I had so many wrong ideas about love in the past.
But I don’t blame myself because the truth is, we all do. Watching romantic movies and reading erotic books haven’t been making it easy for us to ground ourselves in reality.
But if we want to find love and build a good, healthy relationship, we must relinquish some of the toxic ideas we have adopted throughout the years. We need to unlearn what we have learned and set off on a new path that’s not tainted by illusions.
If you find yourself romanticizing these ideas, it might be the time to turn over a new leaf:
Waiting for the one
Ah, the one—we all want to find them. But I think we all need a reality check: there isn’t one specific person who is made for us. There are hundreds and thousands and probably millions of partners who could be a good match for us. However, there are many factors at play, such as poor timing, wrong place, choice, mental status, emotional status, and so on.
Feelings come and go and can be experienced with different people. So what we feel for another person doesn’t make them the one for us. What does make them, however, the right person for us is right now.
The one is relative to our present moment—our ex was the one, our current lover is the one, the actor in the movie could be the one, and the person we might meet 20 years from now will be the one (oh, and the one in our imagination is definitely the one).
In a nutshell, there are many people who could be right for us. But it really all boils down to choice, timing, and effort.
Having fixed ideas of what you want in a partner
In my early 20s, I had a long list of what I wanted in a partner. Well, that was pretty limiting and insignificant. Don’t get me wrong, it’s important to know what works for us and what doesn’t, or what we accept and what we can’t tolerate. Those are called standards, and yes, they’re important. But playing it by the book is something entirely different and can be really harmful for us.
There are so many potential partners out there who can treat us the way we deserve to be treated, but we might not go for it just because their hair isn’t long enough, or they don’t make us laugh the way we expect them to.
If you can’t tick off all the qualities on your checklist, dismiss that stupid list and observe their actions instead, how you feel about them when they’re around you, and how they treat you. That’s what really matters. Plus, we change by the day, so making a list is limiting and keeps us stuck in one mindset.
Loving yourself first
I tackled this topic recently in a separate blog, but I’ll repeat it here. Loving ourselves is important, but it doesn’t have to be conditional. Self-love and self-care do not end when relationships begin. In fact, this is where they start!
Working on self-love alone is different than working on self-love within a relationship. I consider both to be important, but the latter is transformative. Relationships tend to bring the worst in us, show us our true colors, and push our buttons. This is good. This is how we recognize our wounds and traumas and work on them.
No, you don’t have to force yourself to be alone just to work on your self-love. Self-love is a continuous journey that doesn’t end somewhere. It begins here and now, regardless of the circumstances.
You have different interests
Let me make that one clear. When we meet someone new, we should have the same values. What do I mean by values? I mean fundamental or core ideas about important things in life. To be more specific, values about marriage, self-love, religion, children, money, pizza, or whatever. If we don’t have the same values, our relationship might probably suffer.
But what we get wrong about dating is that sometimes, we reject potential partners or amazing people who don’t share the same interests with us. What do I mean by interests? I mean reading books, watching series, going to basketball games, tanning, taking baths, surfing. Those are interests and hobbies, but they’re not a viable reason to cut someone off.
Values can’t be changed because they’ve been with and within us since ever. But interests are versatile and can be shared, taught, or introduced. When I met my husband, I had no interest whatsoever in watching series, and he had no interest whatsoever in photography. Now, he’s become a brilliant photographer, and between you and I, I can’t stop watching series. We shared an interest, but if we didn’t have the same values on relationships and life and love and money and pizza, we wouldn’t have gotten along.
Relax and don’t freak out if you meet someone who doesn’t like green tea as much as you do. You learn, you exchange ideas, you’ll live, you’ll make it.
Finding the perfect relationship
Some people run away after a bad week or a bad month or after the first fight. I don’t want to burst your bubble, but welcome to the land of relationships. There will be bad days, bad hours, bad decisions, bad fights, and actually, if there aren’t any of these, there must be something odd here.
As I always say, relationships will and should bring out the worst in us so we can heal those damaged parts. But they’re not in any way meant to make us forever happy. We are the only ones who can give ourselves unconditional happiness, create a safe space for our partner to be happy themselves, and build a relationship where we can share this happiness and occasionally make each other joyful—like making each other coffee, or pizza.
Of course, we should be aware and smart enough to differentiate a relationship with occasional fights from a relationship that’s abusive and controlling. If you’re always miserable, leave. But if there are a few bumps on the way, just buckle up and enjoy the ride.
“You’ll just know.”
Well, you’ll hear many people saying that they knew that person was the one just because…they knew. That’s totally misleading, and we could spend the rest of our lives just waiting for that moment to know.
Let me tell you that I was damn sure I would end up with a particular person because I could swear that “I knew.” I was wrong. No, we didn’t end up together, and no, knowing doesn’t mean happening.
However, I did end up with someone who worked hard to be with me and who loves me unconditionally. After three years of being together, now I know.Long story short, let that person show you through their actions—that’s how you’ll know if they’re worth opening your heart to them.