Call me a pessimist, call me heartless,
call me a cynic. But I don’t believe in love.
That’s not altogether true. I believe in
some kinds of love. I believe in the love people have for their family and
friends. I believe that people fall in love, that you can find someone who
makes you happy enough that you want to be with them instead of anyone else.
But what I really don’t believe in is true
love. The idea that there is someone out there who is perfect for you, your
other half, your soulmate. The dream that one day your handsome prince will
come and sweep you off your feet. We are raised with these notions, from
stories and movies. But that is where these ideas should stay – in fantasies.
They don’t exist in the real world. We watch these characters that seem too
good to be true – because they are. Girls don’t have crushes on actors; they
have crushes on the characters they play, who put love above everything else.
But how many guys actually do that? We watch the bad boys change when they meet
the “one”; successful men giving up opportunities and careers to be with the
girl who “completes them”; guys chasing after their “true love” at the airport;
huge embarrassing gestures and displays to win back their “soulmate”. So then
girls start expecting that, and are shocked when it doesn’t happen. I’m sure
this works both ways, that there are some guys out there who are perpetually
disappointed romantics too, but I think even the most feminist of us have to
face the truth that women are more guilty of this than men. More modern films
have at least made some advances, in depicting women as strong and independent,
rather than princesses who do nothing but pine and long for love. However, they
always end up reduced to a cliché. If I were in a romantic film, my cliché
would be meeting the guy that makes me believe in love. But life is not a film.
In real life, people aren’t perfect and love is hard to find. Relationships are
not easy and take work to make them last.
I should make something clear though; I
enjoy romantic stories, and I spend a fair amount of time dreaming up
sickeningly lovey-dovey scenarios involving myself. And that’s ok, I strongly
believe that without fantasy, we would not be able to survive the bleakness of
reality. But I never, ever let myself believe that these fantasies will ever
come true. I’m trying to save myself from disappointment. It is important
though, to have some standards when looking for a potential partner – don’t
settle for someone you deserve better than – but keep those expectations
realistic. No one is going to make you see fireworks, or feel like bursting
into song. There will be no earth-shattering revelations or grand proclamations
declaring true love. The best we can hope for is to find someone who we want to
spend time with. Someone who makes us happy. That’s all.