Fairy-Tales - why a romantic relationship is so hard to find

Searching for your romantic soul-mate in relationship could leave you lonelier than ever

Fairy-Tales - why a romantic relationship is so hard to find

Is it Human Nature to want a Fairy-Tale Romance?

Are we all searching for “our one true love” so that we can live ‘happily ever after’ like, Ariel, Pocahontas, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White and Aladdin? Even Simba, Nala, Wall-E, Eva, the Lady and the tramp seem to have relationships sorted out and they aren’t even human!

Our first reading books at school portray happy families with cars and pets. It doesn’t seem to matter that more than half the world doesn’t live like this …

Is it any surprise to find that we have been duped, from a tender age, into believing that when we find our soul-mate, our “true love”, that all our problems will magically disappear and life will fit this stereotypical illusion?

We can spend our lives looking for someone to look after and care for us, make us whole and bring us all the things we don’t feel we have by ourselves – ‘To complete us’.

Is it responsible and realistic to base a relationship on having our needs met, when we haven’t met ourselves first?

When we have these built-in unconscious expectations of how things need to be, it is little wonder that many find themselves in relationships that are unsatisfying, tumultuous or disconnected. Very few seem to achieve any kind of happily ever after…

It is not surprising that many give up on being in a true relationship, or any relationship at all?

Perhaps these expectations play a part in the way we imagine we need to be for the other – right from the first date.

Does it start like this?

“I want/need you to be whatever I want - therefore I show up as whatever I think you want/need me to be?

Maintaining such a façade (of not being our real selves) is exhausting and resentment can soon kick in. If this is not addressed, the resentment turns to bitterness - resulting in reaction, abuse and a perpetuating cycle of hurt and resentment.

What would happen if we let go of the fairy-tale myth and looked at what’s real?

What would relationships be like if we showed up as our real selves, from the very start?

Imagine letting go of the fairy-tale and accepting that your date/partner/flatmate is not going to do/be the picture you desire.

Imagine being in a relationship built on honesty, that allows trust and love between the two of you to deepen and expand – a relationship in which you learn to live with someone who is not playing a picture, but just being who they are … even if it is not what you had expected.

Imagine if the relationship was built on a quality of real love, rather than a picture of ‘how it should go’…

What type of foundation would we need to build a relationship like this?

  • Is it possible that a true connection with another begins with having, or developing a true connection with ourselves?

  • If you ‘can’t give what you don’t have’, and you do not love yourself, how can you expect to truly love another or allow yourself to be truly loved?

  • If we start by loving ourselves first, we can let go of the enormous pressure we put on others to do or be all we feel we are lacking.

It is possible to transform a relationship from one of tension and resentment to one of joyful togetherness and mutual support. In my work as a relationship counsellor I have witnessed such transformations occur over time. It is not impossible or even difficult, it just means taking the responsibility to become aware of the different choices we can make.

If we choose to take responsibility and look at our connection with ourselves first, there is far less pressure on “the relationship” to meet our needs.

A deep acceptance of ourselves gives our relationships a great start.

When we deeply appreciate who we really are, we can accept ourselves, and allow ourselves to just be – imperfections and all.

In living this way, we find that our relationships evolve and expand – we can learn more about ourselves and others; and we have the opportunity to experience a life based on love and true connection.

Being in a relationship based on this love is far better than any fairy-tale ending.

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  • By Jean Gamble, Psychotherapist

    Jean works with individuals, couples, families, teenagers and children. She knows that when we move past our layers of protection from hurt and connect deeply with our innermost self we can have rich, satisfying and purposeful lives and relationships.

  • Photography: Alan Johnston, Photographer

    I have studied Social Documentary Photography. Lots of life experience throughout which I have kept a keen sense of humour.