In news that just might blow your mind, real-life love is nothing like the movies. I know, I’m disappointed by this too, but it’s the truth. If you’ve spent a decent part of your life sitting around feeling constantly devastated over some relationship or love affair that went awry, it’s time for you to pull your head out of your butt and get realistic about love.
- Get the hell out of your fantasy world. Not only are Hollywood movies made to entertain and leave us feeling all cozy inside (hence their happy endings), but books often create the same unrealistic fantasies about love. Listen, Love in the time of Cholera is fantastic, but you’re not going to float away on a damn boat like Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza. Got it?
- Realize there’s no such thing as the “perfect” person. Whether you’re gay, straight, bisexual, gender fluid, trans, or any other sexual orientation under the sun, if you’ve been looking for that perfect person and wondering why you’re heartbroken, it’s because that perfect person doesn’t exist. Should you come across someone who appears to be perfect, run like hell. Obviously, they’re a psychopath or a robot.
- Quit comparing what you have to what others have. If you compare your relationship to the relationships of your friends and family members, you’re not going to see your own relationship clearly. You never know what’s going on behind closed doors, so while you may think your sister or your best friend have something ideal and have love all figured out, you’re probably very wrong. Never compare; focus on what you have and work on it.
- Don’t repeat your mistakes. With the end of every relationship, there are always a ton of lessons to be learned because the relationship wouldn’t have ended if it weren’t for the mistakes made along the way. If you can’t learn from those mistakes and pocket them as lessons learned, then, as the saying goes, you’ll be doomed to repeat them. The repetition of stupidity is going to keep you from finding a love that’s going to last.
- Accept that everyone has their baggage. Yes, everyone – even you! Not only do perfect people not exist, but everyone has their own crap and the older we get, the more crap we collect. While some of this crap shapes our lives in positive ways, some of it has the exact opposite effect. We’re all a mess, so you need to stop thinking that you’ll come across someone who isn’t a disaster in some way.
- Butterflies don’t last. If you honestly believe that as long as you love someone those butterflies will never go away, you’re a level of delusion that’s truly terrifying. Those butterflies and fireworks from the early days of your relationship aren’t going to last; they’re going to slowly fade out. Just because they do, it doesn’t mean your love has faded too. It just means you’ve gotten comfortable and that’s something to strive for. The ability to be truly comfortable with another human being is an amazing thing.
- Take responsibility for your screw-ups. If every time a relationship comes to an end, you throw your hands up in the air and pass the blame, then you’re definitely not being realistic about love. Love dies and relationships come to an end because of two people – no matter the ultimate circumstances – so you need to take responsibility for your part in the demise. If you don’t, then you’ll continue to go in and out of relationships, never accepting that you’re part of the problem. Basically, you’ll probably end up alone.
- Stop believing in that whole “soulmates” BS. I realize the jury is still out on this one depending on who you ask, but from a realistic perspective, soulmates are BS. Let’s do the math: there are about 7.4 billion people alive on the planet now, and according to researchers, they estimate that roughly 100.2 billion people have lived and died before now. With those figures and all the years in which you could have been born, does it really make sense that there’s only ONE person for you and that you and that other person happened to be born in the same space and time to actually have your paths cross? No way. It’s so impossible that it makes impossible look impossible. You may want to kick the whole soulmate thing to the curb.
- Have realistic expectations. While expectations are absolutely essential when it comes to love, they have to be realistic. You can’t expect miracles in a world where miracles don’t exist and frogs never actually turn into princes. You need to see both yourself and your partner for who you are and not strive for something that neither one of you will ever be. It isn’t just unrealistic, it’s unfair to you both.
- Accept that it’s not going to be easy. Love and relationships take a lot of work, and it’s hard work. If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re either doing it wrong or they’ve never been in love. If you don’t accept that there’s going to be a considerable amount of work involved in maintaining a happy and loving relationship, don’t even bother.
- Tell yourself every day that there’s no such thing as a fairytale ending. Repeat after me: “There’s no such thing as a fairytale ending. There’s no such thing as a fairytale ending. There’s no such thing as a fairytale ending.” Realizing it yet? If not, just keep repeating it until you have your big “a-ha!” moment and reality falls in your lap.
Amanda Chatel – Amanda is a writer who divides her time between NYC and Paris. She’s a regular contributor to Bustle, Glamour, Mic, and Livingly. Other bylines include: Harper’s Bazaar, YourTango, The Atlantic, Forbes, YouBeauty, Huffington Post, The Frisky, and BlackBook. Find her at amandachatel.com or on Twitter at @angrychatel.