Please STOP Romanticizing Your (Grand)Parents Relationships

It seems like every time the topic of love and marriage is brought up, there’s always a group of people who LOVE to propagate the perceived PERFECTION of old school relationships, and how people today are F*^KED because we aren’t more like our parents and grandparents. Even though these people were NOT around back in the day, and clearly have no realistic frame of reference for how things REALLY were, they feel overtly CONFIDENT enough to assert how much we as a society have backslid in terms of loving each other, committing to long term relationship and respecting marriage. Well, it’s about time to be honest as hell and label those anti-intellectual thoughts BULLSH*T.

About a week ago, Demetria L. Lucas wrote an article for Clutch Magazine called “Screw Your Good Ol’ Days” in which she addresses the BS notion that women back in the day had superior motives and values as compared to women of today. Her article was BANG-ON, and after yesterday’s blog post about What Is The Right Age To Marry, I felt compelled to piggyback off her point to address a larger and more IGNORANT issue: The ideology that relationships were so much more substantive than the coupling that occurs today. Times have changed but if you think it’s ALL been for the worse, you are wilfully ignorant.

Let’s talk about some key changes that have occurred in our society that have completely altered the dating scene as we know it:

1. Women Started Getting More Rights & Freedoms

We do NOT live in a world with complete gender-equality, but to compare it to 5, 6 or 7 decades ago, women have made SIGNIFICANT leaps in terms of being granted the basic rights they deserve. Women can vote, be CEO’s of corporations, be professors at universities and even referee NBA and NFL games without anyone making a fuss. This enhanced freedom has allowed women to do the SAME thing most men have always been able to do: Craft what they want their life plan to be.

If you think all, or most, women of your grandmothers generation had that choice you are SADLY mistaken. A lot of women only had the choice in how much children they wanted to have and even THAT was a stretch. Social and family pressure put great strains on women to follow biased gender roles, while restraining them from pursuing the same goals as men. Men had the upper-social-hand, and marriage was a KEY survival tool for many women. What you call loyalty, a sociologist would call lack of opportunity.

2. Dual Income Households Weren’t A Necessity

Ladies & gentlemen, take a look around you and tell me how many “Housewives” you know? Chances are, you know VERY FEW, if any at all. Why? Because we live in an economy that requires TWO fully employed adults to have ANY chance at running smoothly. It’s EASY to find a husband when you don’t have to worry about things like higher education, graduate programs, and building a career. It’s also easier for men to find a wife when you know throughout the dating process she will eventually NEED you, especially taking into account how much easier it was for a young man to purchase a home on his own.

3. Cheating Was Just As, If Not MORE, Frequent

The cheating-carbon-footprint a dude leaves behind in today’s technological world is INSANE. Text, Twitter, Instagram, 4Square, Facebook, Tumblr, Amateur Pr0n sites, Worldstar, etc. there’s MANY ways women and men can get CAUGHT slippin’. And because we see and hear so much first and second hand, we believe that we live in the most TRIFLING era ever – and that’s simply NOT TRUE. Cheating is not a modern day phenomenon and is NOT driven higher by any modern day trappings. It’s just the same old douchebags taking advantage of people, just like we have been doing to each other since the beginning of time.

We are no more or less loyal, committed, idealistic, realistic or hopeful about love and relationships than generations past. Stop idealizing your grandparents generation because a LOT of the things they had, you would HATE, and a lot of the stuff you take for granted today, they would have KILLED for.

This Is Your Conscience

When Lincoln Anthony Blades is not writing for his controversial and critically acclaimed blog ThisIsYourConscience.com, he can be found contributing articles for Uptown Magazine. Lincoln wrote the hilarious and insightful book "You're Not A Victim, You're A Volunteer: How To Stop Letting Love Kick Your Ass". He is also a public speaker who has sat on panels all over North America and the Caribbean.

39 Comments

  1. lincolnanthonyblades

    08/21/2012 at 3:18 AM

    Ladies & Gentlemen, Do You Think We Had It Better Off Then Or We Have It Better Now? Or Do You Think It's Neither And Things Just Simply Changed?

    • Vicky

      08/21/2012 at 9:34 AM

      It's a bitter sweet thing. Your points are valid, a lot has to do with the change of the woman's role in society.

      Let's face it, men cheated then as well but then woman didn't have her own money to pick up and leave. The man was the sole provider. They stayed by their man through thick and thin because that's what woman were supposed to do. Divorce was unheard of and for the few that did go through it, they were the ones who were shunned upon by society.

      Now with that being said, I will bring in my grandparents….both worked when they migrated to Canada….they had to in order to feed their 4 children. They split the house hold chores, everything was 50/50. Both had the MOST respect for one another no matter how hard times got. I'm not only blaming women, but ultimately society itself was different. Vows meant something, people were accountable for what they said or did, it's like a whole different world.

      • lincolnanthonyblades

        08/21/2012 at 3:18 PM

        It Definitely IS A Whole Different World And While I Agree With Your Points, There Is Also A LOT Of Ways Both of Your Grandparents Were Restricted Which They Wouldn't Be Today.

        • Vicky

          08/21/2012 at 3:40 PM

          Yes they were in many ways! But I do not think that it would change the amount of love, commitment and respect they had for one another. They been through hell and back with each other in the old country and even more so here when they were starting their lives.

          I think the main difference here is that people in the older generation had what we are losing as a society – RESPECT for others. Too many selfish people running in the streets and not caring for others. How are you supposed to be in a "loving" relationship/marriage and yet be so damn selfish that you cannot put someone else before you? Then they wonder why are they alone and have a twisted misconception of life.

          • lincolnanthonyblades

            08/21/2012 at 3:55 PM

            I Think It Would Have Changed Them Even Getting Together In The First Place. If Your Grandparents Came From A Third World Country (For Example) The Societies Traditional Dating Standards Would Not Have Existed, Therefore Threatening The Ease Of Them Getting Together In The First Place.

          • Vicky

            08/21/2012 at 4:18 PM

            Now you are opening up another can of worms. We can sit here and discuss the if's, and's or but's about them meeting and what not. This is about the relationship as we know it; the differences of then and now marriages. Let's not get into the dating of that generation cause we weren't there during that time and we are only going on what our grandparents say it was like (that is if you were fortunate enough to know your grandparents). Ultimately, times were different, people were different, they had different values all together compared to us now. They weren't money hungry and trying to show off their possessions. They were lucky to have a plate of food in front of them at the end of the night. They had to sew their own clothes, and repair everything they had because throwing it out was not an option. They worked hard to achieve the simple life, not handed to them on a silver platter like most of us. They worked in places you would never step foot into because it's "too dirty" or "unsafe", to them it was a job that gave them money. They weren't as picky as we are. Let's face it, we are a spoiled generation and it's only getting worse!

          • lincolnanthonyblades

            08/21/2012 at 4:25 PM

            But Who's A Spoiled Generation? Definitely Not THIS One. We Have Faced Economic And Social Challenges Our Grandparents And Parents NEVER Had To Deal With. We Are A Generation That Has Been Exposed To Possibilities Former Generations Would Have NEVER Expected And The Concept Of TRUE LOVE Is One Of Them.

            My Grandparents Had An ISLAND To Find Love And Marriage On – I Literally Have The ENTIRE WORLD At My Fingertips. Why SHOULD I Settle And "Work" When I KNOW I Don't Have To Accept BS. Marriage Back In The Days Was A Crapshoot And If You Ended Up Screwed You Just Had To Deal With It, Because Where Would You Go? Where Would You Really Find Love Elsewhere?

          • Vicky

            08/21/2012 at 4:46 PM

            Second paragraph, we have more options, hence more reason for us not to settle – agreed.

            My grandparents were in WWII (they were children but none the less they remember what happened and what they saw in their home town)…..how are you comparing going through a world war any less difficult than the economic and social challenges of today? Let's just keep this in mind of our country of Canada (since you and I are both Canadian) and there are no "war zones" that I know of here. Yes, HUGE recession that did hit globally, EVERYONE was affected. But I cannot say that we have been hit harder than they have in the past

          • lincolnanthonyblades

            08/21/2012 at 5:00 PM

            Economically Speaking, Your Grandparents Were DATING In A Much LESS Volatile TIme Economically Speaking, While Today We Are Dating In An Economy That Is So Tough It FORCES Is To Quantify Our Partners Financial State More Than Any Time Ever Before (http://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2011/11/08/how-does-the-current-economic-recession-compare-to-the-great-depression/).

            World War 2 Was The Mother Of All Wars, But There Are Many Wars All Around Us Today.

            Canada Has The Highest Average Age Of Marriage In North And South America, And That Speaks NOT To Selfishness As Much As It Does To Survival.

          • Vicky

            08/22/2012 at 8:38 AM

            I got laid off in 08, I didn't have a job for two years. There were resources around that helped me, unlike back in WWII. My grandparents were lucky to have onions and bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Even though I didn't work, I still had food to eat…and a variety at that. My point – in essence, we are saying the same thing. The world has changed, times have changed, people have changed, overall priorities have changed. I'm sure we can both agree to this. We have more options and opportunities around us than our grandparents did.

    • iluvwhoiluv

      08/21/2012 at 12:06 PM

      I agree with petersburgh in the fact that technology makes cheating a lot easier to do than back then.

      Well, if you are asking overall, do we as a society have it better, then the answer is definitely yes. However, I do feel like in the midst of these freedoms and advances, we can take things for granted.

      I sit back and think of my grandparent's relationship. They were together for well over 50 years before my grandfather died of cancer a little over a year ago. I am not going to romanticize them by deeming them perfect, but they seemed to have a good grasp over what battles to pick and which to let go. I also think if my grandmother had the choice and the accessibility to birth control, like women do now, she would have had less children…she had a total of 8 (one died in childbirth). My grandfather was primarily the sole provider, but there was a period of time after he got out of the military where it was tough for him to get employment, so my grandmother continued to be a housekeeper until he was able to get on his feet, then she cut down on her employment until finally she had to quit after I was born, and she saw my mom wasn't being responsible in taking care of me. They were there for each other, no matter what.

      The gripe I have with some people is that they don't take their marriage vows seriously–that the moment any type of disagreement comes up, they are ready to bail. Every situation doesn't have to be do or die. People are too caught up in the wedding, the reception, and the honeymoon and mix that up with marriage. Also, too many people are using romance books, movies as blueprints for how a marriage should be–not saying that there isn't any romance in marriage, but it isn't all roses all the time.

      Marriage is more than just two people loving each other; it is a partnership; it's an investment. If some people would look at marriage more objectively than using rose colored glasses, perhaps there would be less divorce, for there will be less people getting married for stupid reasons like "he got some good hair" or "her head and nani game so fierce that no other man can ever get that again"—perhaps exaggerated reasons for marriage, but I've seen it happen.

      • NurseJilly

        08/21/2012 at 2:04 PM

        Well said girl!! Agree with all of it…

      • lincolnanthonyblades

        08/21/2012 at 3:19 PM

        Sorry To Hear About Your Grandfather.

        Good Points.

  2. petersburgh

    08/21/2012 at 6:52 AM

    Yeah I think the big difference between the generations are technology, getting caught and tolerance. Technology makes it easier not more likely, it makes it easier to get caught and the older folk used to tolerate infidelity more than this generation

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      08/21/2012 at 3:20 PM

      Co-Sign.

  3. BADDEST

    08/21/2012 at 9:30 AM

    You hit the nail on the head when you mentioned choice….or the lack of it.
    Choice is an interesting thing for the human mind, while it offers great opportunities it also adds complexity to our daily existence.
    I think the real reason people are nostaglic and reverent about their elders relationships is because they secretly long to not be confronted with so MANY choices….so youre right….nothing has changed as far as the standard male/female challenges and divides within relationships. The only notable difference is the SCALE of the material we have to choose from…..whether it be literal people we're choosing from or the length of time a woman should be career focused, or hell even where a couple should settle and make their lives in the WORLD….couples today need to realize the REAL reason behind their difficulties may not be their personalities but rather how their personalites adapt to combinded CHOICE

    • Jessssss

      08/21/2012 at 2:31 PM

      *standing ovation* Well said.

      • BADDEST

        08/21/2012 at 2:34 PM

        thank you! :)

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      08/21/2012 at 3:21 PM

      Really Good Point.

  4. John J

    08/21/2012 at 10:13 AM

    LOL, I don't know about "we", but women definitely have it better now. I agree with you and have been saying the same things for awhile now. Every time someone wishes they had what their grandparents had (mostly women), I just think that "Your simple butt couldn't handle that nightmare." The only things that's changed is that women have the freedom to be who and what they want and no longer depend on a man to make that happen, and that people put their business out more than the older generation; maybe technology plays a role in that, but I'm thinking it's more so just lack of couth with today's generation. Granddad and the granduncles may have had a side family in the next town or two over and you didn't find out until he passed away or you was about to date someone in the family, then you get hit with the "You know that's yo cousin, right?" or some family reference. These days folks don't even "try" to hide the side piece they smashing the next door down. Another great post, man.

    • Jessssss

      08/21/2012 at 2:30 PM

      exactly. At least back in the day your "side-boo" lived across town. Nowadays its your wife's best friend or her sister. And the funny thing is that the "other woman" now has the cajones (sp) to step to a wife and say what they will or won't do. Or just confront her period.

      You are already sleeping with my husband and now you have a list of demands? There is no respect in "whoredom". When did it all go down hill? Any chick on the side can have 3 seats off the side a bridge with no parachute.

      That is all.

      • lincolnanthonyblades

        08/21/2012 at 3:24 PM

        I Think Upward Mobility Confused The LIVES Of Sidechicks. There Once Was A Time When It Was The Mans Responsibility To PROVIDE For Her. Because Women Are Independent Now, Men Ain't Providing SHIT-ALL For Sidechicks Except Some Hard Richard And Bubblegum, And Many Sidechicks Feel ENTITLED.

        • Jessssss

          08/21/2012 at 4:20 PM

          Yes, yes and yes!

        • nolabels

          08/22/2012 at 10:10 AM

          Yes indeed!

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      08/21/2012 at 3:22 PM

      Thanks John.

      But That Family Out Of Town Shit Is REAL. That's Happened To Me On BOTH Sides Of My Family In The Last Ten Years Regarding My Grandparents. Shit Is Crazy.

  5. Jessica

    08/21/2012 at 1:50 PM

    I really enjoyed this post and I read the article by Demetria. You made some great points and I agree that while the way in which we do things may have changed, the things we're doing haven't.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      08/21/2012 at 3:25 PM

      Co-Sign Your Point.

      Thanks For Reading Jessica!

  6. Jessssss

    08/21/2012 at 2:26 PM

    I have no special grandparent memories. My maternal grandmother was a hustler, a mother and a woman of the world. So I never had a grandpa that I knew. She had more than one man that fathered her children but she was never ashamed of it. She was born into a sharecropping family and was married and had her first baby by the time she was 12 yrs old. He began to beat her and by the time she was 15 she had 2 kids, a 6th grade education and train ticket to Cali. She never looked back. So there was no romanticizing marriage. She always told me it was hard work and I should never ever forget how hard it could be.

    That has always stuck with me. Every couple that I know of that has been married more than 10 years are more partners than husband and wife. They understand balance and the fact that irregardless to if I hurt your feelings… we are in it for the long haul. Giving up is not an option.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      08/21/2012 at 3:26 PM

      See I Think GIving Up Really WASN'T An Option. But Not Necessarily In A GOOD Way.

      • Jessssss

        08/21/2012 at 4:22 PM

        "Not in a GOOD Way" do you mean they settled or dealt with unfair treatment? I don't entirely understand… I think.

        • lincolnanthonyblades

          08/21/2012 at 5:03 PM

          Women Had Less Social Mobility Back In The Days, So Dealing With Loveless, Abusive And Unhappy Marriages Was The NORM. Women These Days Can Pick Up And Leave Frowsy, Unfaithful And Douchey Men.

          Hell, It Wasn't Until 1993 That All States In The U.S. Agreed That Spousal Rape Needed To Be Outlawed – 1993!

          • Jessssss

            08/21/2012 at 5:20 PM

            Oh wow! I didn't know about that spousal rape law. That is insane! Right so that is why I give my grandma major kudos. She got up out! She felt that her life was more important than some dude twice her age punching her in the head.

  7. Candice

    08/21/2012 at 3:24 PM

    This post hits home because I have my grandmother from Trinidad staying with me. I don't know how long she was married to my grandfather before he died, but it was a long hard road. My grandmother had her first of eight children at 15 years old. She had to stay with her husband because there was no where else to go. My dad told me of stories of when he was younger and there wasn't much money to buy groceries or anything else. My grandmother stayed home and took care of the house. On top of all of that my grandfather had a love child with a different woman and one of the 8 children died when she was 2 from illness.

    Although people get divorced more nowadays but I would rather have my freedom than to HAVE to get married to someone because that was the thing to do and out of necessity.

    So yes it's true that people back then stayed together longer but their marriage was not all sunshine and lollypops.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      08/21/2012 at 3:55 PM

      Good Points Candice.

  8. Diana

    08/21/2012 at 5:04 PM

    I think one reason we "glorify" the past and I say this half-jokingly, mostly serious, is because that generation knew how to keep a secret boy! It is not until you learn the intricacies of your family cause some great auntie is murmuring in the back of the reunion that 'he/she ain't even really kinfolk anyway' that you be like say what what? In a world where everyone knows everyone's business, things come to the light way quicker and become less tolerable.

    There are a lot of things my granny will gloss over and she is the current keeper of the family legends. Idk what will happen, how much will go unknown, when she is gone. For good, better or worse, there was a lot of sucking up of stuff (that today's generation might balk at) and doing things to keep a semblance of family intact, lives on track, and doing what was needed to just get by: accept a cheating man, raise an outside child, raise your teen sibling's child, and on. It is like noble, mind blowing, admirable, and confounding all at the same time.

    • lincolnanthonyblades

      08/21/2012 at 8:29 PM

      All Of THIS.

    • nolabels

      08/22/2012 at 10:12 AM

      Yes, indeed…all of this.

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