5 myths about romantic love


What is it with romantic love that it gets so… romanticised?

We tend to be pretty realistic, down-to-earth when it comes to other types of relationships: family, friends, colleagues. We know they will never be perfect. We know we can’t expect them to magically transform our lives. We are ready to roll with good times as well as bad ones.

But when it comes to romantic love, we are very quick to abandon common sense and all our previous relationship experience with other humans, and just assume – that, well… once we find our The One (or The Good Enough One) – that one relationship will be absolutely flawless, efortless and make us happy every day.

Maybe we’ve fallen under the influence of novels and movies, but it’s still astonishing, how much we ignore the fact that romantic relationships are just one variety of all the relationship we can have, and as such – don’t exist in a vacuum. They are just part of life, and life – as we all know, is challenging.

1. Love will make me happy

I think it’s because, deep down, we all want to believe that a single event, or person, that one big change – can transform our lives and make everything right.

Probably the most common myth about romantic love is that, once we find it, we will be happy. We will find balance, joy, peace, excitement, meaning. Everything will fall into place. Our life will finally make sense.

It might seem that way in the beginning – you are on a natural “love high”, and everything in and around you seems so much more exciting. Even boring jobs and chores are not so boring any more. No misery can touch you – you’re in love with your partner, with yourself, with the world.

I love that part of falling in love. It is indeed special, and worth experiencing. But it doesn’t last long. Once your new love becomes your new normal, you start experiencing the usual, everyday troubles. And it’s great if your partner is supportive and caring, to help you go through whatever life throws at you.

But, often – you’ll replace one set of problems with a different one. If you struggled with relationships before, you will probably experience same, if not intensified issues with your new partner. If you struggled with life in general, the struggles will come back, very likely, in your relationship too.

Happiness is not a place or a person we need to get to. It’s a way of relating to life, and everyone in it. It’s possible that a good partner will help us find it, but it’s equally possible they will make us even more painfully aware how unhappy we are.

2. True love is forever

We love, we break up. Many of us divorce. We stay together, shorter or longer, but very rarely all of our lives. How many people do you know that have lasted in one relationship all their adult lives?

We don’t even have to look at statistics to know that staying with one person for our whole life is quite a rarity. It’s a great idea, but it doesn’t work that well in practice.

If we find that special someone very young – most likely, we are still growing up and trying to understand who we are and what we want from life and relationships. We can easily grow apart and stop loving each other, just because we are both changing so much in that period of life.

One day we are sure we want to spend our lives together, the next – we feel we have nothing to say to each other. Even if you were a great match for each other at the start, in 5 or 10 years you may not be any more.

The only relationship you can truly count on to last forever is your relationship with yourself. And even that one isn’t always perfect – I am sure, if we could, we’d even divorce ourselves sometimes.

Relationships are living organisms, they will inevitably change over time. The more you invest in your relationship, the better your chances.

But sometimes even that is not enough.

3. Love is enough to keep us together

This is the love myth we often overlook. We feel that as long as we love someone, we can find a way to be together. We can work it out.

Even if we live in constant conflict. Even if our partner has an addiction, or is violent, controlling, aggressive. Or so emotionally distant that we never know how they truly feel.

Love will carry you through a lot. Rough patches happen in any relationship.

But if you love someone you can’t stand, or don’t trust, or resent, love may not be enough to keep you together. You may still love what your relationship means to you, you may love them for all the good times, but if the good times are not there any more, or are very few and far between – love will not be enough.

You can love someone and not be able to live or be with them. Often it’s best for both of you to leave a toxic, unhappy romance.

Maybe you have a chance to be good friends. Maybe you will just keep each other in your hearts, without being in any kind of relationship. But you will both get a chance to find a happier one with someone else.

4. Soulmates are meant to be (and stay) together

Even if you thought, or still think that this person is your soulmate. Even if you are absolutely sure this kind of love is rare and special. You can be soulmates and not be meant to stay together for long.

You can feel a special connection with someone who merely passes through your life – leaving it as quickly as they entered. Some people touch us deeply and profoundly, but don’t stick around very long.

You may feel it’s unfair that you met someone you connected so well with, and yet your relationship didn’t last. They were meant to be your mate, but something got in the way: another relationship, distance, family, circumstances beyond your control.

But you never know what kind of role someone is supposed to have in your life. Maybe they came to show you how special a relationship can be? Maybe that’s all they needed to do, so that you can see such a connection is possible for you.

Someone who is truly meant for you will not show up in your life as a fleeting experience. They will come and stay.

But soulmates can come in many different varieties, not always as long term partners. Just as love doesn’t always come in one variety.

5. I can’t be happy without a partner

You can’t be happy without love, that is true. But you can be happy without romantic love.

Love is always a part of our lives, in some shape or form. Of course romantic love is not the same as love we share with family and friends. But it’s also not the only kind of love that makes us happy.

When you are single you have to try a bit harder to satisfy your need for love, fulfillment, sharing, caring – but it’s still very much possible. Love can be a way you relate to life, and everyone you meet.

Think about love as a feeling you want to give or receive, and not attach it only to romance. Then you will see, there are so many ways to experience it in your life.

Even when you read my posts – I hope you are feeling the love I am sending your way.  Just as I am feeling your love, as I get responses, comments and emails from you.

Thank you for all the love.

LET’S HEAR FROM YOU

When do you feel most love (and loved)?

Do you think you can create more love in your life, regardless of your romantic status?

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7 Responses

  1. Ronald DiMicco says:

    Great article. I stole a phrase and made it my Email Signature so I can read it every day!! I feel most loved when I read your articles Petra! I will take your advice and start loving.

  2. Marty says:

    Hi
    As a 54 year old bachelor you don’t get to feel much love, my parents are still alive so I do get love from them which I am very lucky to still have at my age.It’s like an encouraging love don’t give up,stay positive but as parents,I suppose they only want the best for you.It’s only natural that I do feel like I did let them down,by never finding a partner getting married,and having children, but it just didn’t happen but it’s not always anyone’s fault, it’s just life and bad luck.

    I think it’s hard to create more love in your life in my situation anyway I live alone and don’t really have any friends to socialise with so I don’t go out,haven’t for many years now.
    I do realise love won’t knock on the door you have to go after it but I’m not prepared to put in all the effort to only fail once again.
    I think if you never find a romantic partner to share life with,it just becomes a myth and the more you want it the more frustrating it becomes.So as a self defence mechanism you give up,you lose the fight and the drive cause you know it’s just not gonna happen.
    Regards Marty.

    • Petra says:

      Thank you for sharing Marty. Wish things were different for you. If you are keen to talk to me about any of this, do get in touch. Take care

  3. Artem says:

    Wow, what a special writer you are! So wise and loving, optimistic, yet realistic, so well put on every level, with a spiritual and a pragmatic dimension all at once. Absolutely loved your voice. Very special 🙂

  4. Klaudia says:

    What is love anyway? I get really bored and fed up with this idea that if two people are to be married or in a relationship then there must be love in it. Whatever love is supposed to mean.

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