There is so much relief in not being a fucking fairy tale

mostly unrelation but ohgosh socute

mostly unrelated but oh gosh so cute

I know I’m not the only one who’s been checking in with this site (updated! I fixed the link!) on a regular basis. I also know I’m not the only one who was (spoiler alert) disappointed by the ending, but it is what it is. I can’t say I’m remotely surprised–in fact, it confirmed a lot of suspicions and assumptions I have about how people work. Oh and by the way, this in no way should be taken as anything even remotely resembling relationship advice. Because ew gross and who am I to offer that?

But here’s my theory–I think the relationships with the highest rate of success have the plainest and unremarkable starts. I don’t want to say it’s because it sets the bar low, because that’s not right at all, but it’s kind of close.  (I teased a friend whose boyfriend went to Tiffany’s for their first Christmas together, because man oh man, talk about setting a high-as-a-kite bar! It’s a totally different story and not at all the kind of situation I was actually talking about it, but I just remembered it and the story always makes me chuckle. I hope she gets Tiffany’s every.single.Christmas. And then lends them to me when I have fancy events.) There’s something really beautiful about It lowers expectations of what should  happen in a relationship and instead lets the participants focus on each other, and learn what the other is actually offering.

True story–David and I dated (exclusively and very happily) for nine months before we said the I Love Yous. Nine months. In my previous relationships that barrier was knocked down by the one month mark, and it killed me that he took so long to get there. I kept wondering if that meant our relationship was a bust, if I should cut and run, if he just wasn’t that into me, blah blah blah. In the end, though, it was an amazing (exercise in patience for me to go through) opportunity to learn about how we worked, not how most relationships are supposed to work (based on previous events–I’m sure lots of readers will be all ‘wtf one month you’re crazy’ and that’s okay because um yeah I am). I’m glad I waited for him to be in his comfort level to say it, because it had nine months of evidence that he genuinely felt it on a very deep and permanent level. Okay, confession, I didn’t really wait. We were cuddled up one night and ready to go to sleep when I asked (at the end of my patience rope) if he ever planned on saying it and his response was a somewhat indignant I was just about to, actually. I ruin all that is beautiful.

But the website romance tale seemed doomed to fail from the start, because they set the bar too high. They set themselves up for a romance of modern hollywood proportions, and seemed surprise when it didn’t work out. They wrote about how they fell in their same relationship traps and what got me is that they seemed surprised about it. Like, of course that happened. You spent the whole time analyzing how your experiment would influence your feelings and focusing on your flaws and bad habits and fixating and then it didn’t work out. Hollywood didn’t write your lines for you, so why would you write them differently than you have previously? Especially with a whole internet community focusing in and adding pressure? For what it’s worth, I was totally rooting for them to work out the whole time. I’m not that much of a Humbug.

David and I have modest and mostly unremarkable origin story. Parts of it are awkward and will likely be edited out when our kids ask how we met, and other parts seem exceptional and perfect and adorable because they are components in our story, and our story is very exceptional and perfect and adorable to us and us alone. And the ‘us’ seems to be going well. Eleven days away from four years, whatwhat.

It’s a trend I see played out over and over. Even the Tiffany’s friend had a fairly uneventful start. They had a chance for a whisked away romantic start and instead it played out calmly and very not-Hollywood and that seems like the best and most awesome start ever. (Also, side note? That whole relationship is the closest to Hollywood I’ve seen in a good way and I really hope she starts blogging again so you can all know what I’m talking about. HINT HINT KELS).

With that, I fully acknowledge that this is all based on anecdotal evidence from the people I know, and my opinion is very skewed by that. Are there successful love stories out there with passionate and sickeningly sweet starts? Prove my theory wrong, people. Prove it wrong.

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10 thoughts on “There is so much relief in not being a fucking fairy tale

  1. Well, MY parents met one day by chance while walking past each other in the snow at sunset on campus when she accidentally dropped her books and he picked them up from her and then saved her life from the evil witch who made her drop them… or, you know, at a frat party… I’m in total agreement with your theory. I like mine and Tom’s story and it’s unremarkable and not romantic at all. And I can’t believe your fourth anniversary is coming up so soon! Goodness gracious!

    • I like that you get where I’m coming from. The only truly adorable story I know of that works like a movie intro comes from my parents. And they’re divorced. So yeah.

      • Oh I’m totally hoping they’ll comment! I’m definitely not an actual Humbug (kinda mostly). I want fairy tales to work out. I think trying to force one is so stupid, though.

      • It totally is. The second you have to force something in a relationship (other than yourself to calm down), that’s the moment you put it in jeopardy. Relationships are hard enough without having to maintain an image of perfection. And I KNOW you aren’t all humbug about it. You believe in relationships and in love and you’re very vocal and supportive about them. Always. Even if they aren’t (and sometimes especially if they aren’t) your particular style.

  2. Oh Corinna, this is so well written. I think you nailed it. All the best relationships I know come from very unremarkable starts and I think that is because you get to know the person when you spend time just being friends (you know, or years of being friends…), you get to see them grow independent of “The Relationship”, and you get to see what they will be like when the glamour and newness rubs off.

    Seeing as you better than anyone knows how Matt and I started (cough cough a memorable call while I was walking through Central Park last summer), you know that despite the later “Hollywood-ness” we started off awkward at best with a lot of honesty and throughout the long lead up. By the way, we still attribute our relationship to you and your insistence that we should all get food/drinks/play games/hang out so thank you. And I totally support the Tiffany’s idea (MAAAAAATT when you read this *HINT HINT*).

    Also, my life has taken off with chorus stuff (did I mention I’ve joined two different choruses? Yeah, I’m not one to keep an open schedule-or sleep, apparently) so it may be a little bit before I will have the energy to blog again because learning music is hard work and eating my free time. (Double Also: your link didn’t work for me 😦 )

    • Um of course I get the credit for your little fairytale story 😉 I don’t even think the friends first thing is necessary–David and I sure didn’t go that approach. Phone number after our first encounter and facebook status changed by our third. But that idea of actually getting to know someone is immeasurably important.

      Also? I fixed the link. And I’m glad you liked the post. I felt kind of weird and soap-box-y when I wrote it.

  3. I think you’re right, too, Marci!

    The way that Steve and I met sounds either really mundane or really adorable depending upon which short version you use. I used to be a barista at a cafe he frequented, but we never spoke about anything other than his order. A year later, he saw me on OkCupid and messaged me. After canceling our first date because I didn’t think I was ready for a relationship, I rescheduled on a whim, and now we’re married, less than 18 months later. We had a 92% compatibility rating, so…

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