HAVE REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS AND ROMANCE

“You are absolutely not going to be gaga over each other every single day for the rest of your lives, and all this ‘happily ever after’ bullshit is just setting people up for failure. They go into relationships with these unrealistic expectations. Then, the instant they realize they aren’t ‘gaga’ anymore, they think the relationship is broken and over, and they need to get out. No! There will be days, or weeks, or maybe even longer, when you aren’t all mushy-gushy in-love. You’re even going to wake up some morning and think, “Ugh, you’re still here….” That’s normal! And more importantly, sticking it out is totally worth it, because . . . in a day, or a week, or maybe even longer, you’ll look at that person and a giant wave of love will inundate you, and you’ll love them so much you think your heart can’t possibly hold it all and is going to burst. Because a love that’s alive is also constantly evolving. It expands and contracts and mellows and deepens. It’s not going to be the way it used to be, or the way it will be, and it shouldn’t be. I think if more couples understood that, they’d be less inclined to panic and rush to break up or divorce.”

– Paula

In ancient times, people genuinely considered love a sickness. Parents warned their children against it, and adults quickly arranged marriages before their children were old enough to do something dumb on the back of their out-of-control emotions.

That’s because love—though able to make us feel giddy and high, as though we had snorted a shoebox full of cocaine—can also make us highly irrational. We all know that guy (or girl) who dropped out of school, sold their car, and spent the money to elope on the beaches of Tahiti. We all also know how that same guy (or girl) ended up skulking back a few years later feeling like a moron, not to mention broke.

True love—that is, deep, the kind of abiding love that is impervious to emotional whims or fancy—is a constant commitment to a person regardless of present circumstances. It’s a constant commitment to a person who you understand isn’t going to always make you happy—nor should they!—and a person who will need to rely on you, just as you will rely on them.

That form of love is much harder, primarily because it often doesn’t feel very good. It’s unglamorous. It’s lots of early morning doctor’s visits. It’s cleaning up bodily fluids you’d rather not be cleaning up. It’s dealing with another person’s insecurities and fears even when you don’t want to.

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