Redefining romance

By Sandra Moore

Assoc. Design Editor

The ideal man in fifth grade and parts of middle school was a pale, sparkly vampire with the unnerving habit of creeping at night into the room of the girl to whom he was attracted. Then, the infamous Fifty Shades of Grey created yet another supposedly ideal man whose relationship with his romantic interest was even more unhealthy than that featured in Twilight. Tie that in with the tired trope of the innocent girl trying to heal the broody, yet secretly sensitive male lead, and the romanticization of toxic relationships plaguing current literature and media suddenly becomes obvious.

Toxic relationships are named such because the imbalance between two partners is neither fair nor healthy for either of them. Often these relationships are abusive or borderline so. When in 2014 alone, American Bar Association reported that ten million Americans were abused by an intimate partner, it became less suggested and more essential to portray healthy relationships in media. Codependence and micromanagement are aspects of toxic relationships, and yet are romanticized by film and other media.

From a young age, we are spoon-fed these unhealthy relationships and fail to recognize the toxicity of them when they appear in real life. This is especially apparent in high school, when we enter the romantic world for the first time. It is easy to dismiss the codependence of fictional characters as being unrealistic and fantastical, until one looks around and sees the shocking amount of codependence in certain high school romances.

Additionally, victims of unhealthy and abusive relationships are more likely to display symptoms of depression and abuse substances. Authors, singers, directors, and other producers of consumerism need to acknowledge this and halt the glorification of toxic relationships. It is neither romantic nor desirable to be in a partnership in which your wishes are not being respected.

If your partner doesn’t give you or your opinions a second thought, you are not in a healthy relationship. It doesn’t matter how much you think your partner cares. It doesn’t matter if he or she is having a rough time. There is nothing that can justify their treatment of you.