The other day my mom and I were talking about an article she read on birthing order theory. According to the research in the article, as older children they grow up tend to thrive in a relationship with someone who was the younger sibling, since they already know the dynamic of that relationship. These relationships tend to be steadier than two older or two younger siblings who can constantly butt heads. As an older sibling I found this article to be extremely relatable to my own life, in both my friendships and relationships. My most valuable friendships are all people who are younger than me. If I try and befriend an older sibling, it doesn’t go too well, probably because I don’t enjoy being told what to do. Only child friends? Hell no.
I also believe that, as an older sibling, I am a magnet for people who need to be cared for. So what does this mean for us older siblings who want to be in a relationship? To actually be in an equally matched partnership, where your significant other might not need you, or even you might need them? Personally, this scares the bejesus out of me. And I think because of this fear we enter into these not so healthy relationships.
Every one of us has been through some kind of “not really, kind of, I don’t know” relationship. There are so many different kinds of these relationships including the dreaded friend zone (I can practically hear the “womp..womp..womp”). I wanted to talk about one of these in particular: emotional relationships. This is possibly the most risky situation ever. Two people who share their feelings with each other and are basically dating, but without the other aspects of a relationship? Yikes.
The only reason I felt the need to write about this is because I’ve been in an emotional relationship for about two years. I will always love this person, but it just stresses me out. We became good friends during a difficult time of his life and things transitioned quickly from friends to talking every single day. As everything escalated I learned who he truly was underneath all that male facade. All the sharing, going out on “dates” that weren’t really dates; it’s difficult to not be completely invested. There was this constant scale-tipping of “this is completely awesome” and “this has got to slow down.”
As usual I was the one caring while he relied on me for support. I was being the older sibling. And while the idea of being in a relationship was appealing, I was way more comfortable being with him than having the real deal. I think as women we desire this idea of the perfect relationship. Although an emotional relationship is not ideal, you get all the good stuff without having to compromise. If you’re having a crap day, just call your flirtatious friend. I asked my best friend what she thought of emotional relationships, since she is going through a similar situation. She commented that even though this kind of relationship has no physical connection, she believes the emotional connection is equally important, if not more so. I’m not saying that emotional relationships are wrong or right. What I am wondering is if they are healthy for us as women. Do we enter these relationships simply because of our natural affection for others, or as an escape from a true committed relationship? I feel like we place the blame on the men or another person in these unlabeled relationships because you know, we’re awesome. But we need to turn our scope around and take a look at ourselves once in a while. Because darling, we all deserve something real.