The jury is still out on whom or what to blame, but given the mix of movies, talk shows, TV series and books that many young people have spent time with, it’s not surprising that there are several myths about love and relationships that people actually take as truth — including me, once upon a time. We’ve heard these things so much that we’ve come to believe them and end up ruining our chances of building real, lasting love. Here are three of the things I’ve heard recently that bring these myths to mind:
“I’m just not excited about her anymore.” Err…that high wasn’t meant to last forever! “A good relationship = great romance” is a myth. Nobody rides on that high permanently, so it’s a huge mistake to think that when the passion fades, you’re not in love anymore. Many people leave a relationship at this stage and get into another one where, of course, this new person gives them that emotional high they’re looking for. Then, when the buzz fades, they realize they’ve “fallen out of love” and start looking out for someone new. Perhaps we can blame fairytales for this. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, “If the old fairy-tale ending ‘They lived happily ever after’ is taken to mean ‘They felt for the next fifty years exactly as they felt the day before they were married,’ then it says what probably never was nor ever could be true…” As a relationship matures, that dizzying infatuation grows into a deeper, more secure love. This is real life.
“If you can’t bare your mind, your relationship is not authentic.” I don’t know where we get the idea that you should be able to say any and everything to your partner if what you have is real. In the name of honesty and communication we have people saying all kinds of hurtful, unnecessary things to their partner. Getting stuff off your chest feels good, but is it worth damaging your relationship for? You can’t take words back after you’ve blurted them out. Many relationships have been destroyed because someone felt they were “just being honest” when they actually were JUST being CRUEL!. Yes, a relationship should be a safe space where you don’t have to pretend, but your partner’s feelings should always be taken into consideration. Not everything has to be said. In fact, many things should remain unsaid. It’s not pretense, it is wisdom and kindness.
“We don’t see things the same way, so he can’t be The One.” I have to admit, I fell for this one as a younger woman. You know how the guy understands you right away, you see things through each other’s eyes, have so much in common, know just how to love each other right…in fact, you’re soul mates! This is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s fantastic to share all of these, but it becomes dangerous when you buy into the idea that if it’s not this way between both of you, you can’t be together or you aren’t meant for each other. Never forget that there’s more to great relationships than a great meeting of minds. I know someone who, fortunately, figured this out before she got into what would have been a disappointing marriage. She said, “He and I used to finish each other’s sentences. Our conversations would last five hours at a time. I’ve never felt so alive or stimulated. But life wouldn’t have worked with him…he was not someone I could rely on.”
The truth is that love in real life and love in the movies can be very, very different. Don’t get carried away.