OPINION: Modern Relationships Are the Worst

By: Naomi Metoyer
OwlFeed Editor-in-Chief

High school, in many ways, serves as a condensed model of the world outside of it, and this is equally true for the relationships people foster within it. Through personal and shared experiences, I have learned what it means to be in a romantic relationship.

However, when comparing the ideals I have learned as a product of current society, I have come to find that the trends I have experienced and seen in relationships between people my age are in many ways toxic and disappointing in comparison to earlier generations.

At seventeen, I’ve already experienced a variety of relationships, platonic and romantic or otherwise. I’ve had my heart broken, intentionally or not, as have I been on the opposite side of that heartbreak. Except, as many of my peers, most of these happened outside of an actual “relationship”.

bad-relationshipsNowadays, labels are something that are complicated, fleeting, and uncertain. Most people nowadays “talk”. And though “talking” is not inherently negative, my generation has perverted the idea so thoroughly that the original context of the term no longer applies.

Whereas before this term referred to becoming familiar with and getting to know your partner before moving forward and committing to one another, it has now taken on all the aspects of a relationship, while lacking the label, responsibility, or loyalty of one.

People use this term to excuse and enable toxic behavior in a relationship. “Talking” that never leads to dating is just a way for young people to rid themselves of the mature aspects that come with healthy, two-sided relationships.

This trend only perpetuates miscommunication in relationships. It allows people to be ingenuine in their intentions and miscontrew them to the other party. One can claim that since they were not “official” as in one another’s “boyfriend” or “girlfriend”, they had no obligation to be faithful and monogamous, despite the other’s belief that they were.

My generation seems to have an affinity for assumption and pettiness, of which only assist in miscommunication. Because we are too prideful to ask the other party what the relationship is and what that entails, we assume the state of the relationship and it is often different from the other’s image.

Beyond those assumptions, however, my generation is very petty in relationships more so than in any other aspect of life and more so than other generations, at least in my observations. The instant gratification culture that has been created as a result of social media and smartphones has emphasized this toxic behavior.

I’ve seen far too many people assume the worst when their partner hasn’t texted or called them for a day. My sister was in a relationship with someone from a different school so their communication was based primarily on texts and calls, so when his phone was off due to a missed bill, she became worried and anxious, wondering what was up and why he’d neglected her for three days.

It wasn’t his fault, but it wasn’t necessarily hers either. Modern culture has made everything so easy to accomplish in a fraction of the time, and this is even more true for communication. This, doubled with the insecurities that are so prevalent in people my age due to other toxic aspects of relationships, grooms us to act this way

That’s not to say this is healthy. My coworker experienced something similar with his girlfriend, where his phone was off and so she assumed he was breaking up with her and invited another guy over. He’d explained it to her, and she’d explained that she’d been faithful–it had all been a petty attempt at making him jealous and ultimately hurt him.

This is a sickeningly common theme of relationships nowadays. It’s a kill or be killed world when it comes to romance, so much that it’s a stretch for me to refer to it as romantic.

Cheating is an epidemic in this generation. Everytime I turn my back I hear about another instance of infidelity. Though I’m not sure if this seems more common because with phones it’s a lot easier to catch someone in the act, it is a serious issue nonetheless.

It’s disappointing to see the low standards people now place on relationships. People of this generation are overwhelmingly basing their search for love on ideas like loyalty, which in previous eras were implied clauses of a relationship. When did we become so numb to infidelity and dishonesty that they became the criteria by which we measured future partnerships? When did traits such as a shared sense of humor become second to the aspects of a relationship that used to be essentials?

Because of these loose expectations and standards for relationships, it has become easier to enable toxic behavior to the point that it seems everyone is rather excusing and normalizing their broken connection rather than acknowledging it and either working for improvement or leaving for something that will serve them better.

It is true that all types of relationships require work and will all inevitably encounter conflict. However, the amount of toxicity that has become so infused into the relationships of modern youth is unsettling. People my age are so pessimistic about relationships because of all of their failings to the point that these unhealthy connections are becoming normalized and excused away on the basis that that’s just “how things are” or that it won’t be better elsewhere.

Though older generations can admit to sharing some of the same tendencies as seen in this generation, I believe with the combination of social media and new technology, a new culture has been created surrounding dating and relationships that is increasingly harmful.

Our generation may, to an extent, be only the product of our environment, media, and teachings, but we must still take responsibility for discovering what is fractured and why, then work to fix it. Because, frankly, this will not do.