Sofia, the woman whose relationship I’m featuring in this post, reminded me of the importance of telling couples’ stories from my perspective. I guess I invested so much time transcribing the moments I spent with her and her partner that I forgot to properly reflect on how those moments impacted me. Every relationship I witness in this personal way gives me a renewed sense of insight into love, and the ingredients necessary to make it dreamy for both parties. I am fascinated by the elements that aren’t so dreamy though.
We live in a time where so much is romanticized and glorified, and this concept is further heightened by the advent of social media. The desire to share a curated, selective existence, depicting all the pretty things: steaming hot coffee on a perfectly made bed, a misty mountaintop, a couple emerging from their slumber looking as flawless as they did the night before. Those things just aren’t realistic all the time, if ever. I sleep with toothpaste on my face most nights. And wear retainers. Those “perfect” moments, excluding the ones I just shared about myself, are only part of a whole. A small part really. The larger part constitutes what you don’t see as often: dishes in the sink, self doubt, fear, etc. When it comes to love though, I think there’s a lot of mystery there, and I want to erase some of that mystery through my photos.
I talk to so many women and we joke about the things we have withheld or currently withhold from our partners. Getting diarrhea, feeling insecure about where the relationship is going, being too emotional, having fantasies about being with other people, not feeling understood completely, and the list goes on. It’s rare to meet a couple where so many of these things are addressed from the beginning, and simultaneously welcomed. Sofia and Michael are that rare couple though. Though Sofia has said, “Honesty doesn’t mean you need to tell your partner everything,” they do tell each other an awful lot. And I think that’s part of what makes their bond so unusual.
Michael went away one weekend and really missed Sofia while he was gone. When he returned, he asked if she missed him back, and she said "No." Of course hearing something like that hurts. But at the same time, how empowering to assert yourself in such a forthright manner, with the knowledge that it won’t actually jeopardize the status of the relationship after the fact? Even if said statement wounds the one you love, can’t you argue that you’re actually attaining a deeper, richer kind of connection through your ability to be exceedingly honest with one another? A moment like that is almost the universe’s way of testing your confidence in your own relationship. At what point will my partner not accept me for my openness? Hopefully the answer is: They will embrace that degree of candor and mirror it throughout the course of the relationship - however brief or lengthy it is. Operating on the same wavelength as your partner is crucial, and in talking with Sofia and Michael, they seem to have that down.
Sofia: …I don’t want you to think our relationship is perfect because it’s far from perfect.
Michael: We are far from perfect.
Erin: What comes to mind that’s imperfect about your relationship?
Sofia: I think we’re both very young. I think that means we’re both constantly changing the way we feel and perceive things. I don’t think we’re so secure in our relationship that we’re both…
Michael: Blind. And ignorant of things changing. If that day comes, we’ve always talked about how open we want to be with each other and that we need to be there for ourselves first.
^ This is one of the most mature and raw conversations I’ve had with a couple ever. As I mention in almost every post, my quest to better understand sustainable love is rooted from the dissolution of my own parents marriage. To be continued. Also, to read more excerpts from my interview, please visit @thewaywemet and thewaywemet.com/blog!