A new study from the University of Toronto may put a wrench in all of our ‘happily ever after’ daydreams. According to new research, the idea of seeing your romantic relationship as ‘meant to be’ can actually be harmful to the relationship itself.
This is the part where all of us hopeless romantics pretend that we would never think such a thing and pshhhh that’s not my crush’s last name on the back of my Trapper Keeper so BACK OFF. But seriously folks, this study has some interesting takeaways on the old soulmate idea. Specifically, it might not be doing us good to think about love in such idealized terms.
The brains behind this study, Spike W. S. Lee and Norbert Schwarz, performed two experiments that looked at how people viewed their relationships, namely as either, “a journey or a perfect unity.”
“Our findings corroborate prior research showing that people who implicitly think of relationships as perfect unity between soul mates have worse relationships than people who implicitly think of relationships as a journey of growing and working things out. . . different ways of talking and thinking about love and relationships lead to different ways of evaluating it,” states Lee.
Essentially, if you think in these idealistic terms like the idea of a soulmate or your ‘other half,’ it can have a negative impact on how you evaluate the relationship; meaning you will tend to be more easily derailed by disappointment.
Those who thought of their relationship a little more realistically, the ‘journeyers,’ if you will, put less pressure on the relationship to be perfect, and were more capable of dealing with the inevitable challenges that come along.
In a nutshell: you will have more relationship satisfaction if you drop the idea of destiny, or ‘meant to be’ because when conflict arises (and, duh, there will always be conflict) you won’t be as surprised or dismayed.
So drop the rom-com-esque love goggles, and you’ll have a more enjoyable relationship. Oh, and since these guys say it’s all about the journey, now you can proudly use that “Happiness is a journey not a destination” mug that your Aunt got you.