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Love Myths

Written by: Nigel Beckles, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.

 

‘There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; and then there are those who turn one into the other.’ ‒ Douglas H. Everett


Myths and fairy tales about falling in love have been perpetuated throughout history by books, television, songs and popular movies. These factors, along with childhood experiences or conditioning, lead many people to believe in certain love myths. They form beliefs that influence the romantic expectations of both men and women who then believe their love fantasies will come true if they just meet the right person. Unfortunately, believing in what myths and fairy tales say about falling in love more often results in wasted years waiting around for that right person or, even worse, staying in a relationship that is damaging, abusive or otherwise highly dysfunctional.

Let us take a look at some of these love myths.


The Top Five Love Myths


Love Myth 1: Powerful Attraction or Sexual Chemistry Equals True Love


It’s very easy to believe strong physical attraction or great sex is the same thing as being in love, especially if you have been single for a while or are feeling slightly desperate. Falling into the trap of trying to create a ‘relationship’ after succumbing to feelings of strong sexual chemistry can happen when you try to convince yourself you ‘should’ feel a certain way. Women often fall prone to this. Because they are more likely to believe it’s wrong to have sex just for their personal pleasure they ‘insist’ there must be some sort of romantic or emotional feelings attached to their sexual activity. Having sex can result in feelings of inherent guilt as they believe the only ‘right’ way to sleep with a man is when they’re ‘in love’ when in reality they’re really ‘in lust.’ With this mindset, the only way to emotionally justify a casual sexual liaison is to seek to make the liaison an ‘official’ relationship with a man they have had nothing more than recreational sex with. They convince themselves they’re in love so continue sleeping with him even though the overall ‘relationship’ may have serious issues or maybe nothing more than a ‘Friends With Benefits’ arrangement. When you try to create a relationship purely on the basis of feeling strong physical attraction it’s very easy to be exploited by a man who will enjoy the sex but will have nothing else to offer in terms of a committed relationship.

Reality Check!


Strong sexual chemistry obviously indicates there is a mutual physical attraction. Of course, sexual attraction and compatibility feel great but if the attraction is followed through and the sex is mind-blowing it doesn’t mean you’re in love or even meant to be together. Once you fall into the trap of believing strong feelings of being in ‘lust’ is the same as being in ‘love’ there is a great risk of continuing to sleep with a man far longer than is sensible. For example, you may take a long time to recognize and accept the ‘relationship’ lacks overall compatibility but continue to try and make it work. This process of internal emotional conflict causes varying degrees of disappointment or drama as feelings of doubt, discomfort or even guilt about continuing to have sex with a man where there is a lack of any genuine emotional connection inevitably creep up on you. After the physical passion cools down, inherent problems with the relationship usually become very obvious; it just depends on how long the self-deception lasts.


It’s very important to be able to tell the difference between having great sex and falling or being in love, otherwise you can end up deceiving yourself by trying to convert a casual sexual fling into a full on relationship that doesn’t exist and is unlikely to be going anywhere. Believing in this love myth can waste a great amount of time and energy; it doesn’t matter how strong the attraction is or how great the sex is, if you’re incompatible in other key areas the relationship will eventually fail.


Love Myth 2: Love at First Sight


According to this myth, you will know instantly when you have found true love and the search for ‘The One’ is finally over. This truth will hit you like a bolt of lightning from the heavens and in a magical moment, you will just know. The ‘love at first sight’ myth is so engrained in popular culture it is difficult to escape the concept, especially if you’re single and feeling lonely. Women who believe this myth have preconceived ideas about meeting their ‘perfect match’ and concentrate on the positive aspects of their ideal partner. The infatuation could be based on looks, profession, what car he drives, his level of income or social status. They fall in love with the image created within their minds and create a fantasy relationship as they become obsessed with the details of ‘The One’ and his life. This is especially true if a person is feeling lonely and desperate to meet someone special.


Reality Check!


By focusing on his positive aspects it’s quite possible to be blindsided or to ignore possible warning signs that could be telling you not get involved too quickly. Waiting to experience ‘love at first sight’ can waste a great deal of your time – if you believe this myth you probably have a tendency to dismiss men who could be very compatible without ever giving them a chance. While it is important to know what kind of man you’re looking for it’s a question of balance and being realistic. Building a healthy relationship takes love, compatibility, commitment, hard work and time. Generally speaking, there are very few instant success stories in any area of life (large lottery winners being the exception!) and this is especially true of relationships. Many men and women have become involved in relationships based on this myth and made some of the biggest mistakes of their lives.


Love Myth 3: Your Every Need Will Be Fulfilled By The Perfect Partner


Many people who believe this myth embark on relationships consciously or subconsciously expecting a partner to fulfill their every need. This myth is based on the notion that it is their partner’s responsibility to fulfill their emotional, spiritual or physical needs. Such men and women believe finding the perfect partner to share their lives with will make them feel better about themselves. However, such demands and expectations are unreasonable so the relationship ends up being a drain in terms of time and energy on the poor unsuspecting half of the partnership.


Reality Check!


There is a distinct difference between what you would like in a partner and what you need from a partner. Most people have a wish list of what they would like in a partner but if your preferences and expectations are unrealistic you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Placing all of the responsibility on a potential partner to fulfill your every need inevitably means there are going to be problems. Even with highly compatible couples, it is impossible for each partner to totally satisfy all the needs of the other and they shouldn’t have to. Expecting a partner to fulfill your every need will lead you to feel frustration, resentment and disappointment. Your partner will probably feel the same and eventually walk away as they become tired of trying to provide constant attention and reassurance.

When you look outside yourself expecting to have all of your needs fulfilled by someone else you are by definition co-dependent. Believing the ‘perfect partner’ is the solution to all of your relationship ambitions is very unrealistic and can even entice you to become involved in unhealthy or abusive relationships. Belief in this Love Myth leaves both partners feeling totally disillusioned as they attempt to work out why it’s not working. In reality, you should enter a relationship feeling independent, confident and fully capable of providing for your own emotional needs. If you’re feeling emotionally insecure or empty on your own, being in a relationship is not going to resolve those feelings. The only person who can resolve those issues is you, with professional support if necessary.


Love Myth 4: True Love Will Conquer Everything

One of the biggest love myths is the belief that loving someone enough will overcome any obstacle or problem. Those trapped by this myth believe their relationship must succeed and they will do everything in their power to make it work, believing if they just love their partner just a little bit more or stay with the relationship their partner will somehow miraculously change.


Reality Check!


There can be serious consequences for conducting a relationship based on this particular love myth. If you’re currently in a relationship and believe loving your partner enough means there isn’t an obstacle or problem that can defeat real, true, undying love, you will do everything in your power to make the relationship work. Believing love will conquer all regardless of the circumstances or your partner’s behavior can be a very dangerous love myth to believe in.


Here are just a few examples where love will not conquer all:

  • Heavy drinking or drug abuse

  • Unsatisfactory sex life

  • Different values, beliefs and expectations

Believing in this myth can result in failure to address serious issues, being in denial or setting yourself up to remain in a dead relationship which may be way past its ‘sell by date’. Sadly those who believe in this myth often blame themselves when their relationships fail. They usually believe the relationship could have been saved if only they had given more love to their partner or waited a little bit longer to receive the ‘pay-off’ from their investment of love. Authentic partnerships require commitment and work to stand a reasonable chance of success but you also need to know when a relationship has run its course. The reality is many relationships fail due to a lack of overall compatibility or other major issues, and not just because there wasn’t enough love.


Love Myth 5: Only One True Love Exists That Is Your True ‘Soul Mate’


If soul mates really do exist they seem awfully hard for people to find! Despite divorce rates being around 50 percent and the enormous amount of relationship breakdowns that happen every day, you might still believe in this myth. Many people hope somewhere on planet Earth there is a unique soul mate created just for them.


Reality Check!


Seeking or waiting for your soul mate is a futile activity promoted by various forms of mainstream media. Many people go in search of the perfect and ideal partner or the mythical ‘soul mate’ and are disappointed when their dreams are not fulfilled. Believing in this love myth can waste a great deal of time because it can greatly reduce your chances of meeting someone who could be an excellent candidate for a relationship. You can dismiss highly compatible potential partners while searching for your elusive soul mate. There is no such thing as the ‘perfect relationship’ or the ‘perfect match’ in the real world.


In the dating game you will meet three basic types of potential partners who will be one of the following:

  • Poor matches

  • Good matches

  • Excellent matches

Seeking or waiting for the ‘perfect match’ is a futile activity because the idea of the ‘perfect partner’ or soul mate is largely a myth promoted by fairy tales or romantic books and movies. The perfect match is a very rare indeed. Men and women searching or waiting for their mythical soul mate end up being bitterly disappointed or disillusioned when their dreams are not fulfilled; they set themselves up for failure in relationships because their expectations are not realistic.


There are a number of potential pitfalls with the myth of the true soul mate. For one, if you believe your current partner is your irreplaceable soul mate and the relationship fails, you’re probably going to be reluctant to explore relationship opportunities in the future because in your mind no one else is ever going to be quite good enough. If you do get into another relationship you could jeopardize it by always comparing your lost soul mate to your new partner. Alternatively, you might fool yourself into staying in a dead-end relationship with a partner who isn’t a suitable match or who is even emotionally or physically abusive.


The myth of the soul mate can lead to another pitfall. It takes time to establish a relationship but some people believe when they meet their soul mate everything is just going to fall into place. This is just not realistic. Every relationship involves a certain amount of compromise and this requires negotiations around various subjects or concerns. The mythical soul mate leads some to expect that everything will magically fall into place with ‘no work required.’ The truth is it doesn’t matter how good a relationship may be it will probably go through rough patches or difficult times. Each relationship experience can teach us something new and enrich our lives in many ways but remember being highly compatible with someone does not make them your ‘one and only’ soul mate, it just makes someone a good or excellent match. Considering a man who shares overall compatibility with you is a much more realistic approach than looking for your elusive soul mate who probably doesn’t exist anyway. High compatibility combined with genuine commitment and a certain amount of compromise, trust and love provides the foundations to build a successful relationship.


Reality Not Fantasy!


‘Approach each new problem, not with a view to finding what you hope to find there, but to get to the truth, the realities that must be grappled with. You may not like what you find. In that case, you are entitled to change it. But do not deceive yourself as to what you do find to be the facts of the situation.’ – Bernard Baruch


Love myths and unrealistic romantic expectations frequently get people into all types of relationship dramas which often results in massive disappointment when the fantasies fail to match reality. Women who believe in love myths can be highly susceptible (some would say gullible) to being enticed into relationships by men who are experts at weaving fantasies that closely match their dreams of the perfect romance. Becoming involved in a relationship when you are fantasy-driven is almost guaranteed to end in tears. A relationship based on the fantasies of either partner lacks any real substantial foundation because we cannot rely on fantasies in the real world. Building an authentic relationship requires a balance of being romantic and pragmatic. The idea of being practical about romance might sound dull or you might think this approach reduces any spontaneity. Blending your desires and ideals with pragmatism establishes a significant element of stability based on reality and not just pure romantic fantasy. Maintain a strong connection to reality and you and your partner will build a foundation that keeps the relationship grounded while encouraging sincere and positive growth.


Consider carefully if you believe or act on any of the above love myths. Be honest with yourself. It doesn’t matter how much you or anyone else may want these myths to be true, eventually harsh realities will intrude into a world of romantic fantasy. Only by being self-aware, paying attention and being pragmatic will you be in a position to give yourself genuine opportunities to find a viable relationship in the real world. Leave the myths and fairytales where they belong, in books for children!


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Nigel Beckles, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Nigel Beckles is an Author, Certified Relationship Specialist & Coach, holds a Dealing With Narcissism Diploma and Psychology of Relationships Diploma. He is an Educator, Online Adviser and Workshop Facilitator. Nigel is a contributor to the award-winning documentary ‘Looking for Love’ available on DVD and online. He is also the creator of the podcast 'Interesting Conversations with Interesting People' featuring Interviews with Award-Winning Authors, Therapists & Relationship Life Coaches. All Podcasts Available @ Website: www.authornigelbecklespodcasts.com his work involves guiding men and women through difficult relationship issues.

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