From the time we were toddlers, we have been fed the Hollywood classic love story. A beautiful, smart girl finds a man she can change for the better, and then they live happily ever after. Or how about the girl that doesn’t know she is beautiful until the most amazing guy comes right along and sweeps her off her feet and they live happily ever after?
As we approach our teens, the same underlying story exists, but the cartoons are replaced with awkward middle school stories and the classic “boy who is mean to you actually likes you” love logic. And yet every single movie, every single show, always ends with a happily ever after.
Into adulthood, movies become a little more relatable and realistic. There are some additional dramatic scenes thrown in there, some points that leave you questioning, “Which one will she choose?” But all the same, it always ends with a happily ever after.
So it makes sense that as we grow up in this world, when all we’ve been fed are happily ever afters, is that we expect the same for our everyday lives. Maybe love does turn out to be a happily ever after, but life is long and you can’t expect to reach the ending when you’re only in the second scene. My point is, the first person you are serious with isn’t always going to be The One. I know Hollywood likes feed us this first love bullshit, but there are many more loves after the first. They aren’t sharing the entire story.
Love comes in all different shapes and sizes and finds you at various points in your life. Each side of love will have a different edge and may not fit with the puzzle of your life. You don’t always discover this misshaped edge immediately — oftentimes it takes months or even years to realize the piece may not belong. We keep hoping and clinging to the thought of “What if this is the one?” But if the piece doesn’t fit, what do you do? You can try to change the piece, bend it to match the others, but even in the end the picture won’t look right.
Not everyone we meet is meant to be in our lives forever. God has a plan for everyone, along with lessons that are meant to be learned. Heartbreak hurts but it is recoverable and just makes us better for the next person we meet. Just because someone isn’t “the one” doesn’t mean your love together was phony. There are different types of love in this world, and some aren’t meant to be lifelong.
It’s painful to realize a relationship with someone you love and care for may come to an end. I’ve had my fair share of heartbreak, but I have grown and learned so much about myself afterwards. In hindsight, I don’t even think about the pain I experienced. Pain is temporary and sometimes necessary to push us into the next phase of our life.
Another fairytale cliché Hollywood feeds us is “love at first sight.” This is such bullshit. Love does not happen at first sight. Maybe lust at first sight? Okay, I’ll give them that, but you cannot love someone before you even know them. People are not that simple of creatures, and it’s ridiculous to act as if they are. We all have multiple dimensions of ourselves, and to truly love someone is to love all those dimensions, no matter how ugly, messed up, or ridiculous they are. When you first meet someone, do you think they are going to expose all those dimensions to you? Hell no! They are going to keep the crazy on lockdown for at least a few months until they get more comfortable. Love takes time; it isn’t instantaneous. Morals and values may stay the same, but people are continuously changing.
Your love life isn’t meant to follow the Hollywood storyline. Actors are doing exactly just that – acting. Falling in love takes time and work. It isn’t always going to be rainbows and butterflies. I have been dating someone for months and we still have our random hiccups here and there — it is normal. If things were perfect and good all the time, we wouldn’t realize they were. We need the downs to make us realize what the ups feel like.
Every rough patch a couple gets through improves on the understanding of one another and makes a relationship stronger. Rough patches that end in heartbreak may feel as if they make us weak, but after recovery, they really make us stronger. When we stop comparing our real lives to a Hollywood love story, we stop creating these fantasy scenarios in our heads. These scenarios are not real, and when we expect them to be, we only set ourselves up for failure.
Don’t settle for false happy endings. Too many times I see people push through and try to keep a relationship going because of all the time they’ve invested. A few years seems like so long now, but in the grand scheme of life, it’s just one step of the road. Heartbreak is here to teach us a lesson, to teach us more about ourselves and grow. You can’t love someone until you love yourself. This sounds cliché, but you will believe its truth once you really do love yourself and are in a relationship.
So next time you pull out a Hollywood movie, don’t look at it as a roadmap for your love life. When you look at your relationship for what it is and discover what true happiness feels like, it often fills the void better than a Hollywood happily ever after.