What are we?
These words strike fear in the hearts of people who are dating.
They’re words that can stop a relationship in it’s tracks. And ironically – they’re the only words that are necessary for actually starting a real relationship. Oh the conundrum!
On the surface, our generation idealizes relationships that are “chill” and prefers to date people who are “doing their own thing”. Under the surface of chill, we’re starving for connection and uninhibited affection.
Chill is not the Shangri-La of relationships, quite the opposite. It’s a vicious cycle of self-doubt, suspicion and hedging our bets.
And of course, this phenomena didn’t grow out of nothing. “Millennials are in no hurry to marry or settle down — they’ve witnessed the frequent demise of so many early marriages, and they have careers to build, countries to travel, life experience to amass — before they decide to settle down and start families,” said sex researcher Zhana Vrangalova in an interview with Mic.com.
At the heart of it, the ideals of “Chill” are well intentioned. We don’t want to pressure our partner in to something they don’t want. We want to give them the room to be themselves and explore their own passions. In theory we want to give them freedom.
Unfortunately – we’ve taken it too far and given each other carte blanche to be unaccountable for any of our actions. We’ve villianized having to answer to a nagging partner and made it socially acceptable to be emotionally unavailable – while blaming the emotionally intelligent for being bossy or controlling.
It’s kind of a fucked up system.
The Cult of Chill has started it’s nasty backlash and it needs to end.
So what do you do?
Ask the fucking question.
Do you like me? What are we doing here? Can we be exclusive?
Better yet, don’t ask. Be bold. Tell your partner you care about them and you want to be exclusive.
Yes – you’ll feel awkward. Yes – you’re being vulnerable.
That’s where love starts! Vulnerability and humor are absolutely necessities to a loving relationship.
And I have seen this experience from both sides of the Chill line.
FAIL: When I was young I had a “cool” job with a “cool” office. I played in a band and had lots of pretty friends. I didn’t care if a guy texted back or at all. It was better if he didn’t, it gave me passive permission to date and sleep with whomever I wanted. So when I met an amazing guy I started the routine and put on my best “cool girl” persona. We dated a few times and had amazing chemistry. He left for a few weeks and when he came back I waited for him to call. He apparently waited for me to call. We never called. What a missed opportunity. Running into each other a few years later, we both lamented at how we let our perception of being seen as “chill” get in the way of taking love by the t-shirt and throwing it against the wall.
SUCCESS: A few months after starting to date this really sweet guy, I was trying my best not to fall too hard. We lived hours apart and after a recent heartbreak I wanted to make sure I had my love well-protected. The night before leaving on a weeklong trip with friends (dudes and ladies) I got a 2am call from this guy. He told me without hesitation that he cared about me and felt really connected to me. He told me he wanted to be there to support and love me. I obviously agreed that we had something really amazing and he said whatever I wanted to do – he would listen to me, but he didn’t want me going away for a week without knowing that he wanted to be with me, exclusively.
Holy sigh of relief.
Duh. Of course I dated him. That took balls.
I’ve never felt so sure about a relationship. Not because my intuition was strong or it “felt right”, but because we talked about it openly.
“I like you and want to be with you.” — “I concur.”
It’s not that long of a conversation – so why is it so hard to have?