Ever since Beyoncé’s Lemonade was released about a week ago, everyone has been making assumptions about what is going on in her relationship with Jay-Z. This is partly because we like to talk about celebrities. It’s also because we are drawn to relationship drama.
Most people like to think they are not alone in having relationship problems. Infidelity, false hopes, or staying together when you want to leave are common issues many of us face. It is normal to hit crossroads in a relationship, especially when you have been with someone for a long time. It’s common to have to deal with communication gaps and to have an emotional disconnection with someone you love. Infidelity has always been a problem for couples. Now, with the increased use of social media, phone applications, and texting, it is even more difficult to maintain fidelity in a relationship.
As I listened to Beyonce’s Lemonade track, I realized 4 things we can all learn to help us succeed in our own relationships.
1. Everyone has relationship blindspots.
You might think you won’t repeat what you saw in relationships when you were growing up, but you will. This is because it is only natural to model your relationship on the ones which most impacted your life. A missing mom or dad affects your view of potential partners. If a parent wasn’t there, it can be tough for you to figure out what the role encompasses. A mom or dad who cheated or who was disrespectful to their partner is a role model you might not wish to emulate but somehow do. Even if you witnessed a good relationship, but one that had communication gaps, a lack of financial transparency, or markedly different parenting goals, the conflicts you observed will impact how you navigate your own relationships.
In the Lemonade lyrics, Beyoncé refers to her dad and her husband, their infidelity and the way they both hide, talking their way around their issues. When this happens, the partner has a hard time cutting ties. Beyonce’s mother, Tina Knowles, spoke publically about how she knew her husband was unfaithful but kept up the image of a perfect family for many years because she feared letting go.
The takeaway is this: no one is protected from having unhealthy relationships. You may encounter infidelity no matter what your status, wealth, beauty, degree of success or level of education. This makes it even more vital to be extra aware of the relationships you witnessed growing up. And to remember how natural it is to model them in your own relationships.
2. Compatibility does not protect you from relationship challenges.
Being compatible with your partner is important. It is the starting point and the foundation for your relationship. But this foundation can crumble, even if you have strong compatibility with your partner.
Life brings constant change. And change can have an unyielding effect on a relationship: having kids, getting different jobs, moving, economic ups and downs, healthcare challenges for one or both partners. These are just some of the life experiences which take relationships on a roller coaster ride. When things are good, they can be very good. But when things are bad, life can wreak havoc on your relationship.
Beyoncé and Jay-Z appear to be compatible. We see photos of them going on normal family outings, attending functions and sports events together, and enjoying each other’s company. Both music and media celebrities, they have a lot in common. This commonality has helped them stay together through any ups and downs. But even with a high level of compatibility, all couples must work on the relationship. This work must continue throughout the lifetime of any relationship.
Show me a relationship on autopilot and I will show you a relationship that will eventually crash and burn.
3. A relationship between two people is never what it appears to be.
Every couple has their own relationship dynamic. Yet, men and women in couples are constantly comparing their relationship to others’. This drives me crazy. With couples, comparison is a losing proposition.
Outsiders don’t know what two people have gone through in their relationship. So, no matter how good a relationship looks on the outside, in any relationship there have been obstacles to overcome and issues to be faced. This is because every couple experiences relationship struggles.
Social media masks the truth. Couples carefully highlight the bright and beautiful events of their lives in their social media timelines. So we are seeing their better moments. We are usually not privy to the bad times.
The world has seen some great pictures of Beyoncé and Jay-Z: on dates, at media events and parties, traveling. But these are just moments in time. Such moments are not the entirety of their relationship.
4. You must know which relationship dynamic works for you.
In your relationship, it is crucial to understand what dynamic works for you. Once you understand this, then you need to stick with it and avoid getting distracted by other relationship dynamics that seem to work for other couples.
Each couple is unique in what they want and need from one another to make the relationship work. This same relationship dynamic might not work in another couple’s relationship. Some people are in monogamous relationships. Some couples have open relationships. There are couples who live together without a legal bond, others who feel more comfortable being married. Some choose to date without making a commitment.
The bottom line is this: you have to do you. As I discuss in my book The Relationship Investigator’s Fast Guide to Successful Dating, you must be comfortable in your own relationship dynamic.
We can’t be sure if Beyoncé’s Lemonade is a reflection of her real feelings about her marriage to Jay-Z. Only the two of them are privy to the truth of their relationship. But she appears to be making lemonade out of relationship lemons. And her songs can remind us to work on our own relationships, using compatibility to make it stronger and building the relationship dynamic that suits us best.
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