When I was a small child, I was inundated with messages about love and romance via classic fairly tales as interpreted by Walt Disney. I was relentlessly exposed to stories of handsome princes rescuing beautiful princesses in various states of peril (endless sleep, a deathlike sleep, trapped in a tower by a witch, enslaved by a mean step-mother). Intentional or not, some grooves were carved into the vinyl of my concept of finding a mate that have yet to me melted down or scratched out.
One is that romantic love is true everlasting love and that love at first sight is the only way to know it is real. In all of these fairy tales the love interests fall for each other immediately upon initial meeting. Yes, that can happen. You hear stories all the time from couples that they knew he/she was the ONE the first time their eyes met. But that is lust people. Lust can grow into love but it is not everlasting love.
I cannot count how many times I thought I found love at first sight and -newsflash- it didn’t stick. I had a lot of fun with some of those people until we discovered that there was nothing substantial on which to build a true lasting relationship. Time was wasted, opportunities may have been lost , and someone always got hurt while we were preoccupied with all that fun.
Romantic love fades and there has to be more than that initial rush leads you to believe to keep things going. (But don’t think that you can allow the romance to fade completely either because that is certain doom. More on that in an upcoming post to be titled, 27 proposals.)
Another message learned was the idea that love conquers all. After twelve years of loving someone I thought I could fix/help/heal if I loved them enough, I can tell you that love alone cannot conquer all. Things like financial harmony, good communication, satisfying sex and common goals and common interests while maintaining your individuality play a huge factor in the long term success of a committed relationship.
I know that I don’t need a man to be “awakened”, fulfilled or otherwise to be happy as Snow White, Sleeping Beauty or most other fairytales suggest. I am generally a happy person as I am. I actually adore living alone. But I also generally enjoy being part of a couple, caring for someone and being their biggest cheerleader.
My friend David Robbins once described his search for a mate thusly, “I just want someone who’s got my back and I’ve got theirs.” I want that too, a partner to work with rather than a prince or a project. But first I have some fairytale unlearning to do.
I plan to begin with a book given to me by my friend Julie titled, IF THE BUDDHA DATED by Charlotte Kasl and a 12 step relationship program (seriously).
I am determined to get it right this time.
*image courtesy of google images