I’m sure there is no one who doesn’t want a “Happy Ending” for his/her relation. And why shouldn’t we? Between the legitimate longings of our hearts, and the way the Disney Empire has fed our romantic fantasies for fairy tales, we all are captivated by storybook romance and believe in “happily ever after”.
But lately, the divorce and breakup rates are so high that “happily ever after” seems like a mirage. Why is it so hard to maintain the hopes and dreams that surround a relationship with all its promises of love and fidelity, sacrifice and service?
According to me, a lot of this has to do with the fact that most of the relations start with unrealistic expectations and misconceptions about how the relation should be. Some common ones that even you might have experienced are:
- Both partners expect exactly the same things from the relation
- Things can only get better from good when you have found the love of your life
- Everything bad is just temporary and will disappear eventually
- Your partner will make you feel complete
If we liberate ourselves from these myths, we can actually settle into the reality of our relationship and enjoy all the joys and sorrows, passion and pain.
Myth: Now that we are one, our expectations should also be same.
Most of the relationship problems are due to harmful expectations and beliefs that come in front of the face of the reality.
The biggest hindrance in a successful relationship is expecting exactly the same things from a relationship. We two people are in love, it is natural to assume that the other person has the same values and expectations as we have. But no two people are same, every individual has its own culture and beliefs. Still, we all make this mistake of expecting that our lives will continue the same way even after committing in a relation.
Someone wisely said, “Expectations are the mother of resentments”. When your partner doesn’t live up to your expectations, we feel frustrated and irritated. Sometimes we don’t even realize why we’re upset, but something keeps bothering us at the back of our mind. In the process without even realizing we push our partner away.
Most of the expectations are unspoken and we assume them by default. Thus, it is very important to talk about these expectations openly and clearly. The more couples discuss their expectations, the more likely it is that they create a common vision of their relationship that both agree upon.
Myth: Wow, I have found my love, now everything will just get better and better.
Meeting the love of your life, puts a blindfold on your eyes and makes you believe that love will last forever. We drift deeper and deeper into the whimsical world of fake hopes that everything good will just keep getting better and better. Reality – “everything does not get better”. I’m not saying that there are no better outcomes, but some things do get better and some things get worst. A relationship has its share of gains and losses both.
We all have heard of the story of Cinderella where a poor, tortured stepchild is magically turned into a princess and rescued by her prince Charming for a “happily ever after” ending. When we read the story, we also long for a Prince Charming or a beautiful princess to make us happy and wipe away all our tears.
But the reality is opposite of the Cinderella story. We look for our Eden where everything bad will go away and only happiness will pertain. There are no magical glass slippers in reality and the sooner we realize, the better it is for a healthy relation.
Ups and downs, happiness and sorrows are all part of any relationship. The question is whether your relation is like the capital letter A wherein both partners lean so much on each other that if one moves, the whole structure falls apart or it is like letter H wherein both the partners stand alone, or it is like the letter M, wherein they stand on their own but still choose to stay connected.
“Happily ever after” maybe for the fairy tales, but it does not mean that no marriage or relation can be happy and fulfilling. If you stay in the real world, have reasonable expectations, understand each other, and realize that there would be shortcomings, you would take your relationship to mountains of eternity. Just remember, always walk on the roads of truth and reality and not on the pavement of fantasy and illusion.