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.