Love Hurts and Other Relationship Myths

Relationships and love are probably the biggest complications of life, especially romantic ones. Presumably, these complications are not all natural occurrences created by nature or mutations of evolution; but rather subconscious, or even conscious, societal impact. Many of them nicely disguised as catchphrases easy to remember and constantly thrown into everyone’s faces, making them appear to be guidelines of the unwritten book of how to live happily even though they’re mostly pure fiction and, ultimately, myths of nonsense.

64f407deb2c8e20efd65c08a2c8c61d2.jpgPainting by Mao Lizi.

Love hurts – this is simple, love is just an emotion. A physical reaction, a rush of chemicals. This emotion is naturally associated with happiness, if the feeling of loving someone is troublesome that’s lovesickness or other physiological manifestations. But the idea of loving as an hurting emotion? There’s definitely truth in that love might bring pain, in the context of a relationship. Relationships are messy and complicated, people tend to hurt each other both with and without intent. That might hurt, but the feeling of love? No. Should a relationship always produce an emotion of unease, due to the massive passion that drains you emotionally, physically, perhaps even “soulfully”? Also, no. So, while being in a relationship might hurt at times, the feeling of love and the majority of the relationship shouldn’t.  

The woman is always right – in the heterosexual paradigm (because in relationships with either none or only women this doesn’t really apply) this is a prominent occurring phrase, often seen as “objective truth”. The thesis is hugely based on matters being solidified to absolutes. The first one being that there’s always right (and therefore wrong) to every situation, which there isn’t. Life, relationships, and situations are far more often nuanced and require complicated answers, emotions, and discussions. Another aspect of this is the lack of equality in the analysis. While I cheer men who identify power in women, this is not the way to reach gender equality in neither society nor romantic relationships. Women are people, equally (ironic) as complicated, nuanced, and fully as other people, including men.

The best relationships require the least amount of work – this is something that I’ve encountered numerous times, even though there isn’t a very well rehearsed phrase for it; people thinking that the best of relationships are simply “natural” by everything falling into place without having to put in emotional work. That the chemistry is so strong that the burden of work isn’t needed, that if anything is “forced” it’s not a relationship to strive for. This is, in my humble opinion, ludacris and absolute nonsense. Having a intimate and trusting romantic relationship built on friendship and companionship is not something that comes easily, simply because most people don’t trust others off the bat of meeting them and engaging with them, it’s a process. Also, in a relationship that is intended to last for longer than the honeymoon phase, emotional work is essential since that shimmer of amorous eternity fades simply because the body can’t obtain that feeling for longer than a set timeframe (people who claim to have been in the honeymoon phase for longer than one and a half year is lying).

Happy wife, happy life – this idea of constantly pleasing your spouse to obtain happiness is a process of completely diminishing oneself into a subhuman, a co-dependent of any other kind. Life contains of more experiences, and in many aspects more important, than having and maintaining a romantic relationship. And even when being in a romantic relationship, the most important part of it is not to please the other person(s). Personal happiness can’t rely only on external factors such as romance, because if it’s taken away there wouldn’t be anything left. Romantic relationships can be a massive part of leading a happy, fulfilling life, but life shouldn’t be dedicated to please another human being regardless of how strong the love is.

People (will) change for love – the emphasis of this point is the word will, since this is not a set point of nonsense. Some people choose to change for love, then in matters that they prioritise less than the relationship. But if the change they’re being asked to make is a massive part of their identity, upbringing, or life that they either value higher than the person they’re in love with or see no real reason to the requirement of change they most likely won’t change. As mentioned earlier, love isn’t everything, so to naturally throw oneself into submission of moulding into the other person’s needs and desires is neither healthy nor realistic. And on the topic, being in a relationship doesn’t naturally allow to require change. It isn’t a human right to have someone change for you, and being with someone who you would want to change fundamentally or completely isn’t the right relationship or person.

Jealousy is healthy – this is one of the biggest myths and tragedies of relationships. Indeed, feelings of jealousy are very common and often play a huge role of most relationships, however it shouldn’t be thrived for or admired. To be jealous is not an act of love, being that people love each other more if they’re jealous, and that this idea is hugely normalised and even romanticised today is actually really tragic. Jealousy is an emotion born and bred out a discommunication in the relationship, often distrust in the partner or oneself’s ability of being loved and cared for. Lack of confidence, fear of abandonment, or unease in the relationship due to conflicts or such matters can all lead to personal discomfort and then being transformed into jealousy. People don’t love you more because they’re jealous, they’re simply more insecure.

Soulmates – simply just that, soulmates. This doesn’t really need a grand gesture of philosophical thinking and personal opinions to disprove, only simple logic. One, there’s no such thing as a soul and even if they did exist this idea is based on the matter that souls both have to and are able to coexist in a magical sphere joined but also separate due to their hosts not being the same person. Two, the idea of soulmates also require the idea of a deterministic rather than a spontaneous natural order. Not only a creationist such as Allah/God/Jehovah/Yahweh, but one who has formed each and every individual with another individual in mind rather than the process of evolution and its mutation and natural, spontaneous development. Three, the belief in soulmates is exclusive to a narrow view of sexuality. It doesn’t speak about polyamory, does a person have multiple soulmates in such cases? Or is one better than the rest? How would that be fair? Furthermore, the idea of soulmates also exclude people identifying on the spectrum of asexuality. If there’s no desire to have a romantic relationship, does one still have a soulmate? Who will this soulmate end up with, if their soulmate doesn’t want them? In summary, the soulmate paradigm speaks only to the monogamous and people with a strong sense of sexual sexuality, which disproves the idea of it being a generalised “truth”. Four, in a hypothetical scenario, a parallel universe, where soulmates could exist, on a planet of 7.5 billion people, what are the odds of meeting one’s soulmate? Author and scientific theorist and engineer Randall Munroe explores this matter in his book What If? (2014), amongst others things, and calculates a hypothetical scenario of people having multiple possible soulmates, but even when a person lock eyes with 500 000 people in their lifetime the mathematical possibility still calculates that finding your one true soulmate is 1 in 10 000. That’s an advantage of 0.01 percent. And with such calculations, it’s made fairly easy to state that the idea of a soulmate is mathematically not impossible but ridiculous, especially if this data is compared to the numbers of people living in happy relationships today.

Adrian

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