Image: Showbit

Let’s be honest here. What do you really want when it comes to love? The electrically-charged connection that makes you feel alive? The fairytale wedding leading to a happily ever after? Finding that someone who makes you feel complete? Perhaps all of the above.

But love, this romantic ideal – it’s not quite the same as a relationship, is it? Love is an intangible emotion, but a relationship takes tangible effort to keep it going strong. For many of us, coming to terms with this is a hard pill to swallow, and we can end up sabotaging ourselves and hurting others unnecessarily.

1. We think love is constant stimulation

I blame romance movies and novels for this. They have ruined relationships for us. The characters go through incredible highs, and the story always ends at the climax of their happiness, so we crave to feel the same. Our idea of love is romance and sparks and butterflies in our stomachs. We want our relationship to make us feel high on life and experience the world in Blu-ray quality. The uncertainty at the start usually delivers. We wonder if the person we are seeing will text us, whether they are thinking of us, and then the fluttery feelings kick in. It’s exactly like the movies described!

Then, after some time, as the relationship becomes more stable, the exhilaration dissipates. And you jump to the conclusion that it’s over.

Is it?

Movies and novels end at the climax because that’s what sells. But that’s not real life. It’s simply unrealistic to expect constant and everlasting exhilaration every single day of your life.

2. We want to play it cool

We’ve seen our closest friends go through horrible breakups. Or perhaps we ourselves have walked through this hell, putting in our hearts and souls, only to get them stomped on and broken into a million pieces. So we decide that’s it, no more 200% commitment. We’re going to play it cool from now on. We’re going to live by the phrases, “No strings attached” and “I’m not really looking for anything serious”.

This fear of heartbreak is very real. But if you ultimately want to find someone who will put themselves on the line for you wholeheartedly, you have to be willing to do the same. If not, you will always be attracting people who similarly want to play it cool and casual.

3. We want the façade without the hard work

We want the happily-in-love couple photos on social media to show the world how awesome we look with our significant others. We want to do the beautiful things – shop in Paris, snowboard in Niseko – but we don’t want to go through the hard work of learning to agree to disagree, to compromise once in a while, to hurt and forgive each other. But this manner of effort and commitment is the heart of relationships.

It’s like buying an apartment together. When you post up pictures of your new digs, people only see the gorgeous furniture and interior design. You, on the other hand, know how much blood, sweat and tears it took to be able to build a complete and beautiful home with your partner.

Everything worthwhile takes effort. Relationships too. It’s easy to want to pick and choose only the nicest parts that you like, but in your heart, you know that if you only want the superficial beauty, all you’ll get is a shell of a relationship, which needless to say will never last. So take courage, stop sabotaging yourself, and dive in!


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