Dick Richards returns to Your Ex to extract the realities of relationships out of the heavily filtered lives of ‘happy’ Instagram couples.

Whatever situation we’re in, whether it be single or in a relationship, we can always see the greener grass. But nowadays, people’s grass is severely filtered through social media or a bit tongue. What you see isn’t always how it is. Faces are smoother, the scenery is more colourful, and people’s lives are so fun and drama-free LOL. Reality is bent and manipulated by a single photo, and it can affect our perception of how we feel about ourselves and our lives.

I remember being single in the gay capital of Aotearoa, and whenever I saw a gay couple together, whether it be at a bar, at the supermarket, or walking down the street, my heart sank. I so wanted to have a boyfriend/partner, and single life can be lonely sometimes – especially if a lot of your single friends have all coupled up. Then you’d get those couples who would post those pictures together on holiday, on a romantic date, or standing outside a ‘sold’ sign next to their first house, and you’d either think, ‘Aw, that’s cute’ or ‘Fuck them!’ Tell me I’m wrong.


Based on the images people posted and the relationships I saw around me, I thought being in a relationship would be like catching a wave back onto the shore – fun and an easy ride. Insert crying laughing emoji. 

Dating is fun and can also be hard – we all know that. However, being in a romantic relationship is another level of work. Why? Because instead of one person, there are two, or even more. If you ever had the thought that having a partner would be the key to unlocking your happiness, then – I’m sorry, friend – you need to re-evaluate those Disney ideologies. Relationships have their challenges, and they require a commitment to face those challenges. 

Let me clarify: I said work – I didn’t say chore. There is a huge difference…

‘Work’ in a relationship means communicating. Some find that easy, and some don’t. But if you want a relationship to work, you’re going to have to communicate and possibly have some awkward discussions – like what you want and what you don’t want, what you like and what you don’t like, how you’re feeling, how they’re feeling, etc… There are discussions about boundaries, what your partner is comfortable with you doing in public and private, and vice versa. When you’re creating a relationship unit, you are going to have to compromise on things, especially when it comes to ‘single life’ habits. You may need to shut down your OnlyFans or stop your glory-hole adventures. You get the picture. 

Every successful relationship I’ve ever known has taken work. There are challenges that you never thought you’d face, and there is compromise. It can be frustrating, but it can also be extremely rewarding. You learn and grow and hopefully become a better version of yourself. I’m not saying you can’t learn and grow and be a better version of yourself if you’re single, either. All I’m saying is that if you’re wanting to be in a relationship and currently aren’t, that doesn’t mean anything. There are pros and cons to every situation. What you see and what actually is, isn’t always visible from the outside. It’s all about perception. And maybe the grass isn’t actually greener, it’s just been heavily filtered.