otherwise, but if one person reads this and thinks about how they deserve to be happy, truly, wholly happy; then my work here is done.
Chloe Jane x