Written by Writer’s Corps member Liz Arnone
Unless you’ve sworn off social media for the last 3 years I am sure you are familiar with #BaeGoals, a trend that has millions of couples posting pics of themselves on social platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Like most trends, things started off innocent enough. However, when we focus our energy on giving the illusion of being in a healthy relationship instead of creating one I.R.L. we fall into (what I call) the #BaeGoals trap.
The problem with #BaeGoals is that it encourages us to take relationships at surface value without much consideration of whether the behaviors shown in the post is mutually beneficial to both partners. Or without much consideration of what happens between couples #BehindThePost.
Every perfect Instagram post and Facebook profile pic depicting a happy adventurous couple stops people from looking further and lets us just assume their relationship really is perfect. But, even worse than this social media complacency, #BaeGoals has morphed into branding unhealthy relationship habits as “relationship goals.”Here are 5 sneaky #BaeGoals that may actually be toxic AF.
Surprising Your Significant Other ….. All the Time
I see these snaps, Instagram, and Facebook posts everywhere–people are being surprised by their partner with flowers, a date night, or a visit to their college for a special weekend. If mutually appreciated and not used as a means of control or manipulation, surprises like these are generous, thoughtful, and a nice way to keep the relationship interesting! However, there is a fine line between surprising your bae and using these “surprises” to control their behavior and their friendships. It is not #BaeGoals to use surprises as a cover for not trusting your S.O.
Your partner unexpectedly showing up to girls/boys night out because they only want you to dance with them is not healthy or #BaeGoals, and may be an indicator of something much worse. Check out #BehindThePost for 10 unhealthy relationship behaviors that can help you determine whether or not your #bae’s ‘surprises” are well-meaning.
Becoming the #FitCouple
There are a lot of reasons a couple should hit the gym together (or independently). Some couples met at the gym and love working out together (#respect). Others focus on fitness once they realize the toll their delicious dates have on their bodies. If working out together is your jam and you appreciate the extra support you receive from your S.O., I can see how that’s #goals.
The problem begins when your S.O. starts to force you to work out with them or belittle you when you don’t feel like going. You should be on the lookout for critiques on your appearance and what you wear to the gym. You don’t need to be “picture perfect” for social media posts and the number of likes a photo receives isn’t a meter for the strength of your relationship.
If your S.O. is forcing you to change your appearance because they want you to be other people’s “goals,” that isn’t sweet, it’s unhealthy. To your partner, you already are #Baegoals with or without shedding extra pounds.
It makes sense that when you have such a strong bond with someone, you feel protective of them. You may find yourself offering to walk your S.O. home from class if they’re alone at night or comforting them after they’ve had a disagreement with their best friend. These are all typical protective behaviors that we may even use with our family and friends. Healthy relationships of any type should make you feel safe and protected. So snaps if your S.O. makes you feel that way because they are #BaeGoals!
I have come to realize, especially in college relationships, that protection can be a slippery slope. The problem is when protection is actually used as a cover-up for control. If your S.O. won’t allow you to walk anywhere alone because they are “protecting you,”then it may be time to start a conversation and get to the root of this behavior.
Jealousy Disguised as Love
This might be a strange #BaeGoal, but the reality is all of us can be a bit jealous sometimes. Because we’re human. If you’re feeling jealous or experiencing jealousy from an S.O., the best thing you can do in a healthy relationship is to be honest about how a specific behavior or action makes you feel. If you’re both committed to treating each other with respect, you can turn a jealous moment into a #BaeGoal.
But jealousy is not a #BaeGoal especially if it causes you or your S.O. to overreact and try and control or manipulate a situation. For example, if your S.O. rears their inner jealousy monster because another person looked at you or because you want to hang out with friends, that’s not cute or a sign that they’re into you, that’s unhealthy. Jealousy—if left unchecked—can lead to other unhealthy behaviors.
Basic Kindness ≠ Goals: It’s What We Deserve
Trust me, I love hearing people think my relationships is #goals. In a weird way, it reinforces my decision to love and support my boyfriend in the bad times and good. However, the idea of #BaeGoals has gotten so skewed that not only do people think possessive, jealous, and down right controlling behaviors are loving relationship goals, but people are basing their actions and decisions off of whether or not they fit into the #BaeGoals stereotype.
What I find most alarming about #BaeGoals is our diminishing standards of #goals in general. Our society has become so used to the unhealthy behaviors above that it’s causing us to lose sight of healthy relationship behaviors. I’ve seen my friends use #goals for things as simple as their S.O. being cool with a boys/girls night out, or their S.O. trusting them when they talk to someone at a bar. People are starting to view basic respect, kindness, and equality in a relationship as some kind of #goal when it’s something that should not only be expected but required.