There are many fantasies about love. Many of them are unaware and can torpedo our love happiness out of the ambush.
Love stories have always made our hearts beat faster. Even though we realize that love rarely follows the dramaturgy of books or movies, the stories work so well because we believe, at least in part, in the yearnings of the main characters. Most people have a romantic idea of love. Perhaps it is just some of these transfigured beliefs about what the love must be and that must prevent us from living a true love.
Love stories reflect what we long for, what we are afraid of, and how stupid we can sometimes be in love. They show that we are not alone with our dreams and fears. So we can over the love-suffering of the main characters, our own mistakes from the distance beschmunzeln, mourn, even learn from them in the best case. At the same time, the mostly formulaic narratives of classic love stories shape our definition of romantic love: two are made for each other, they just have to overcome some obstacles, then they find each other in the happy ending. All’s well that ends well. Or?
Of course we know that real life is not so easy. And love not at all. Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to take a closer look: What do we dream of and what do we understand by romantic love in real life? Everyone has an idea about what love has to be and can be. Some ideas are aware of us. But some beliefs are hidden and designed as unconscious thought patterns in us. They can prevent us from experiencing and living a deep, fulfilling love. Which of the following myths do you know from your own love life?
1. Enchanting, overwhelming sex is a sign of heartfelt love
Satisfying sex can be addictive. That desire, that total oneness with the moment, the loss of control, and the plunge into sensual pleasure – all of this makes us feel alive, in demand and full of energy. When a person triggers these intense passionate feelings in us, then that must be love, we think all too fast. Much of the romantic films are based on this idea, much of our love affair as well. Because first of all, passion is just that: attraction and desire. It is not always those who dress us physically and with whom we harmonize sexually that are also good partners for us – or we for them.
True love needs time to develop. She also needs a respectful distance to get to know the other and to find out if the needs and the way of life really fit together. Passion and sexual attraction can be a beginning for a love. Or just a moment of happiness that we can enjoy all the more, the less expectations we have of a possible future.
2. When I (finally) have a relationship, I am happy
To love and to be loved is without question one of the basic needs of man: a fulfilled love can give us stability, strength and joy. It can even be beneficial. But the love that has this ability lives, among other things, that both partners take responsibility for themselves. That is our job, both without and especially with partners: to take care of ourselves and take our luck into our own hands. With a job, friends and hobbies that meet our values and fulfill us. With the decision to find joy in small things every day. Then love can be the icing on the cake that completes our happiness.
That does not mean that we first have to find the perfect job and the perfect life to enter into a love relationship. But even in difficult life stages, we should not draw all our happiness from our partnership. This burden is too heavy and in the long run of love can take away its lightness and its magic. It works the other way round: Happy people are magically attractive: their ability to think positively and to shape their lives according to their needs makes them to inspiring partners at eye level, we like to have by our side. Why not be such a fascinating person yourself?
3. There is only one true love
The romantically transfigured ideal of a great love that lasts a lifetime can make us expect too much from our partner and never open ourselves to love. Or that we devalue a love in retrospect and say “I did not really love him or her”. “He was not the right one” or “She was not the right one”. Behind these sentences lies just this fearsome claim to eternity. Perhaps another perspective can take the pressure of expectation out of love and allow us to look more deeply into past relationships: every love is a true love the moment it is lived.
4. With the “right one”, a relationship is always easy and straightforward
No matter how wonderful and great our partners (and ourselves) are: relationships require work. Two people meet with their stories, their injuries, their needs and their ideas. There will be different opinions. There will be clashes. There will be hurtful words. Lovers do not love each other at every moment. Sometimes one finds the partner really stupid and wonders if one can and wants to spend his life with such a person.
These questions and doubts are healthy and can have a cleansing effect. Loving means always deliberately choosing love. And that also means that every day we contribute our share to our love. By meeting our partner with mindfulness, respect and empathy. And by making sure that there are always romantic, funny or exciting moments that keep love alive.
5. My partner is responsible for my feelings
This is a tough nut to crack, not only in love relationships. When we look at the world through the lens of our experiences, values and opinions, we sometimes find the behavior of others disappointing and hurtful. We then usually believe that the other’s “wrong” behavior is “blame” for our misfortune. In doing so, we forget that there are countless ways to respond to a situation: Someone else in our place might not be unhappy in the same situation.
For example, if someone forgets their birthday, there are certainly partners or partners who get angry and scold. Others cry and feel unloved. Others just laugh and kiss their forgetful sweetheart or their sweetheart, because they did not expect otherwise. Some are concerned and regularly remind their partner of important data. One behavior – a thousand possibilities of interpretation and reaction. It is our own expectations and judgments that trigger our feelings. Of course we may wish for a birthday present. And of course we have to express and express our desires and needs.
At the same time, we should not forget that our partner is an independent person who has different needs and opinions. These usually have nothing to do with us: With his “otherness” our partner does not want to hurt us. People are rarely interested in harming others. They spend most of their time caring for themselves. If we understand that, then maybe we can look at our counterpart with a little more lenity and humor – and with ourselves.
6. If I strive hard enough, the relationship can work
It could all be so damn good if he or she was different (in one way or another). It’s all perfect, we’re great together … if he / she just treated me differently. Even if we are very empathic with ourselves and our partners and even when we are ready to do everything for love and relationships, there are differences between people who can not sustain a nutritious, fulfilling love relationship in the long run. If the needs of two people are so divergent that either one of them has to bend or the other has to suffer, then it is better to be separated in mutual respect.
The energy that we put into such a relationship can be better used for ourselves: instead of cultivating a love that brings more pain than joy, we can use the time to grow and care for everything we do need – so next time we may make a healthier decision for us to choose a partner.