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Relationship Status: It’s Complicated

relationship status complicated

Have you seen people using the phrase “it’s complicated” to describe their relationship status on social media profiles? Is there any chance that you’ve used that description yourself?

Relationship status doesn’t seem to be the only thing getting more complicated these days. Why do you think that is? If you could pick out one major reason why life seems more complicated than it used to, what would you say?

Complicated is as complicated thinks!

While there are no doubt many contributors, here’s a reason you probably didn’t think of. As it turns out, dealing with complex issues actually conditions us to look for complicated solutions.

This means that we often overlook simple solutions, even when they are right in front of our face. Could it be that our own thinking is actually making things more complicated than necessary?

Conditioning has a lot to do with how simple or complex we view the world we live in. To help you experience this phenomenon for yourself, I invite you to watch this short video and do the four simple exercises in it. There’s an important lesson here that can help our relationship status, whether that relationship is with another person, ourselves, or the world in general. Enjoy!

Try simple first

Now rest assured, I’m not saying that everything is always simple. Truth is, some things are more complicated and require complex solutions. The point I really want to make is that we should look for a simple solution first. That means avoiding the tendency to assume that our challenges are more difficult than they really are.

Let’s go back to “relationship status” for a moment. Could it be that a large dose of honest communication would uncomplicated things considerably? Avoiding honest communication can make any relationship way more complicated than it needs to be.

Maybe we have been assuming things about the other person that simply aren’t accurate. Why not ask them to tell you how they feel instead of jumping to conclusions.

All long term, meaningful relationships will face challenges from time to time. Don’t get hypnotized by the seeming complexity of the situation. Try to keep it simple, open, and honest, and see if thing don’t end up feeling much less complicated. I think you will be glad you did.

What do you feel makes relationships seem complicated?
Have you found any simple solutions you are willing to share?
The lines are open and your thoughts are valuable!

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Ladies, want to know how to rewire your man’s brain so he will pay more attention to you and start treating you better? You’ll want to read this article.

42 Comments

  1. John Rocheleau April 12, 2010 Reply

    Hey Jonathan,

    That was pretty cool. It really demonstrated how we seek answers and problem solve, in ways that previous experience has conditioned us to.

    It equally shows us that it takes only a quick realization of how simple things can be, to set us on a new course.

    I loved it :-)
    John

    • Jonathan April 12, 2010 Reply

      Hi John, you are exactly right both ways. As you pointed out, we can use this awareness to easily recondition ourselves to see simple instead of complicated.

  2. Lana April 12, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan, I smiled when started reading your post, I wanted to put that status in my profile couple weeks ago, but then changed my mind quickly. Things truly can be much simpler than we think. Great video!

    • Jonathan April 12, 2010 Reply

      Hi Lana, I have been seeing that status “it’s complicated” so much recently that I just had to use it in a post. I had a feeling a few brave souls would admit to being tempted to use it at some point.

      We are such funny creatures the way our perception can be influenced and changed so easily. Life is moving so fast we need to remind ourselves of the “simple” option.

  3. Anto April 12, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan, love your post as usual :)

    I watched the whole video, and about dividing square D into 7 equal pieces, I got it in just a few seconds… would a qualify for a new world record? :)

    • Jonathan April 12, 2010 Reply

      Anto, that is so cool. You the man! It also suggests that you maintain your ability to see simple solutions even when the environment is getting increasingly more complex. That is a rare gift my friend. Congratulations!

      • Anto April 13, 2010 Reply

        Very nice of you to say Jonathan :)

        Continue the good work… I always find your posts fascinating and refreshing to read!

  4. Zeenat April 12, 2010 Reply

    HI Jonathan,
    As always this post is awesome!
    I especially like how you used the “its complicated” relationship status to explain how our relationships truly can be simple yet rewarding.
    I often giggled when i read a friends status fro the simple reason is…a little quarrel between the partners and she would go and change the status. More out of anger, cause she preferred not tackling the issue.
    I personally think its the lack of communications or the more of ill-communication that leads to complications. Believe me, as you mentioned above, keeping it simple, open and honest in all aspects works wonders for a relationship.
    Thank you fro sharing your thoughts on this Jonathan. They are as always marvelous.
    Much Love, Z~

    • Jonathan April 14, 2010 Reply

      Hi Z~ ill communication, what an appropriate description. Like your friend being angry. In all my experience I have yet to see anger fix a relationship that has a communication problem. Unless dissolving the relationship is considered fixing it.

      I feel that many people have difficulty being honest with others because they haven’t learned how to be honest with themselves.

      Got your email and I am loving the idea.

  5. ZuzannaM April 13, 2010 Reply

    Hello Jonathan,

    That proofs that Math is our daily bread if we look straight and see the clear picture of the situation. There will be no problem in any relationship, including personal, at work place, or the entire world. Only if people tried to focus and think clearly when the problem or issue arise. Great video, thought provoking post. I have enjoyed reading.

    Thank you!
    Zuzanna

    • Jonathan April 14, 2010 Reply

      Thanks Zuzzana, sometimes just recognizing that we have a tendency to complicate things can help us make more of an effort to keep it simple.

  6. Phil April 13, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan –

    I like the principle of this post. The world gets more complex and keeping it simple is a good maxim. I’ve been with my wife for 13 years and the two rules I share are: 1) Trust – you have to trust your partner implicitly. If you do, things get much simpler – if you don’t get out! 2) Partnership – treat the relationship as a partnership, think about what is best for us, rather than me or you. If you both do that, again much simpler. Thanks for a great post!

    Phil

    • Jonathan April 14, 2010 Reply

      Those are great rules Phil. I agree that trust is an absolute must.

      I tell couples contemplating marriage that as long as they don’t violate each others trust, they can probably get through any other challenge that comes along. If they lose the trust, might as well pack it in.

      Congratulations on your 13 years. It’s been almost 26 for us – what a blessing!

  7. Lauren April 13, 2010 Reply

    Ha – I laughed. When someone notes their relationship status is complicated I click right off and skip into cyberspace elsewhere.

    Why? Read complicated: I’m in a relationship but I still want to mess around with other people.

    Yepper, that gets complicated.

    What makes a relationship appear complicated? I think it’s as you say, lack of honesty and openness.

    Life is way too short and my time and relationships are way too important to play those kinds of games!

    Good post!

    • Jonathan April 14, 2010 Reply

      Hi Lauren, I really like where you are coming from. You nailed it in a straight forward way that I totally appreciate. Thank you calling it like it is!

  8. Jeremy Johnson April 13, 2010 Reply

    The video fooled me. I was trying to do 7 lines curved, diagonal, and in varying shapes. How silly when you see the solution. Thanks for sharing this!

    • Jonathan April 14, 2010 Reply

      Hey Jeremy, that’s how our minds get focused away from simple. Show us a situation were things get progressively more complex and right away we forget to look for simple. When that tendency serves us we call it being adaptable. When it fools us we call it marketing!

  9. Mike King April 14, 2010 Reply

    Well I’ll admit I didn’t watch the video, I’m not much of a video fan online actually, its too slow compared to reading so I usually just skip past. However, the topic of relationships and communication still caught me eye here. People who state they have a complicated relationships tend to LIKE complicated situations and often thrive on chaos and actually create that for themselves. Communication is a blanket statement for way too much nowadays as well, and it by itself can be complicated, but if you look at a few elements of it and break it down, the complicate is eliminated. How about ensuring you have a conversation about what your most important aspects of a relationships are? How about explaining to each other what you expect in a relationship? How about spending time with each other in a relationship without talking and using other communication tools that are far more readable and impactful (body language). You could venture into these topics so deep here Jonathan, and thanks for the amusing reference to that complicated status we often see. It makes me sad though when I see it, relationships never have to be complicated!

    • Jonathan April 15, 2010 Reply

      Hey Mike, you make some excellent points here, but then again, that’s what we expect from you my friend. You are deep well and I appreciate that.

      But the whole (simple) point here was made in the video, and you missed out because you didn’t watch it. Besides, I need to know how you do on the 4th problem. So, be a good sport, it’s only 3:31 out of your life. You’ll like it, I promise!

  10. J.D. Meier April 14, 2010 Reply

    > look for a simple solution first
    Words of wisdom.

    Simple is elegance in action.

    • Jonathan April 14, 2010 Reply

      Thanks J.D., sometimes we all need to remind ourselves of that.

  11. Steve April 14, 2010 Reply

    Jonathan, the statement I liked the most from your post is that, relationships can be as complicated as you think they are. My thinking, quite often, has to be corrected to a more simple form. How we view our most important relationships will, in great part, inform how we communicate in those relationships.

    • Jonathan April 15, 2010 Reply

      Hey Steve, the world works hard to make everything as complicated as possible and we adapt to that. I think we all need reminders to focus on simplicity and this little video seemed to do the trick. Thanks for your continued support and encouragement my friend.

  12. You tricked me Jonathan! I can’t BELIEVE I didn’t divide that stupid square into 7 equal pieces. I was so looking for a complex solution and I am quite impressed with how the conditioning works. The video proves your point above and beyond any words, even though I like the content that goes with it. Thank you for giving a unique example and making an indelible expression on me.

    • Jonathan April 14, 2010 Reply

      Don’t feel bad Farnoosh, it tricked me also. I fell right into the same pattern as you did. It’s a good thing to recognize about ourselves so we can always be on the lookout for a simpler way. Thanks so much for you support, you are really appreciated.

      • Jonathan, I think the question as to how bad I feel depends on whether my husband will fall for it or not – he is annoyingly smart and I am hoping that he will fall for it like us too but we’ll see ;)!

        • Oh my, It got him too – Now I am convinced you have a fool-proof video there to prove your point! Jonathan, I now believe in the power of conditioning even more….thank you!

          • Jonathan April 15, 2010 Reply

            That’s a funny little process you just went through. I loved it. Thanks for the smiles Farnoosh.

  13. Nea April 14, 2010 Reply

    Wow. That video was amazing. I was so ticked at myself for not getting the answer. But I get it. The mind is just funny that way. A previous complexity may lead us to believe that the next situation will be equally difficult to solve. Great job reminding us all to look for the simplicity in everything.

    • Jonathan April 15, 2010 Reply

      Thanks Nea, isn’t it amazing how quickly the mind sees a trend and adapts to it, even anticipating what comes next after very limited exposure. Adaptability is a wonderful thing, we just need to remember to exercise some some control over the direction.

  14. Richard April 25, 2010 Reply

    The relationship is only complicated to the extent that they label it. They think “is it girlfriend boyfriend, one night stand, long term etc”. They miss out on the most beautiful part of the relationship which is beyond thinking and labellingand in the experiencing of it.

    • Jonathan March 2, 2011 Reply

      Hey Richard, I think that a certain degree of labeling is unavoidable. The category of “Relationships” is huge and includes a wide variety of possibilities from work to family and everything in between. While I agree that the value is in the experience, I also think that understanding the parameters is important. We don’t expect the same thing from a colleague at work that we expect from a marriage mate.

  15. Richard May 16, 2010 Reply

    Relationships are complicated because men and women are so different. If people can “keep it simple”, more power to them but I have rarely seen it stay simple.

    • Jonathan March 2, 2011 Reply

      There is a lot of truth in that, but men are different form other men and the same goes for women. We are all different from one another and this is precisely why we need the right relationship skills, so we can choose simple rather than complicated.

  16. Sandra Hendricks August 5, 2010 Reply

    It is a funny thing how simple life can be if we permit it to be Jonathan. This sounds like a version of the K.I.S.S. rule. I have often thought that we need to become “simple minded”. I mean this in a good way. If we tend to magnify, overemphasize and over generalize, this baffles our minds. Simple relations with other people as well and I think most importantly ourselves is the place to begin.

    • Jonathan March 2, 2011 Reply

      Hi Sandra, I have also found that mutual respect helps keep things from getting over complicated.

  17. khalifa July 20, 2011 Reply

    Nice article, it really helped. Now I have changed my mind on this issue . On my Facebook account I change my relationship status to “simple” instead of ”complicated” Thanks Jonathan!!!

  18. Gretta October 26, 2011 Reply

    Occam’s razor, also known as Ockham’s razor, and sometimes expressed in Latin as lex parsimoniae (the law of parsimony, economy or succinctness), is a principle that generally recommends selecting from among competing hypotheses the one that makes the fewest new assumptions.

    Other’s have defined the Occam’s razor principle as “The simplest solution is usually the right one.”

    We try so hard to outdo ourselves, to ovethink and overanalyze when sometimes all we need to do is relax our brains and start over.
    I think this works the same way with relationships. Take a few deep breaths, stop thinking about all the things that are going wrong, or the argument, or things that bother you about the other person and just clear your mind. Start afresh. Maybe the thing that is at the front of your mind when you are relaxed is the thing you should focus on the most.

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