An important step in making healthy decisions in the pursuit of loving, romantic relationships of honor, esteem and respect, is rejecting the romantic—and misguided—notions that many of us have been taught about what it takes to find love. It is critical that you identify and challenge these ideas and beliefs—whether planted by your parents, peers, popular culture, religious upbringing or other sources—and uproot them, especially when they don’t prove to be true, or conflict with your responsibility to make Grown, healthy choices for yourself. Here are three popular romantic notions you must reject as an act of self-love:
A person will change their habits, lifestyles and beliefs for “The One.” Have you been taught to believe that because a “player” says he loves you, he’s going to instantly “forsake all others” and retire from the game? Or that the fun-loving, turn-down-for-what party girl is going to stay home on the weekends and stop wearing those revealing outfits (the ones that caught your attention when you met her) because she’s now your wife, the mother of your child and a member of your church? Or that a person will give up shopping, drinking, gambling, criminal activity or other lifestyle they happily (or not) pursued just because they say (you believe) you are “The One”? Then get ready for a world of disappointment, frustration, conflict and deception.
Or you can face a Grown Zone truth: It is not your responsibility, nor is it within your power, to change, fix, or control another person with your love. People are who they are, and become more of who they are over time, which means what you love about them will get better, but what you can’t stand about them will get worse. Do people change? Sure, but for themselves, not for you.
Cute couples make for great relationships. Please don’t tell us you’re still falling for this one. But too many people do, often with the encouragement of family and friends, as well as media-driven celebrity-match fairytales. “You look so good together,” they say. Or, “You’re the cutest couple I know; a perfect match.” And how about the classic: “You are going to make some pretty babies!”
How many beautiful people have ended up in ugly relationships—including horrendous marriages—because they bought into the ridiculous notion that love is about looking good as a couple (which is ultimately about fulfilling the fantasies of others, not about what’s best for the couple in question)? Whether you look at celebrity marriages, matchmaking reality shows, or your own friends and family, it’s clear—there is absolutely zero correlation between physical attractiveness (one of the relationship attractors we discuss in our book, Loving In The Grown Zone) and the capacity to establish and sustain healthy relationships. Keep this front of mind when your friends and relatives (or that voice of ego/insecurity in your head) tries to convince you to pursue or stick with a relationship just because you and the other person will make for great #cutestcouple Instagram selfies.