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Steph Barnes
February 27, 2017 4:45 pm

Epic love songs, Disney, and Nicholas Sparks have all contributed to the way we romanticize toxic beliefs about love and relationships. Many of us have lost touch with reality when it comes to our #relationshipgoals. We’ve accidentally become so caught up in this unattainable idea of perfection that we fail see these beliefs are the very thing keeping us from finding real happiness in our relationships.

In order to love and be loved in the way we deserve, we must stop romanticizing these toxic ideas about love and relationships.

1Love has the power to heal everything! 

At some point during our human experience, we created this notion that “love makes all things possible.” Sure, love is a powerful force and it has inspired some of the most epic stories, songs, and works of art ever created. But what it hasn’t done and what it will never do is heal someone who has no interest in being healed. We like to think our love is strong enough to fix the people we share it with. But people are not DIY projects — they don’t change because you want them to and won’t learn to love themselves or be better simply because you love them.

2If it’s real, it’ll be easy.

Nope. Creating real, meaningful relationships of any kind will involve work. You have to be willing to invest the effort it takes to learn your partner — their quirks, the way they process their emotions, their love languages. There will be obstacles, there will be disagreements, and it will take work to get through those setbacks. It won’t always be easy but if you want to make it last, you better work!

3Being your partner’s main focus…all the time.

Of course, you want the person you’re dating to shower you with attention and affection but you shouldn’t be the *only* good thing they have going in their lives. Having a partner who’s too clingy will inevitably lead to co-dependence and eventually be more than you can handle.

4Someone who refuses to take “no” for an answer

Remember that scene in The Notebook where Noah asked Allie to dance and she rejected him so he left her alone? Oh, you don’t? That’s because it never happened. What did happen was instead of taking “no” for an answer, Noah decided it would be “romantic” to hang from a ferris wheel, while threatening to let go if Allie didn’t agree go out with him.

Now imagine if someone you’ve rejected was that determined to get your attention? Wouldn’t be as cute as Sparks intended, would it? Probably not. That level of determination doesn’t mean they’re blinded by desire, it just means they don’t respect you or your boundaries. The whole thing is creepy and manipulative and we need to stop romanticizing it. No means no.

5The idea that the right person will just *know* how to love you

People aren’t magic. There is no mind reading. In order to facilitate healthy, long-lasting relationships we must learn to communicate. Your partner won’t know what you need unless you tell them. They won’t know how to love you unless you’re open and honest about the things you require to feel loved. It’s that simple. Speak up!

6All you need is love

The Beatles lied. While love does serve as a solid foundation, it takes a lot more to build a good relationship. You need trust and openness. You need emotional and financial stability. Then add some patience and the willingness to compromise with just a dash of sexual chemistry. Love alone will only take you so far.

7It being anyone’s job to tear down the walls you’ve built

Here’s the thing: Most of us have been hurt by love at one point or another. We walk around carrying wounds that weren’t self-inflicted but we must tend to them with our own hands. It’s on us to heal from past hurt in order to be able to freely give and receive love.

Expecting someone to break down the walls you’ve created to keep hurt out is unrealistic and a little unfair.

At the end of the day, we can continue to romanticize these toxic beliefs or we can start figuring out how to create healthier relationships.

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