What Happens To Your Memory When You're In A Relationship, Because You May Be Romanticizing The Past
If you're unhappy in your relationship, is that better or worse than being single? It's a complicated question — though I think being single is always better than being in a relationship that's genuinely bad — but it's one that The School of Life looked into in their recent video. They look at how your memory can play tricks on you to make you think that life before your relationship was better than it actually was.
That being said, sometimes your life was better. I mean, there are some things that you just need in a relationship and if they're not there they're going to cause problems. "The one thing you should look for in a relationship is good conflict-resolution skills," Dr. Fran Walfish, Beverly Hills child, parenting, and relationship psychotherapist tells Bustle. "People are generally great at communicating the warm and fuzzy stuff. But when it comes to working out the kinks and differences of opinion that lead to unpleasant fighting, most folks gets stuck."
And you may have other deal-breakers that are important to you. So if a relationship isn't working, you should get out of it — even if you're scared of being single.
That being said, there is something to not letting every fight being a catastrophe and remembering what a relationship brings to your life. Here's how the video broke it down:
Relationship Fights Happen
Disagreements in your relationship are just a fact of life. Whether or not they turn into horrible fights is really down to you and your partner and how well you communicate and resolve conflicts. But there are always going to be times you don't agree.
And We Start To Fantasize
And what happens? Well, as the video suggests, we start to reminisce about life in the old days— when we go out and do whatever we want. They explain, "We're naturally drawn to look back and look at the nicer aspects of solitude." So we remember being on our own as an amazing time when we weren't beholden to anyone.
But Our Memory Tricks Us
And maybe being single was an amazing time— but chances are it wasn't only that. But, when we're feeling wistful, that's what our brain decides to remember. The video says that "memory is a hugely unreliable, and therefore feckless, instrument" but, for some reason, we always treat it as fact.
There's A Lot We Forget
My favorite part of the video is that when reminding us that there were low moments before we were in a relationship they say: "Though we are sad now, we were also very sad then." How chipper! But it's true. Life can be tough — single or in a relationship — so rather than fantasizing about one or the other, we should probably look at whether what we're doing right now is actually working for us.
If Only We Could Remember
If we could watch a video of our lives, we would have a more objective understanding of what life was like before versus now. But our memories don't work like a video. The grass is always greener — even in our own heads.
Should the fear of being single or remembering single life as terrible keep you in a bad relationship? Absolutely not. But if you're actually just in a bad patch— or having a fight— try to keep some perspective. And know that your memory isn't always working on your side.