Actually, Relationships Are Not Hard Work

Another weekend in the city, another weekend spent out partying, socializing, complaining about the gloomy weather overhearing all sorts of dates, arguments, and bad conventional wisdom tossed around. In this post-OkCupid world, it seems one of the more pernicious clichés plaguing romance is also one of the easiest to mindlessly agree with: “Relationships are a lot of work.” Uh, not really.

Sure, if you’re two people who aren’t exactly compatible but trying to force it because the one thing you do share is an overall fear of loneliness, that is going to take some work! But in case no one told you, being in love is about more than having someone to clutch until death parts you. In fact, being in a relationship should make your life easier, which is to say less work. Here’s a person who’ll help you pay bills, remember where your keys are, and make you forget all about your terrible day at the office. Your life with a partner is not something that needs to be constantly repaired like the transmission on a 1998 Ford Windstar—and if it is, get a new car.
Let’s say, even for the sake of argument, that you’ve landed someone well out of your league—kinder, smarter and better-looking than you—it might seem like you should put in an extra effort to keep this person around. You’d think that, and you’d scare them off in no time with your constant questions about moving in and buying a toaster oven together. It’s downright shocking what simple listening and empathy and affection does, and are these work? No, they are not. Only grand psychotic overtures, like secretly booking a couples cruise to Norway, are work.
I know you want to be matched and married so bad, world, but seriously, you need to relax. Don’t force yourself to watch TV shows your significant other likes. Casually mention the facial hair they got on the sink while shaving—instead of leaving passive-aggressive notes. Try to remember if you’ve told that high school musical anecdote eight times already. Finally, quit micromanaging how you come across as a couple on Facebook. That nonsense is beyond work: it’s like using a beach vacation to hammer out the kinks in a PowerPoint presentation.     
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