When I first met my husband, I thought he was just ‘okay’ – there were no butterflies, flirty interactions or fireworks.
Ten years ago, I would’ve considered this a sign that there was no romantic spark and moved on.
Now, I don’t like to imagine my life without him.
So when a friend recently bemoaned the lack of drama in their love life, I started thinking about how we sabotage our happiness with love myths we’ve accepted as truisms.
‘The one that got away’
Is being regretful about an ex keeping you from investing in new love?
Consider this: If your ex was ‘The One’, you’d still be with them. See, there are two things at work here.
Firstly, when a relationship ends, it’s because both people were finished with the story. No matter how much ‘if only’ and ‘maybe if’ you throw at it, there wouldn’t have been a break up if it wasn’t broken.
Secondly, ‘The One’ isn’t the person who brings all the feelings and then leaves either physically or emotionally. ‘The One’ is the one you’ve found who figures out life with you, communicates, understands your vibe, and wants to be with you. No drama.
All we can really ‘know’ instantly on meeting someone is:
‘Yes, you’re okay’/’No, you’re not okay’; and maybe: ‘I could shag you/I’d never shag you.’ ‘You will “know” instantly’
It’s how we evolved over the millennia to keep us safe and replicating our genes.
Beyond that, when it comes to romantic love, we use imagination and projection to fill in the gaps. Which is why our frontal lobes need much more information than those first 30 seconds can provide.
Once you’ve gone with ‘yes, you’re okay’, collecting info about whether this person is suitable may take two dates or even two years. But it does take time.
‘Knowing’ is a process; not a chemical reaction. If the butterflies aren’t there at first don’t take it as ‘a sign’.
‘Your love got me looking so crazy right now’
Pop-culture loves the idea that the person who spikes your adrenalin, sends you on an emotional rollercoaster, and ‘spins you right round baby right round’ is the real deal.
If someone can elicit all these highs and lows from you, the story goes, they must be meaningful.
But someone who is a healthy match for you isn’t going to ping all your codependent buttons and make you feel anxious and needy, or that you must work to win their affections.
‘True love lasts forever’
Clinging to a bad romance, because you once thought it was an eternal flame?
Love is not a static emotion that lives apart from the rest of your relationship. It is a dynamic and daily engagement with choice, compassion, communication and bravery – both within yourself and with your partner.
If you run out of steam on this with one person, that’s okay. People change and promises aren’t forever.
But you must untangle yourself from this old myth for new relationships to blossom.