Lea meets Kyle. They hit it off immediately. After a year of seeing each other, they decide to tie the knot. To add icing on the cake: they opt for a destination wedding in the Bahamas, and airdash to Jamaica for a lavish honeymoon. They live happily ever after.
Sounds too perfect? It is.
Most people truly desire this idyllic scenario. But let’s face it: love is more complicated than we want it to be.
We could all do with a reality check about love and dating. So here are five top love myths. Relationship experts shatter them and provide you with advice sure to help your love live.
Love Myth #1: Play hard to get
Love Fact: This is a popular strategy in the early stages of the wooing process. A lot of people, especially women, assume that they shouldn’t offer themselves up to another person immediately, but get the other person to chase them. Wendy Newman, author of 121 First Dates: How to Succeed at Online Dating, Fall in Love & Live Happily Ever After (Really!), says this attitude is a love dead-end. “Men are not playing games when they ask you out,” Newman says. “They are asking you out because they want to spend time with you. How attractive is a woman he doesn’t get to see?” The other person will probably lose interest, and you may miss out on a great date. “If you play hard to get, the other person will go to find someone who’s free to date him,” Newman says.
Love Myth #2: Love will cure loneliness
Love Fact: It’s true that love can bring a lot of happiness. But a lot of people get into relationships because they don’t want to be lonely. “Initially a new relationship may fill voids of loneliness but over time the relationship will struggle if you are seeking frequent reassurance and signs of commitment. Relationships need space to breathe just like anything else,” points out psychotherapist Clare Johnson. If you’re lonely, master the art of being on your own. “For people to create and foster long-term meaningful relationships they must first have a strong positive relationship with themselves,“ Johnson says.
Love Myth #3: Love should be hurtful and messy
Love Fact: If you follow the television drama “Grey’s Anatomy,” you know what we’re talking about. Most of the love plots, including those of the lead actors Meredith Grey and Derek Shepherd, involve plenty of cheating and hurt. “Pop culture has conditioned us to believe that love is supposed to be hard-fought, painful, messy, and difficult,” says life coach Anitra Durand Allen. “If it doesn’t hurt it isn’t real love.” If your partner cheats repeatedly, or abuses you, then it’s time to part ways. “Even though there are rough times along the road, true love is not rooted in pain. It is based upon trust, commitment, honesty, and common interests/goals,” Allen says.
Love Myth #4: Love is just a feeling
Love Fact: True love isn’t just a feeling. When you meet someone you’re attracted to, you’re experiencing a rush of hormones induced by the body’s limbic system, and that can create a feeling of “being in love”. But mature, true love is something two people develop and nurture between themselves. “Loving someone is based upon an in-depth knowledge, understanding and genuine concern of one’s wellbeing,” says Allen. “To truly love requires a repeated and sustained presence in one’s life over a period of time. The in-love feeling fades over time and must be replaced by true love in order for a relationship to last.”
Love Myth #5: You must find the one
Love Fact: The idea of finding the one, or a soul mate, who is meant only for you is definitely romantic, but not rooted in reality. “First, it tends to create a lot of pressure. Rather than just dating around and getting to know someone who could possibly be great, a lot of people are burdened by the expectation that they have to meet ‘the one’ at all costs,” says certified counselor Jonathan Bennett.
People who believe in the soul mate theory create exceptionally high standards for who they want to be with. “They reject a lot of great potential partners because they believe that the perfect partner will come if they wait long enough. And, of course, no one is perfect and they might wait too long and miss out on great relationships,” says Bennett.
You don’t have to stoop low and date someone you are not attracted to, but it’s important to accept that you can be attracted to a variety of people.