Knights in shining armor, Prince Charming and Lancelot are fun to read about, but they’ve got a lot to answer for. Perhaps they don’t deserve all the blame for myths about love, but they’ve definitely conjured more than a few romantic notions, that just don’t seem to go away.
Most love stories follow a very specific pattern. Boy meets girl, it’s love at first sight, drama and jealousy ensues. In the end, love conquers all and our star-struck couple realize they’ve found their perfect match, for the rest of their lives.
You, as the audience, feel good at the end and hope springs internally, for your own love story. However, you’re not likely to run into a knight in shining armor like Guinevere did and your life lasts a lot longer than a story.
You’re also multifaceted, spontaneous and altogether a hell of a lot more interesting than a fictional tale of love. It’s time to create your own romance novel – by throwing out the mythological guidelines.
Love Just ‘Happens’
While it’s fair to say that many people do fall in love at first sight and stay together forever, many more people don’t. The ‘love just happens’ myth really is the domain of Hollywood alone. ‘Lust’ most certainly just happens, but it usually needs a fair bit of watering before it blooms into love.
No one’s walking around with ‘love me’ signs on their foreheads either, though it’s what most of us want. So, it can be a tad hard to find – especially if you’re waiting for it to run into you on the street in the guise of a Greek god. There’s always a chance fate will intervene and throw a lover in your path, but why not increase the odds yourself?
You can do this by throwing away your rules. Not your values, desires, likes or dislikes – just the rules surrounding them. For example, you might not be a fan of sci-fi movies, polo shirts or camping in in the middle of nowhere. As a result, you delete any online profiles that express interest in alien fiction, you look away when the guy in the polo shirt smiles at you and you forgo a third date when he suggests camping.
Insisting on a potential partner sharing all your likes and dislikes considerably lowers your odds of finding love – mainly because you never get close enough to give it a chance. Attraction comes dressed in many, many costumes. The trick is to see beneath outward differences, in order to feel if there is a connection, rather than ticking specific requirements off a list.
Love has a much better chance of happening when you clear out the old rules, as to why it doesn’t.
Jealousy = Love
There’s something romantic – in a tortured sort of way – about jealous rages. They seem to indicate a depth of love that goes beyond the norm and therein lies the myth. The fascination with watching jealousy-induced drama, as well as living out your own, has a lot to do with escapism, at a superficial level. When it plays out in real life, serious insecurity issues need to be dealt with.
No one wants to see their partner kiss someone else, for example, and if you did a pang of jealousy is a natural reaction. Really though, when you love someone it’s more a sense of hurt that’s experienced, than jealousy.
Jealousy stems from a person’s inability to take responsibility for themselves, their feelings, their emotions and their own lives. In relationships, this often leads to a need to control the other, by flying into a rage every time something triggers insecurities. And there’s no love in that.
There’s Only One Perfect Person
Chances are you’ve already experienced a few relationships. When they didn’t work out, the easiest thing to presume is that they just weren’t the ‘right one’. The thing is, it’s more likely they were, for that specific time in your life. We all continuously grow and evolve throughout life and not necessarily in the same way. This is a normal part of evolution and one that dictates the opposite of the notion, that there’s only one perfect person.
Often, this notion is actually the reason for relationship breakdowns, as the expectation of perfection outweighs the realities of accepting people for who they are. This leads to destructive behavior and blaming each other for not living up to romantic ideals. What’s the result? One or both partners being unwilling to work on issues, in the hope of moving on towards finding ‘the one’.
Then, there’s the soulmate story. While it sounds incredibly romantic to wait for your one true soulmate, doing so disregards all the people in your life who are already soulmates. Do you have a best friend? A fantastic relationship with your dad? A mentor who’s always there for you? Soulmates are the people you form intense connections and, if you’re lucky, you’ll have many throughout your life – which is a whole lot better than the idea of just one mythological lover.
Love Conquers All
Where would a romance novel be, without love conquering all? Probably dusty and alone at the back of the library shelf. We want to believe it, in fact, it’s drummed into us to believe it, but the truth is life is much more complicated.
When we’re hopelessly in love, we think everything else will fall into place. It’s the ‘riding off into the sunset’ part of the movie, leaving us with the feeling of ‘happily ever after’. But, there’s only one certainty in life and that’s that life’s not certain. Relationships require work, even more so when you’re in love. That starry-eyed feeling just isn’t a match for the transient nature of time.
For example, if timing is wrong for one or both people, the path ahead can be too full of obstacles to continue on together. Being monogamous is often harder than lovers presume. Having to compromise is difficult, especially when your own desires are in conflict with your partner’s. You might love your man, but accepting his destructive flaws, as time goes on, could diminish the quality of your life.
Love, in its simplest form, is beautifully unconditional. Relationships, however, are not. At the end of the day, you can’t rely on love to sort out your issues for you. If you could, you wouldn’t learn anything, in order to grow and learn to conquer life yourself.
The beautiful thing is, within the ever-changing process of learning about yourself and improving, you’ll get closer to attracting the person you need, at exactly the right time. And Prince Charming need not apply.