Romantic partnerships are part and parcel of the human condition and are a necessary part of our daily experience. From time immemorial, people have sought varying advice on relationships: how to get them, how to keep them, and how to finish them. Seeking the council of friends and are some ways to gain a broader perspective. People may also take cues from the media, in the form of popular magazines, newspaper columns and television shows- that help them relate the experiences of others into their own lives.
Good friends can often be the first port of call when one is seeking sound advice on relationships. Friends will often lend a kind ear to your relationship troubles, and celebrate your love interests when things are going well. One downside to spilling out your heart to friends is that, though they care and sympathize with you, they often will remain loyal to your interests. If you profess that you no longer want anything to do with boyfriend X, label him a lout who treats you abominably, and then return to him the following day, friends are not normally as sympathetic to your woes as they once were. If you tend to do this chronically, friends may not want to hear about your on-again, off-again relationship altogether.
Asking family members advice on relationships may also be an emotional minefield, from which there may inevitably be casualties. Parents and siblings normally have your best interests at heart, and they can be even more fiercely loyal to you then friends. The saying “blood is thicker than water” has serious implications in this instance. They can be harsh judges of character, wishing to protect you from hurt. Confessing your fears about a partner may only serve to make them more cautious of your partner, and you can almost guarantee the next Sunday lunch together may probably be tense.
For women, popular magazines and love columns are an anonymous way of finding advice on relationships. Topics can range from dating to sex, friendship conflicts to familial acrimony. They usually appear in question and answer form, where one appointed “expert” responds to people’s problems. These columns are only helpful if you trust the respondent and the question asked is relevant to your life. If instead, you need a more immediate response and don’t wish to ask someone, relationship books often help to negotiate the complicated web of love. Psychologists or academic experts in the field may sometimes write these pieces, but the advice they give is not relevant to everyone.
Whether consciously or not, we often take advice on relationships through the media. Songs, films and television programs help to paint vivid pictures of relationship ideals and horrors. They may seem so idealized that they appear far removed from our day-to-day experiences, but they may be a balm for some, or an unrealistic model for others. Whichever the case may be, the media gives veiled advice on what we value and what we take for granted in our society.
If one is seeking help in solving a problem in their relationship, it doesn’t seem that there is a shortage of people willing to give advice. The most important thing to remember is that you are ultimately the sole bearer of responsibility for the decisions you make. It is therefore in your best interests to trust yourself above all. You are, in the end, the best suited of them all to give advice on your own relationship.