As much as I love a good romance novel and live off Julia Roberts movies, it has dawned on me how useless they are in real-life situations. Of course, we adore them, they fill our heads with the cutest date ideas and teach us that ‘love always wins’. But the undeniable truth is that it is purely fiction, and the predicaments we find ourselves in are not.
Aside from the clichés that form the foundations of these novels and movies, the other fatal flaw that they promote is that everything works out in the end. This is not at all me being cynical and depressing, but if you think about it: how many times have you read a novel where the first person the main character falls in love with, is the person they end up marrying? How many times have you watched a movie that works on the premise of romantic feelings being strong enough to overcome every hurdle that the plot throws at the character? Yes, people marry their first love sometimes and maybe the love you have with someone is so strong that it combats all the obstacles you face. Sometimes. Maybe.
I admit that I am a little young to have the extensive relationship experience that I have, but if there are a few things that this young woman has learned from her failed relationships it’s this:
1. You have to kiss a couple dozen frogs to get the royal.
Life, Jesus, Mother Nature (whatever higher power you believe in) has a very interesting sense of humor. Often, we are handed people who are all types of wrong for us. Don’t take this as a bad thing. I am grateful for all my experiences, even if some of them were pretty awful. Each relationship shaped me, little by little- until I became the version of myself that I am proud to be. They made me ready for the relationship that I am in now and if I hadn’t gone through that I also would not appreciate my partner as much as I do. The past experiences teach us what we need in a relationship and the type of partner that we need… eventually when we are with that person, we realize that this was how we should’ve been treated all along.
2. Love is not a feeling
Public media teaches us that love is the butterflies we get in our stomach, our hearts skipping a beat or feeling like we are floating on a cloud. It is so much more than that. Those sensations fade away and we are left with this person who is no longer shiny and new. Love is a decision and a commitment. You have to choose that person every day: choose them when they annoy you, choose them when you’re fighting and choose them when the ground beneath you gets shaky. There will be bad days, when you don’t know if this is what you want anymore, but no relationship just has good days and bad days make us appreciate the good days that much more.
3. Loving someone doesn’t mean that the relationship will last
You’re going to love more than one person in your life, and sometimes things truly aren’t meant to be- that’s okay. Not every relationship is meant to last, and you need to love yourself enough to know when to walk away. Just because one relationship didn’t last does not mean that every relationship is doomed to fail. You will find the right person when you are the version of yourself that is meant to be with them.
I’m sorry if you opened this article expecting to find step-by-step guidelines on how to make a relationship last and the type of partner you should be on the lookout for. But the truth is that every person is different and requires different things from a relationship… there is no possible way that I could know what works for you.
But if you are willing to put in the effort: to make compromises, communicate your grievances, accept them as they are and love each of their flaws… well, I think that you have got a greater chance of having that relationship last.