If It Seems Too Good To Be True, It Is

Here’s the situation: I log on to Facebook and read a status that goes something like this

Had the most amazing weekend with my love. He is my rock. I love you babe!”

Or perhaps it’s this:

“Look what was delivered to my office today. My boyfriend is perfect<3” ::insert picture of a bouquet of roses here::

“Aw,” you think, “Well that’s sweet.” Or maybe if you’re a more cynical type you think, “Good Lord. Keep it to yourself. No one else cares.” (See a post I wrote about that here).

Then two days later, you see the little broken heart icon indicating that this seemingly head-over-heels couple has split.

“Hmm” you think to yourself, ” Well I guess that weekend wasn’t that amazing.” Or maybe, “Well that seems a little abrupt based on that status.”

I don’t know if you see these situations a lot, but I can’t tell you how many times this happens to people I know (or “know”). One minute they’re thinking about a wedding song and the next minute they never want to speak to each other again. Whether you’re in a relationship or you’re single, it’s easy to compare yourself to everyone else. Social media has made it basically impossible not to. You see a picture of a bouquet of roses someone got at their office and you think, “My boyfriend has never done that for me” and you silently pout for a little bit. Okay, fine. But let me tell you something: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The relationships that are full of gushing and romantic pictures are usually the ones with major flaws. There are exceptions, of course. When you first start dating it’s easy to get caught up in the “honeymoon phase” and be way over the top. But, for the most part, a real, strong relationship is more low-key.

Take my friends as an example. They’ve been dating for four years. They will get married, put your money on it now. They’re an amazing couple, but they rarely interact on Facebook. When you talk to her on the phone, you’ll hear about how he’s doing but you won’t hear, “And then he bought me this and did this and we went here” until you want to scream. When they’re together, they’re not pawing each other, but you can tell they love each other’s company. To me, that signifies something real. It’s not full of the highest highs and the lowest lows. It’s steady and it’s kept between the two of them.

Based on my experience, the strongest relationships are the most understated ones. Sure, you can tell each other you love each other on Facebook or write a status praising his accomplishments. That’s lovely. But when you truly feel secure and happy with your significant other, you don’t need to go over the top to remind other people that this is how you feel. All you care about is how you feel and how the other person feels. You actually couldn’t care less about anyone else’s opinion.

The next time you find yourself thinking, “Well why isn’t my relationship full of surprise weekends/presents at work/homemade dinners?” remember that if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. You never know the full story behind what you see on Facebook. For example, I know a girl who used to order her boyfriend to send her flowers at work, then she’d post a picture of the flowers and say ” I love him<33″ on Facebook. To an outside observer, it looked like the most romantic relationship. When you knew the real deal? Not quite as cute.

Instead of thinking about what everyone else seems to be doing, opt for the more understated relationship. It may not be as flashy, but it’ll be steady. And who couldn’t use a little steady in their life? Also know that different people operate in different ways. Perhaps your significant other won’t show up at work with your favorite snack, but he/she will always support your career. In a way, isn’t that what matters? Of course romantic surprises are great, but you want to make sure the relationship contains the major important elements too. In many of these flashy Facebook relationships, the fundamentals are missing even though the fun extras are there.

Have you had the same experience with the “too good to be true” relationship? Do you think social media has made this worse? How do you handle it?

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