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3 Bad Things Our Throwaway Culture Teaches Us About Relationships

Here’s what you should unlearn immediately.

By Margaret PanPublished 3 years ago 4 min read
Photo by William Fortunato in Pexels

In today’s throwaway culture, when something is broken we are encouraged to throw it away, instead of taking the time to fix it.

We have been taught that nothing is ever truly lost, since anything can be replaced with something newer, with something better, and that includes our relationships.

It’s no wonder that 2020 was the year with the most breakups (compared to the last three years), according to this survey.

But what if we changed the way we approach our relationships? What if we made an attempt to unlearn some crappy things we have been taught, improving our relationships along the way?

What follows is the three most damaging things today’s throwaway culture teaches us about relationships and why you should unlearn them as soon as possible.

Let’s dive right in, shall we?

#1. Looking/Aiming for Perfection

The pursuit of perfection can significantly hurt your love life in the following three ways:

  • You’ll give up on relationships with potential every time you see your partner is flawed.
  • You’ll keep looking for the perfect partner endlessly, ultimately ending up miserable and alone.
  • You’ll self-sabotage your relationships by thinking you’re not good enough for your partner and that they should look for someone better.

The thing is, that looking for perfection in a partner as well as in yourself, is a waste of time because a) no one, and I mean it, NO ONE, is or will ever be perfect, and b) real love has little to do with perfection.

As Clinical psychologist and psychoanalyst Jennifer Kunst states in her article:

“It takes a lot of hard psychological work to realize that our pursuit of perfection is in vain. First of all, no one is perfect; no one has it all. Second, even if we could be perfect, it wouldn’t get us where we really want to go. You see, a healthy, happy, and satisfying life is based essentially in love — loving relationships with others, and a loving relationship with ourselves. And at its root, love has very little to do with perfection. It is, as they say, a horse of a different color.”

The takeaway:

  1. Embrace imperfection.
  2. Don’t criticize your or other people’s flaws.
  3. Accept that there are no perfect people, and consequently, no perfect relationships.
  4. Remember that your flaws shouldn’t be seen as a weakness, but as something that adds to your character and makes you unique.

#2. Throwing Away Instead of Fixing

For me, the harshest reality of modern dating is people’s tendency to throw a relationship away — when the early bliss dies out and problems surface — rather than making an attempt to fix things first.

Think about the products you have bought throughout your life. Let’s say, your smartphones or laptops. Aren’t they all disposable commodities for you? Will you, for example, pay to fix your smartphone if it stops working or will you run to replace it, probably with a better model?

Unfortunately, our throwaway culture encourages us to adopt the same attitude to our relationships as well. Why fight to fix things with your partner when you can browse for your next one on the newest dating app?

However, when you keep throwing away and replacing your things, at some point there won’t be anything left to buy.

Likewise, if you keep running away from your relationships when things get a bit tough, at some point you’ll find yourself facing a dead end because problems and conflict will always arise no matter who you’re dating.

It’s only a matter of time before you get sick and tired of running away.

The takeaway:

  1. Accept that problems and conflict will always arise in your relationships, no matter who you’re dating.
  2. Don’t rush to take the easy way out. After all, only cowards take the easy way out.
  3. Remember that struggles and challenges, however frustrating they might be, bring you closer to your partner and strengthen your bond. They might be unavoidable, but they might also positively contribute to your relationship.

#3. Normalizing Dishonesty and Mind Games

Ghosting, mosting, stashing, benching. All these terms might sound funny, but the emotional turmoil they cause isn’t funny at all.

You might not be familiar with the terms, but chances are you’re familiar with the experience behind them.

Because, if we’re being honest, all these dating “trends” are sadly a common phenomenon in our modern dating world.

In a world, where people seem to have forgotten what honesty even means and consider, for example, that cutting off all communication with someone without any explanation or sending mixed signals is the normal thing to do.

In reality, playing mind games and being dishonest about your feelings makes you a disrespectful coward, who leaves the people around them feel uncertain, used, and disposable.

The takeaway:

  1. When it comes to dating, you should treat others the same way you’d want to be treated. Would you like it if someone played with your mind and used you? I don’t think so.
  2. Imagine how much simpler dating would become if people were being open and honest about their feelings. Now, make an attempt to simplify things in your own dating life. Trust me, it’ll save you a lot of time, energy, and emotional strength.
  3. Not all relationships are meant to last — there’s nothing wrong in realizing that things aren’t working out with someone. What is wrong, however, is cutting all ties with them without taking 10 minutes of your time to tell them why you’re no longer interested.

Final Thoughts

In today’s throwaway culture, where we so easily throw everything away — be it objects, plans, or people — and we all are disposable and can be discarded as waste, changing the way you approach your relationships seems almost like a heroic thing to do.

I guess you know what they say: be the change you want to see in the world.

It’s about time we all revolutionized the way we approach our relationships and made today’s complicated and toxic dating world, safer, kinder, and simpler.

This story was originally published on Medium.


About the Creator

Margaret Pan

Words have power.

I write about relationships, psychology, personal development, and books.

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