Resolution: Let's stop getting serious in love

Posted at 3:39 PM Dec 30, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

When two people who care about each other stop waffling on commitment and decide they're going to really, truly see if this thing could work out in the long term, that's when they get "serious." Start thinking marriage, moving in, claiming somebody on your health insurance, and all of a sudden, it's "serious."

Why do things get "serious" at the very point at which many commitment-minded people would consider things the most fun? At the moment when the relationship first feels sure and strong?



There is a time and place for seriousness in our lives. But why associate seriousness with loving relationships? In 2010, a semantic resolution: I think making love and relationships less "serious" is a fine goal.

Does this Reference.com entry for "serious" sound like something you want near your long-term relationship? Here are listed synonyms:

austere, bound, bound and determined, businesslike, cold sober, contemplative, deadpan, deliberate, determined, downbeat, earnest, funereal, genuine, go for broke, grave, grim, honest, intent, long-faced, meditative, no-nonsense, pensive, pokerfaced, reflective, resolute, resolved, sedate, set, severe, sincere, sober, solemn, staid, steady, stern, thoughtful, unhumorous, unsmiling, weighty

Funereal? Cripes. Serious isn't associated with love and happiness. It's associated with things like courts of law (not serious? meet contempt of court) and anger (Mom is seriously mad) and Grey's Anatomy (serious drama.) The only time I want to get serious with my boyfriend is if we need to have a serious chat about something that is seriously wrong.

Committing to love and care for someone for the foreseeable future is nothing to sneer at. But it's also awesome and exhilarating and, hopefully, full of smiling and emotional celebration. Saying things are "serious" with your girlfriend kind of sounds like she somehow ended up in the ICU, not that you fell in love and got all smooshy-kissy and decided to have hot sex on the regular.

How do you know if someone is serious about something? Usually they're frowning, and perhaps even upset or angry, and maybe telling you to go sit in the corner and think about what you've done or asking you to give your life to Jesus or instructing you to sign on the dotted line for custody. These are things we want associated with our boyfriends and girlfriends and husbands and wives? No, thank you.

"Things are getting serious with Mike." What happened to him? Did he have to go in a time-out? No wonder so many people are afraid of serious relationships. The name alone makes them sound like drudgery. Yes, relationships are work and there are times when a somber face and solemn attitude can be necessary. But should we really assign such a humorless word to our entire characterization of something that makes us happy?

Comments

Paul said:

I think close would work nicely.

Susan said:

Who is happy in a long-term, committed relationship? I know *I've* never been happy in one. I think serious is the perfect term.

Jim Bustovsky said:

This thesaurus gives more funny synonyms for 'serious'.

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