I have great news. Virtually every relationship portrayed in the media is terrible. Why is this great news? Easy – that takes away all the pressure of trying to make yours look like them.
Here are some common myths about relationships we see in movies, TV, video games, comics, etc and why it’s awesome that they’re not true.
Everyone has a soul mate. One person who is their destiny.
Why it’s bunk:
People fall for this because it’s such a beautiful dream. If you aren’t seeing anyone and haven’t had a great relationship, knowing that there is a perfect person out there, waiting for you, looking for you, is incredibly comforting. It also removes any responsibility from you for any failed relationships. It’s also a way in which abusive partners keep their victims trapped, by telling them that they are soul mates, and if they cannot find happiness with them, they can never find it at all.
One of Vonnegut‘s less popular books is called Sirens of Titan. It’s a great read. In it, he posits that the meaning of life is just to honestly love whoever is near you to the best of your ability.
I think that is so much more beautiful than the idea that you are stuck waiting for someone. There are more than 7 billion people in the world, and each and every one of those people may be your epic love. It’s up to you to approach each person with an open mind and heart. To be honest with yourself and with others what you want is both insanely freeing and makes it so much easier to find people who you mesh well with. It also tends to bring out the best in the people around you, which is a massive plus.
True love is the completion of two halves.
Why it’s bunk:
People fall for this, I think, because it is a simple external explanation for a feeling of emptiness. Of course you feel empty, you haven’t met the Right One to Complete You yet.
Thing is, you are already a wonderful, fantastic, beautiful whole person all on your own. You and you alone are responsible for your health, happiness, and future. Be all you can be, baby, and find someone who is being all they can be too. Then you can be all you can be together. That’s way cooler and less pressure.
Love peters out. Once you’re in a relationship, you’ll just inevitably start to hate everything about the other person, argue all the time, and have less/no sex.
Why it’s bunk:
This is probably the worst offender. What’s the point of buying into such a shitty deal? People fall for this, I think, because there are SO MANY examples of this both in media and in real life. It’s pretty common for people to get into a rut, same with relationships. It’s much easier to normalize it than do something about it.
BUT – it’s totally not true. Or at least, it doesn’t have to be. Thing is, people change over time, so if you commit to being with somebody, and they are, as mentioned above, their own person, you’re committing to every person they become, too, and vice versa. Sometimes, that means that person isn’t a good fit for the person you become, other times, it works out really well. What this myth is really showing you are people who grew apart. That’s not love, or fate, or inevitable. Sometimes, it just is.
A happy relationship depends on the husband acknowledging the wife is always right.
Why it’s bunk:
Why is this still a thing people say?! It’s ludicrous. I think it’s popular because it sounds pseudo-feminist, and who doesn’t love being told they’re right all the time?
Honesty. Above all, honesty. “Yes, dear” is the opposite of honesty. Don’t patronize the people you love and don’t force them to agree with you on everything. Otherwise, you get myth 3.
You have billions of “soul mates” to choose from, because you CREATE your relationships, good and bad. The strength of your relationships depends on your strength as individuals. You control the progress of your relationships by being honest with yourself and your partner so you can grow TOGETHER instead of apart (or break up amicably if things don’t work out rather than sour great memories).
“True love” is constant work both within yourself and with your partner, but it doesn’t feel like work, because you get to fall in love every damn day – both with your partner and with yourself, and it’s glorious.
Now go out there and love the shit out of everyone and anyone.