A Facebook friend of mine recently changed her relationship status from “In a Relationship” to “It’s Complicated.” I assume she realized this detail was broadcast to her friend network, as we are all on Facebook to share the juiciest details of our personal lives, right?
Seeing this did not make me want to know the details, nor will I ask about them. However, it did cause me to think about relationships in general, and what exactly is meant by the status “It’s Complicated.” At first glance, on Facebook this status seems to imply “in trouble” or even “breaking up.” I imagine it is largely accepted that way. But to me, this designation seems misguided.
After all, isn’t any relationship “complicated?” It seems to me the most complicated ones of all are the ones that last. I have been in one for over 20 years, and it has not always been easy. But it has been rewarding, and I know why it has worked. Because my partner and I (like others in successful relationships) engage in one of the most difficult things humans have to do to relate to one another in a meaningful, mutually beneficial way: Compromise.
This is true of any relationship, not just the ones between significant others. Compromise is a critical element of all successful relationships – those with your family, your friends, your community, your customers or your co-workers.
I know I am not saying anything revolutionary here, nor am I saying that every relationship can turn into something great. In some cases, even long-term, successful relationships eventually run their course and it makes sense to end them and move on. But I do urge people who are involved in new relationships that they consider “complicated” to carefully weigh their reasons for ending it before doing so. Relationships that are quickly ended without a genuine effort to make it are not complicated at all. They are simple.
Compromise is not easy – it is often very hard for any of us to do it. But the value you can get in the long run from doing it is immeasurable. It is often hard to see that though in the early stages, particularly when people are blinded by their own feelings of anger or mistrust.
Maybe Facebook should add a relationship status of “Working on It.” Of course, all relationships are different, and it would be hard to create a concise list of all the possible status options to accommodate them all.
After all, it’s complicated.