Cupid, draw back your bow..
I've always found the concept of being 'shot through the heart' a bit violent with regards to falling in love. For me, it's usually a feeling of opening and warmth. And yet, there's something to be said about romantic love being transformative and deeply felt.
Sadly, there are many myths about love you and I have learned over the last many years; myths that are not healthy, expansive, or compassionate in my opinion and experience. So for Valentine's day, I'm sharing 10 myths we all need to un-learn. There are myriad more, of course.
As with everything I write, this is an expression of my perspective and my bias. YMMV.
1. I understand and express love in the same way they do
Yeah, not so much. Some people experience love through spending time with their person, while others experience it through gifts. Of the many models that consider understanding/expressing love, The Five Love Languages has been the most fruitful for me over the years.
2. If i disagree with them, they are going to leave me
I lived this so fully for the first many years of my dating life, I would feel sick to my stomach at times with worry.
What I found to be true for me (your experience may be different), is that if this story is factually true in relationship, then the relationship isn't rooted in love. It is rooted in control.
And if this myth isn't factually true, but something you hold on to internally, then you have some work to do. One way to un-learn this is to work on building and maintaining your own esteem. This can be easier said than done, particularly if you have trauma in your history. My best suggestion, sincerely, is to find a counselor, coach, or therapist-type to help guide you through re-writing this part of your narrative, and that may take a while. It's worth the effort.
3. It’s my job to make them happy / it’s their job to make me happy
The most succinct suggestion I can make here is this: work towards shifting your story about making/ being made happy away from codependence and towards a model in which you (and your partner) communicate need and ask for be behaviors. A Google search on 'how to fix codependency' returns over 400,000 results. Aside from working with a professional, you might check out the work of Marshall Rosenberg and his model: Non-Violent Communication. Deceptively simple, this can help you parse out your needs, thoughts, and feelings. A word of awareness: reading a book doesn't mean you know a thing - practice means you know a thing.
4. If I love someone, I have to put up with their bad behavior
This may be 'true' if you are a parent, and/or a caregiver. As an adult relating to another adult in, you most certainly DO NOT need to put up with their bad behavior.
Fuck that Shit.
Inside a context of consent, compassion, and health, you and your partner, ideally, will have open lines of communication that not only make it possible to lovingly call each other in on BS, these lines and the context you co-create will help you both become your highest and best selves.
5. If they have a relationship with someone I find threatening, they have to end it
To me, this expresses a general category of 'rules' that fall under the umbrellas of Jealousy, Low Self-Esteem, and Suspicion and Controlling Behavior. If you don't think you can trust your partner to be in integrity with you regardless of whom they know or where they are, ESPECIALLY if they haven't given you a reason to, take a look in the mirror and consider where you have work to do. Where are your insecurities? What past experiences might you be 'writing' onto your current partner? etc.
6. If they really loved me, they would ________________
They would what? Read your mind? Magically know what you need? Suddenly align with your core values? Know exactly what you want when having sex? Does that happen to you when you love someone - are you omniscient? I didn't think so. If you find yourself entertaining this kind of thought, rather than make your partner wrong, consider sharing with your partner what you want without making them wrong.
Ex: 'if she loved me, she would know how important my music is to me and stop nagging me about practicing' could become a conversation about your passion for music, how practicing helps you stay on top of your game. You then have an opportunity for you to negotiate and collaborate with your partner to create balance between your needs.
There you have it - 6 Myths about Romantic Love we all need to un-learn. Six storylines that could use some editing. Six ideas to contemplate on this and any day you think about what it means to Love and to be in love.