Marriage Slumps, Relationship Ruts and Other Painful Realities About Love
Warning: the contents of this article may upset you. In fact, I strongly recommend that you close this page. If you’re like most people, you have a child-like naïveté about romance. I don’t want to spoil that. Sure, you were able to handle the truth about Santa Claus and the tooth fairy (oops, you didn’t know about the tooth fairy? Sorry…), but maybe you’re not ready to learn about love’s painful truths.
Okay, if you’re reading this paragraph, you’re either very curious, stubborn, or downright foolish. I warned you not to read further, so if you continue, do so at your own risk.
Twelve painful truths about love:
1. Love will not make you happy—not in the long run. In fact, it’s never been love’s job to make anyone happy. But for some reason, more and more people enter into relationships thinking that they’ve signed up for a life full of happiness.
2. Love is unpredictable and offers no guarantees. If it’s certainty that you’re after, do yourself (and your partner) a favor and remain in the dugout. When you’ve entered the game of love, you’ve gambled—like it or not. There’s no way around this truth.
3. Love is not enough to keep your relationship healthy and running smoothly. Although the Beatles announced that all we need is love, the truth is they were wrong. (And just for the record, love didn’t prevent John, Paul, George, and Ringo from ending up divorced.)
4. You can love someone and not like them. Life can be pretty unpleasant living with someone you love but don’t like. For some reason, couples stop behaving in ways that maintain their likeability factor. Big mistake.
5. Love doesn’t keep passion alive—passion keeps passion alive. If you don’t nurture romance and eroticism, you’ll end up in the land of platonic love. While this might work for some, many unhappily deny their need for sex in order to preserve their relationship.
6. You can feel lonely and still be in love. This painful truth often results from a lack of trust or an inability to take the risk of sharing all of yourself with your partner. People who feel lonely are vulnerable to looking outside their relationship for what’s missing (ironically, this pattern of loneliness can follow you from relationship to relationship).
7. That old adage, “Love is blind” has merit. Your feelings (and your desire to be in love) can obscure certain painful truths about your partner, especially in the beginning of the relationship. Rather than appropriately dealing with the shortcomings of your relationship as they arise, your myopic love-vision may allow problems to fester and grow, and before you know it, love is a thing of the past.
8. Even within committed, stable relationships, love can be imbalanced and inconstant. You may find that you love or need your partner more than s/he loves or needs you. And at other times the reverse might be true. Because humans are dynamic, evolving creatures, the love they feel for each other is also subject to change over time.
9. Love involves a fall from grace. People often enter relationships with unrealistic expectations and ideals that have more to do with a Hollywood script than real life. If love guided you into the arms of your partner, it’s up to you to toss the Hollywood script and prepare for the day-to-day work needed for love to survive.
10. Being in love can hurt. Loving the wrong person hurts even more. Here’s the irony: if you want to receive the gifts of intimacy, you must humbly stand at love’s door without the protective armor that has shielded you throughout your single life. When you take this risk, the joys and wonders of life intensify—and, sometimes, so do life’s sorrows.
11. For some reason, love doesn’t prevent ruts, arguments, or unreasonableness. If you forget this truth, you are less likely to remain committed to each other through the inevitable downturns that all relationships travel.
12. The love you feel may not last. This is especially the case when couples fail to give their relationship the attention and effort needed to keep it healthy. Because of the euphoria that accompanies new love, you might falsely assume that your relationship is immune to the struggles others face. The reality is, all relationships (even yours) are vulnerable and can buckle under stress.
There you have it, some unattractive truths about love. Are you still willing to step up to the plate and enter the game of love? If you’re like most, you probably answered “yes” to this question. Despite all the risks, people love being in love. If you’re the type of person who idealizes love, keep this list handy and refer back to it just in case you need a dose of reality.
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