Disney, Love songs and Romantic comedies not to mention all those romance novels have played a huge role in conditioning our minds and infecting our hearts with less than realistic love notions and like die hard Arsenal fans many of us have clung to our ideas of happily ever after well into our thirties taking each failed relationship in our stride, eyes fixed on the elusive Mr Right but perhaps it is time we went back to the drawing board.
Here are 10 myths that really ought to be on the shelves along with the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus.
1. Love at First Sight: Because you didn’t feel a spark the first time he said hello or get butterflies on your first date doesn’t mean he can’t be the one. Attraction is important no doubt but sometimes getting to really know a person may surprisingly be the spark you need to light up your world.
2. Men Love a Damsel in Distress: Yes men like their women to be feminine and to make them feel needed but there’s a thin line between needed and ‘needy’!!! If you don’t have a job, qualifications or even dreams of your own and feel the need to rely on your man for EVERYTHING he’s gonna get drained and weary of you soon enough even if you are sexy and wild between the sheets. Forget the Disney cartoons, he doesn’t want a sleeping babe and a kiss doesn’t solve everything.
3. Sex Strengthens a Relationship: No it doesn’t. Many times it takes the place of emotional intimacy, kicks good conversation to the curb, pulls the wool over your eyes where your partner’s flaws are concerned, makes you more territorial since you are giving your all in quote and keeps you longer than necessary in a relationship doomed to failure.
4. All Men Cheat: No they don’t. Most men do however, but going into a relationship with that mentality gives your man the excuse to misbehave since you don’t believe he is capable of staying faithful without the checks and balances you have put in place. Expecting so little from your man eliminates the opportunities he has to impress you not to mention pushing him to misbehave cos like my friend T once said, “She already expects me to cheat so whether I do or I don’t, I am the villain, I might as well…”
5. Happily Ever After: Many people look at love as something that should work out beautifully without much effort once the two people are finally together. We are in love with the slogan ‘…and they lived happily ever after’. Nobody imagines that after Cinderella spent the entire cartoon trying to unite with her handsome prince in spite of the challenges, she’d have anything less than true love’s perfection once she became his queen. Once a relationship falls short of a happy ever after, many of us tend to start looking out, we begin to doubt the authenticity of the relationship but girl, relationships are hard work! At some point in the relationship love becomes a choice not a feeling, sometimes the choice to love your man after seeing his worst side can be difficult but he is going through it too and choosing to love you. If you think it’s gonna be rosy all the way then I’d suggest you curl up in bed with a Harlequin Romance novel and forget real life men not to mention marrying one for better or worse. The fact that your relationship isn’t perfect is evidence that it is real.
6. My Man is The Strong Silent Type who doesn’t know how to express his feelings: We all know a guy or two who fit this description but beware, looking for cues because there are no words may leave you in a fool’s paradise. ‘He loves me but prefers to show it because talk is cheap’, ‘He doesn’t like talking about the future but I know he wants to marry me cos he shows it in so many ways’, ‘He doesn’t like confrontation, when I am upset he picks up his car keys and drives off somewhere for a few hours so he doesn’t say or do something he will regret’, ‘He hasn’t asked me out yet or referred to us as an exclusive couple but with all the action going on we are definitely dating, asking out isn’t his style’, ‘He doesn’t like PDA nobody needs to know our business…’ The examples are endless and should serve as pointers. Your strong, silent man could be avoiding commitment since not saying the words you are dying to hear means he isn’t making any promises and so therefore can’t be accused of breaking any. Also a man who runs from emotion may not be feeling any and just be with you for the ride or worse still he may be hiding something far worse. My patient Z came for treatment after one of the regular beatings her hubby dishes out. She refuses to leave him because of the kids plus she has no means of sustenance. I asked her if she hadn’t seen pointers to this particular behavior while dating and she said he always ran from confrontation during the relationship, always needed to cool off for a few days, she assumed he was just very sensitive. The rest is history. Anyway moving on, ironically we all know a man or woman who is painfully shy in public but has a bubbly personality behind closed doors with the people he or she loves and trusts. If your man still has too many unpenetrable walls around him one day he may gravitate to someone who can do a rent-a-ghost number on him. 😉
7. The Tall, Dark and Handsome beau: Some people are late bloomers in every way- Looks, careers, finances etc. Now the funny thing is when they do arrive they usually do so with a bang! So before you dismiss that gangly young man whose clothes are threatening to swallow him or that guy in love with you who only earns 80k/month, dig deeper. Avoid the shoulda, woulda, couldas and most of all avoid the mythical Mr Obvious! The tall, dark, handsome, very sexy not to mention extremely rich and successful man cos if you are not seeing past these qualities, chances are you and a hundred other girls are seeing them and he being the sharp guy he is senses the incoming traffic from all over making him the proverbial rolling stone that gathers no moss! Many a girl has been rudely awakened after catching a glimpse of a carelessly tossed aside admirer now transformed into the man of their dreams just when it’s too late to reconcile. Be guided.
8. Picking a Fight is the only way to revitalize a boring relationship: Please put your inner diva on the shelf along with this myth. A good man doesn’t want a diva for a lover. Picking fights just to stir things up a bit and just so that you can have the big, mushy makeup is immature and wears the relationship thin in the long run. Instead of using negativity to boost your seemingly boring relationship, channel all the positive energy you can muster into reigniting the sparks and reminding him of all the many reasons you fell in love with each other.
9. Mini-Breakups are the ultimate wake up call: Don’t breakup if it isn’t over for good. Don’t breakup after every fight. Don’t breakup just so he can beg you to take him back. Don’t breakup to punish him! Grow up babe, there are other ways to handle a relationship issue than to cut off your nose just to spite your face. Tell him you need some time to think and then go incommunicado for a while if you must. Breaking up at every whim shows a lack of commitment to the relationship and like the boy who cried wolf, one day you may have run out of chances.
10. Packaging is Important: Agreed Cinderella may not have bagged the handsome prince if he had seen her in rags scrubbing the fireplace hence her godmother was needed to ‘package’ her right but this has totally spiralled out of control and women are not only packaging their looks like Cinderella did which to a degree is perfectly acceptable since men are visual creatures but have gone ballistic packaging their personalities, character, resume, flaws and kinks till the finished product is a far cry from who they really are. Technically this sort of packaging leads to a relationship founded on a pack of lies and then you wonder why he runs at the first sign of the real you. You can’t keep up the charade forever, be yourself, it’s the only role you can play perfectly.
Love is definitely a work in progress even for old timers and dispelling these worrisome myths is the first step to embracing the wholesome, lasting relationship you crave. Goodluck! 😉