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Different people from different cultures and backgrounds perceive romance very differently. What’s romantic to one person is not romantic for another and vice versa. There are literally no rules in love and romance, but that won’t stop me from debunking a few of our more outdated ideas.
1. Relationships Are Like In Movies
Jack and Rose, Noah and Alley, Bella and Edward - the list of movie couples with the perfect love story is long. But besides the fact that these love stories only exist in movies, they have something else in common: they are unrealistic. Hopeless romantics who wish for the same passion often forget that the relationships shown in romantic films are full of drama, overly tragic, and NOT sustainable in the long run. Or do you know of any movie that lasts longer than a few hours and goes beyond the "happy ending" (if there is one)? Exactly, they usually end in one of three ways: tragic, comical, or bittersweet. In tragedies, one or both lovers die; in comedies, they live happily ever after; and bittersweet narratives usually leave the viewer with more questions than answers. Let's not blame the movie industry though (it’s there to entertain us, not to teach us about love), and stop chasing after fictional love. And let’s agree that actual signs of true love are NOT drama and passion, but stability & consistency, and the ability to get through bad times together.
2. Grand Gestures Are A Sign Of True Love
Perhaps this is another one that can be blamed on literature and romantic films. Oh, and Valentine’s Day. LOL. Although everyone has to decide for themselves what’s romantic for them, we can say one thing for sure: it's not just the grand gestures that determine how good or loving a relationship is. Your partner doesn't have to ask you to marry them in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris or send you hundreds of roses to show you that they truly love you. Sometimes it’s little things like knowing how you like your coffee in the morning, cooking together, or taking a walk in the park that can mean just as much (or even more, if you ask me).
3. There’s “The One”
I am a hopeful romantic myself and I believe in soul mates. But not just one. Considering that there are almost 8 billion people living in this world, the idea that only ONE person would be a great match for you is pretty sad, don't you think? The idea that there is a single "perfect partner" out there waiting for us puts pressure not only on our partner but also on us and our own imperfections. And to think that we can sit back and put no more work into the relationship once we have found “the one” can only do more harm than good.
Ultimately, there is "the one," but not in the way most people think. "The One" is the one we choose to be with every day. If we have found someone we want to share our life or even just a few years with, believe me, they are "the one." At least "the one" for that time. And we should never blame ourselves if it didn’t last forever and that we were wrong to think they were “the one”.
4. Your Partner Makes You Feel Whole
The myth of searching for our "missing part" has shaped popular culture and the romantic novel, film and music industry. But does that mean we are not whole unless we are with someone? Do we only find the meaning of life in another person? Not exactly the healthiest way of seeing life, or what do you think?
There is a famous scene in the 1996 film "Jerry Maguire" where Tom Cruise says to Renée Zellweger, "You make me complete." Disney is the most common example when it comes to a misconception of love: the princess is not happy until she meets her prince, who saves her through marriage. In reality, and I know this is a pretty well-worn phrase, but lasting and true happiness comes from within. If you only find happiness in someone else’s love, or you don’t feel whole by yourself, you will end up being dependent on your partner. This is unfair to your partner and to yourself. Relationships should rather be a chance for us to share our own happiness with one another and not because we can’t be alone.
5. Fights End A Relationship
It’s actually not fighting but what happens before we fight that can end a relationship. Just about every problem you face in a relationship can be traced back to a lack of communication. When we don’t communicate, don’t express our needs and feelings, and don’t listen to one another, we feel neglected and will eventually start to argue. And that’s okay, if we know how to argue. It’s totally normal and healthy to not always agree with our partner. We can even agree to disagree. Mutual respect, no name-calling, trying to find a solution together, and discussing the situation instead of getting personal are keys to a healthy argument.