A couple who were doing coupley content on TikTok broke up and the ensuing comments have been truly something to behold and it gave me the final push to talk about this concept of Couple Goals.
the object of a person’s ambition or effort; an aim or desired result
Like many things that have been commodified – other people’s relationships are something we are told to aspire to – despite the fact that we have no idea what the totality of the relationship is about. As I keep proclaiming, being coupled is seen as an achievement due to the hierarchy of relationships with romantic relationship being seen as the apex – the highest achievement. And not so much the quality of the relationship even but rather that you attained it.
And that’s why people love the idea of couple goals because it gives them this rose coloured glasses view of how relationships ought to be. From my observation, we often say people are couple goals because they are portraying an aesthetic we desire (or are told we should desire). Beauty and youth are especially heralded. If they follow social norms, live a conventional life – the better (date, engaged, marry and then children) – most variances to this are rejected. If their social media presence shows wealth, travel and a curated aesthetic – even better; manufactured vulnerability is interpreted as intimacy.
I find it all so unimaginative.
Alaine de Botton often says that we assume that love should come naturally to us and that it shouldn’t be work or something we should learn which, is a product of romanticism, of which I am not a fan. People also have that ridiculous expectation that those in their lives should somehow automatically know how to love them. But then it brings to question, do people even know how they want to be loved? Or are they looking at other coupled people and picking from what they doing and deciding that whatever it is someone is getting, it would work for them to? Is that why these people become #Goals? Do people seriously think that they can gauge relationships from snippets they see online?
When couples separate or have issues publicly, suddenly you see comments “love is dead”, “if they didn’t make it who will”, ” I don’t believe in love anymore” and such like statements. My first instinct is to think it all hyperbole but truly there are people whose values on romantic love are derived only from what they consume on social media. Making choices because they see other people make them.
And that’s tragic.