The biggest romance liesMonday, October 11, 2021
THE plot outline for many of our best loved movies and books would have us believe that even if we're the biggest wallflowers, there's someone who'll be charmed by us, and that in the end, even the underdog wins in love. But these are among the biggest romance lies, and soon enough we all realise that life and love don't quite work like that.
What are some of the things you were led to believe early on about romance that were quickly extinguished by reality?
I believed that once you met your guy, you'd never have eyes for anyone else, or desire anyone else, and vice versa. I've been married for eight years and the temptation is real, trust me. I've fallen in lust with so many people over the years, and though I don't act on it, it's really unrealistic to expect that a person will never look at anyone else once they're happily married.
You're made to believe that you'll always want to be around the person you're with, and that love can conquer all. In fact, in marriage, sometimes you'll like her, sometimes you'll hate her, sometimes you'll be turned on, sometimes you'll be turned off, sometimes you'll want to leave... and it's really sheer will to make it work, plus commitment, that keeps many relationships going strong, not love.
Don't believe the lie that there's someone out there for everyone — or one specific person, in fact. I am 48 years old and I still have not found the one who is “for me” yet. What actually happens is that you'll have different experiences in life with different people who fall in place at those different times. It's more like a partner for convenience, rather than for the long term.
Bigger is not better, more handsome is not better, richer is not better, more intelligent is not better. Don't choose a partner based on the perception that he has a one-up on someone else — in other words, if given the choice between two men, it should be your heart and common sense that rules your decision, not necessarily what tradition says is perfect or better. But also know that love alone can't go supermarket, so keep that in mind too.
There's no happily ever after — that's just an unrealistic concept. What there is settling, commitment, compromise and just accepting that this is your reality, and for the kids' sake or for the mortgage or whatever, you have to be with this person who at least offers you a warm bed and companionship and someone to chat with when you're bored, and give you the answers to the Sunday crosswords. Life and marriage isn't about living happily ever after, it's just about living, and trying to survive, with someone you can tolerate by your side.
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