We all love a good romantic comedy. Rom coms give us relationships to idolize and just a fun story to care about. When I watch a rom com, I’m ready to escape into a world of love and laughter and fun.
Now, in recent years, Netflix has been putting out a lot of their own rom coms. And because the first round of some of these films was so successful, they’ve produced sequels. So this weekend, I decided to see what all the hype was about and watch The Kissing Booth Part 2.
And let me tell you, that film was a journey.
Listen, I get it. Sometimes these movies are going to be unrealistic. And I can suspend my disbelief for certain scenarios. Like I’ll believe you when you tell me Troy and Gabriella happened to meet at a ski lodge and then end up going to the same high school in a completely different state. Or I guess I can pretend that teenagers always have hip and awesome parties at their giant houses with underage drinking and parents are just miraculously okay with that. Other things tend to drive me nuts like when every single teenager ends up casually getting into Harvard and Yale like it’s not an incredibly difficult thing to do.
In The Kissing Booth 2, one of the main characters does go to Harvard. And yes, I was annoyed with it. But that’s not the only reason I was yelling at my TV.
I was angry because Harvard boy has been dating the main girl, who is a senior in high school, for maybe six months and has the audacity to ask her to change her whole life plan to apply to schools in Boston rather than her dream school in California. First, I just want to state that they’re like 18 and 19 years old, and in my opinion that is way too young to make big life decisions because of a relationship. But also, he didn’t even listen to her. He didn’t even hear her out why she wanted to go to this other school. He just seemed to assume she’d be willing to readjust her life for him.
And y’all, I was triggered.
Relationships are about compromise. Compromise. Which means you work together and make decisions together.
I get that there are circumstances where you sacrifice for another person. That is a completely different story. Those are the situations where your partner gets a great job and you agree to move with them. Or they’re wanting to go back to school so you step up and be the breadwinner for a little while. Those situations are great examples of working together as a team. A true partnership. You know, what love is supposed to be.
Here’s the thing. I’m no expert on true love. I’m currently single, so you can take or leave my advice I guess. But I’ve also been in a relationship that I made sacrifices for and had fully committed to that ended up not being worth what I was giving up. I don’t have any regrets about the choices I made, but when it came down to it, being with that person was going to change the total vision of what I wanted for my life. And I decided it was too high a price to pay.
When you’ve been in a relationship like that, a relationship where the other person is holding you back from your dreams, a relationship where you’re more stressed about it than happy, a relationship where you’re not really a true partnership, you become much more aware of that unhealthy behavior in other relationships.
Hence why I was yelling at the screen during The Kissing Booth 2.
I’m sick of seeing unhealthy relationships glorified. I’m sick of watching toxic behavior being referred to as love. And I’m sick of watching my friends give up big parts of themselves just to make their partner feel comfortable.
So here I am with a friendly reminder that you don’t have to change your life for anyone.
Your happiness and comfort isn’t some toll you have to pay on the road to love. Your dreams aren’t debatable. You shouldn’t have to pick and choose what pieces of yourself work best for your partner.
You deserve a love that is full and good. A partner that lifts you up and supports you unconditionally. A relationship where all parts of who you are, the good and the bad, are accepted and loved.
I know it’s possible because I’m lucky enough to have those examples in my real life even if they aren’t always on my TV screen. I have friends who know how to communicate and find common ground with their partner on all issues. I have a friend who’s fiancé takes care of whatever she needs before she even asks. I have friends who decide to go on new life adventures together and grow through life as two equal partners.
So yes, I’m currently single. But it’s because I’ve learned not to settle and I refuse to be in an unhealthy, unequal relationship. I’ve got dreams and plans that I’m excited about. And I deserve to pursue those with vigor.
You do too. You deserve true love. A love that doesn’t require you to change your life and sacrifice your dreams. You deserve to be truly and completely happy.
Here’s hoping we all can find it.