‘We’re so in love, we’ll work it out’ and other Dating Myths

November 2, 2011

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As yet another celebrity marriage bites the dust, one wonders if these two actually talked about the realities of the future more than the endorsements for the wedding ceremony.  To give them the benefit of the doubt that at least one or two conversations were had before the trip down the aisle, what kept them from seeing the obvious red flags? What can dating couples learn from Kris and Kim’s demise?

In the Beginning, there was the illusion of perfection

A burgeoning relationship (which I define as the first three months) is so filled with infatuation and (for some) physical interaction that it’s natural to feel the overwhelming positive wave that comes with the hope that the right person has finally arrived.  We push aside- or don’t ever see- some of their faults, and vault up their strengths to a label that sounds a lot like perfection.  We idealize.  We put on rose-colored-glasses of love, or what psychologists refer to as “positive illusions.”

Is this bad?  Not always, but for couples where the reality of the partner’s wants, needs, and behaviors is a gulf-wide difference to their idealized form, this spells trouble.  When this “perfect” partner is paired with a fairytale level of extremely high romantic beliefs, the inevitable disillusionment and disappointment might be too much to handle.

Fairytale beliefs about love lead to quick burnout in reality

What are some examples of fairytale romanticism?

Love can overcome any obstacle.  AKA: Love is all you need.  Turns out supportiveness, responsiveness, fidelity, communication, financial security and manageable stress (to name a few) are just as important to the success of a relationship.

There is only one ideal partner for me.  AKA: Soulmates.  This belief is a great way to turn yourself into a neurotic mess by 35.  There are many compatible relationship partners for someone out in the world.

True relationships are perfect, and so is my partner.  As it turns out, all humans have faults.  How couples handle each other’s shortcomings is vital to the success of their relationship.  Denying the presence faults might be the worst way to deal.

Does love feel the same to everyone?  Read about two more fairytale beliefs- and how to address them- here.

 

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