With the Royal Wedding being a hot topic, we thought we would jump into the subject of love and the fairy tale. Is the fairy tale possible or are we setting people up to fail? Let's unpack the fairy tale before we try to answer that question.
1. The fairy tale tells us that the magical someone is out there for us. Not buying this one. There are 7.6 billion people on this planet. There is no way that love is limited to two specific people who somehow meet at the right time in their lives, fall in love, be compatible and live happily ever after. A report from the CDC conducted from 1999-2002, suggests on average, men between the ages of 30-44 report having had 6-8 intimate partners. Women in the same age range report 4 intimate partners in a lifetime. Relationships statistics are harder to quantify as what defines a relationship is subjective to each person. So stats show this is FALSE.
2. The man is strong and brave and will sweep the delicate woman off her feet. Sometimes in life it is the woman who is the strong brave one who holds it all together when the dragon comes back. And that is okay. Your life partner doesn't have to match a stereotype of their gender. You can define what qualities and attributes you want in a partner, not a cookie cutter style.
3. Everything is better after you kiss. Really? Everything gets complicated after you kiss. Sex and intimacy now gets in the mix. Navigating an intimate relationship can be challenging. Sex is a basic human need and one that we as humans are programmed to desire for procreation reasons. That does not mean we are all okay with sex. Nor that we all like the same style of sex, or have the same views about procreation. A Durex Global Sex Wellbeing survey in 2011 revealed that only 44% of us are happy with our sex life. Unhappy sex life, means more conversation is needed. Not an easy task for many people.
4. The magic spills into all aspects of you life. Nope, you still have to go to work, bills still need to be paid and you now have a new family to contend with on the holidays. Your schedule just got busier and we have all heard the nightmare stories of in-laws. There is even a reality series about them. And you have to do housework for two. NO more drive through on your way home to make life easier. Does your partner want drive thru? What kind do they want? Will they answer your text in time?
5. Everything will be as right as rain and we will live happily ever after. This a huge one. You don't fall in love and stay there. It is kind of like the perfect bed, You can fall into it and everything feels fantastic. The sheets are perfect, the temperature, the pillows....all simply bliss. Sooner or later though your body starts to complain and if you don't get out ever now and again to move around, you body turns on you. Have you ever seen bed sores? They are not pleasant. Even people who are bed ridden, need to move every so often to keep everything as it should be. The moral of this story is if you plan to just stay put and take in all the bliss, it will turn against you. That which you enjoy, will become ugly and painful. Love is the same. It needs to be nurtured and have effort put into it. You have to stretch the muscles to build it strong. That may cause some pain. And that is okay. Pain leads to growth if you embrace it as part of the process. And it is part of the process of love. You can be guaranteed your loved one will hurt you. The secret to this often misused fact is they don't do it on purpose. It is a mistake and an opportunity to grow for both of you.
Many many songs, poems and plays have been written about love. Up until recently, most of them told a different story from the glamorous white gowns, Royal guard, glass slippers and happily ever after. Stories of days gone by have spoke of love being a flower that needed to be tended to, to nurture and grow, or something you felt strong enough about you were willing to die so the other person could have happiness. Now a days people aren't even willing to eat at a certain restaurant so their partner can be happy.
The biggest problem with the Fairy tale version of love is it speaks nothing of working together. There is no team, there is two people and a magic wand. No conversation, no tough times where you hold each other close and wonder how you will make it. No celebration of a job well done. No pride in each other or ourselves. Just this empty notion of promised bliss for the rest of our lives.