I can think of at least four or five couples that I currently keep up with (aka, stalk at times) on Instagram, however, let’s be honest – it was definitely more when I was single. I had this infatuation with their relationship and desired to have something like that when my time came. I wanted the beautiful pictures, and the man screaming from the mountain tops that I am his woman. I wanted the “baecations”, and the Friday night companion that would watch all my favorite movies with me. I wanted the gifts on Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and on Birthdays, or someone to sit across from me at the table when I am out to eat. I wanted the matching outfits and the perfect pictures that I saw on social media from others. I wanted to have the #relationshipgoals.

Who doesn’t though, right? I am sure that anyone could have looked at my long list of desires and see at least ONE thing that they too wanted for their relationship. I don’t remember always having this deep infatuation, but I am fairly sure that once social media took over, that it was a wrap – I was sold on the dream. Between the beautiful pictures and the admirable lifestyles, it was just enough to make me believe that the life I had wasn’t enough. I wasn’t enough. And so, I found myself on a pursuit to find this dream in a man.

When I look back on things, hindsight, I realize that I deeply needed some work on my inner self. Why did I feel like I needed companionship to validate me? Why did I covet this dream so much? Was sharing my relationship goals to the world more important than an actual healthy relationship itself? When I look back on those times where I was struggling with myself, with loneliness, depression, discontentment, I always found myself looking elsewhere for fulfillment.

And boy did I look! Lol.

I started dating one young man. He was handsome, adventurous, with an undeniable entrepreneurial spirit. His winning smile and fashion, I imagined, would’ve made us the perfect match to the world. However, reality told me differently, when I realized he was emotionally unavailable, and the idea of sharing his commitment to one woman, to the world (or even me) just wasn’t his thing at the moment.

Then I met another guy. He was so sweet and had the most handsome face, undeniable style, and swagger that could pull any woman. He was the perfect man to have on my arm, and when we were out in public, I felt like the queen to his kingdom. But that kingdom crumbled sooner than later, and unbeknownst to me, I was replaced by another woman. News travels fast, and thanks to social media I realized from pictures that maybe I was…a side piece the entire time (face in palm).

Then I met Mr. Perfect – well almost. He exhibited all the qualities that I had been looking for -inner qualities as well. Even though I’ve led with superficial things up until now, I DID look for certain characteristics and values in a man. He showed himself to have all of them, and then some, but he was very private.

I thought to myself, “we have such a beautiful relationship, but why can’t we share it?” I was devastated. I had finally experienced “relationship goals”, and it was with someone that wasn’t quick to post us together. However, I found myself reassured, even in moments of frustration, that he was still worth it and a great man for me.

Months went by and the “new car smell” on our budding relationship began to wear off. We began to disagree a lot more, and experienced arguments that we were forced to work through. It was hard work. Indeed, we had something beautiful, however, I realized that even the most beautiful things in life take work to maintain. A relationship is no different.  Call it an “AHA”’ moment, I reflected back on my favorites on social media. I thought about their smiles they portrayed, the perfection, the dream that they sold (whether they knew it or not). I thought about the work that it took to maintain that and the struggles that they too possibly experienced.

Believe it or not, relationships are so much more than the picturesque images we see. What makes a relationship beautiful is the love shared, the commitment and loyalty between the two individuals, and the care/respect that they have for one another.

Next time you find yourself in deep adoration for someone(s) you consider “relationship goals,” remember that they too are human, which means that they are not perfect. What we see may or may not be a direct reflection of what is. And in that case, we do ourselves an injustice, trying to compare or imitate our lives with how we see theirs.

You have your own journey, your own love story, and in due time you will be your OWN relationship goals whether it be from falling in love with yourself or with someone!