Welcome back, folks, for more sass and sarcasm, and, hopefully, a little substance.
For the letter R, we're talking Relationships. More specifically, fictional relationships. Brace yourselves, because this might turn into a rant.
I hate hate hate HATE most fictional relationships. I think that they are so non realistic. Just because the characters aren't real doesn't mean the relationships have to be fake.
Literally this is about every YA romance (okay, not every, but the majority) summed up in a paragraph: Boy runs into girl. Exchanges glance. Something happens to them that makes them somewhat close. Then they either a) start "making out" or b) start dating. Am I right or am I right?
I should probably clarify. This does happen and it is real. People meet and starting dating a week, two weeks later. But that doesn't lead to a forever type of relationship.
So the thing with that kind of relationship though, is it's not going to last very long. If it does, it's not going to be a healthy relationship. Most likely, it will be centered on emotion and being physical (which could be anything from kissing to having sex). The emotion and physical pleasure is fleeting and is not what keeps a relationship together.
There are not positive outcomes to these relationships. Most books make it seem like meet, sparks fly, have sex, boom, forever. It doesn't work that way. The truth is, that that sort of relationship isn't going to last. It will fade. Not only that, but both people in the relationship will be left with a lot of hurt. Neither sex nor kissing nor intense emotions will keep a relationship going. And if sex is being had outside of marriage, the relationship is most likely going to go down hill, as that's not a good thing either emotionally or physically.
A strong relationship is one that is built on a strong friendship.
Friendship first is so underrated, both in real life and in the writing world when it comes to being friends first. When I come to a point in my life when I'm ready to date, I want to date my best friend. No, not just want--I refuse to date anyone who is less than my best friend. If I settle for anything less than that, what will the basis of the relationship be? Not a strong one, that's for sure. If I can't make a friendship strong, how will I ever be able to make a relationship strong? Relationships (and friendships) require work, they require insistence death to self and self-sacrifice.
So, my challenge to you, writers, is to examine your fictional relationships. Are they realistic? If they are intended to last forever, then what is the base?
One of my favorite books that is an AWESOME example of a healthy relationship is This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith. So amazing. Another great example is that of Harry and Ginny in Harry Potter. They were friends for YEARS before they started going out and their relationships was totally based on friendship and respect of each other. Ahhh. Just love it so much.