Like so many children, I grew up on a moderate dose of fairy tales that shaped my view of love and belief in the notion of happily ever after. Indeed, my very first long term relationship was shrouded in radiant, glowing confidence and conviction that we would last forever. It took years for me to see the stark personality differences between my young self and my first love. Fast forward through a handful of failed attempts at long-term partnership. By the time I reached my 30’s, I put more credence in phrases like, “nothing’s perfect”, “all relationships take work” and “if it’s meant to be, it will be”, than in idioms like “happily ever after”.
I stopped believing there could be a perfect person for me and started pouring through self-help guides. I worked on my communication and listening skills. I evaluated my ability to compromise and fretted over whether I had control issues. Then, in the midst of a relationship that I was working very hard at and compromising every day, in the midst of a relationship that some may have labeled abusive, I stopped. I stopped telling myself that relationships are not easy. I quit asking myself to accept less than what I wanted. I stopped thinking if I couldn’t have everything I wanted at least I could have something that was good enough. I shut out the well-meaning voices of friends cautioning me to keep my expectations realistic, and I opened myself to the possibility of having a love that is whole.
If you are in a relationship like the one I described, Get Out! It is better to be single even if it means you will sometimes combat fear and loneliness than to be in a relationship that is abusive.
Here are 5 steps to regain faith in yourself, faith in love and yes, faith in happily ever after.
- Forgive yourself. It’s important to absolve yourself of holding all of the blame in order to move forward. Reflect on the blunders you made in your past relationships and use the opportunity of being single to learn from those missteps. We all have faults. Admitting your faults is humbling and freeing.
- Don’t condemn yourself. It’s easy to fall into a trap of feeling that you are unlovable when you have not found that perfect love yet. This simply isn’t true. We are all capable of giving and receiving love. You are no exception. If you need proof, look at the friendships you’ve cultivated. People like you. One day someone amazing and perfect for you will love you.
- When you meet someone new, don’t allow yourself to hope that person will be “the one”. Instead, meet that person with anticipation that he or she will introduce you to “the one”. In other words, you are generating the probability that each new person will have a purpose in your life without building yourself up to be disappointed if their purpose isn’t to be the great love of your life.
- Make self-care a priority. Perhaps the most important step in regaining a belief in happily ever after is ensuring that you are happy right now. Whether it is a visit to the ocean, taking a yoga class, getting a massage, volunteering at an animal shelter or reading a book, engage in activity that makes you happiest. Pursue pastimes that will stimulate your mind and your heart.
- Take chances. You can’t win the lottery if you don’t buy a ticket. The same is true of relationships, you can’t find the love of your life if you are not out in the world meeting people and going on dates.
Peel back the years of hardening your heart in order to protect yourself. It’s ok to be vulnerable. It’s ok to want. Here is the truth, the real truth- when you’re in the right relationship, it is easy. You will not find yourself compromising or accepting a situation that is less than ideal. You will find that there really is a happily ever after.
Related Articles: What Do You Do When Your Relationship Is Falling Apart?
©Love Wide Open