Myths about Romantic Relationships

"When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one’s self, and one always ends by deceiving others."--Oscar Wilde

Love, rarely "works" the way we wish it would. We tend to hold unrealistic notions about love and marriage that seldom match reality (see Bochner, Parks).

couple kissingFor instance, being “madly in love” with someone is not enough to make a marriage last. Romantic, passionate love, the type of love that rules our decision-making early in a relationship, always fades. And when it does, people often find themselves stuck with a spouse that they may not like or even appreciate (see Regan). If love does last, love, by itself, is not enough to make a marriage or relationship "work" (see romantic attachments).

And while most people believe in "monogamy," that belief is often betrayed by one’s thoughts and deeds (why people cheat). Almost everyone thinks about being intimate with someone other than their romantic partner (see Hicks & Leitenberg). For many people, those fantasies become reality.

Furthermore, even though romantic relationships are viewed as the source of "much happiness, love, and understanding," as it turns out, our closest relationships are actually the source of our most painful emotional experiences. Spouses tend to be more indifferent, mean, and critical of each other than complete strangers would ever dream of being (see Miller).

So to put it mildly, relationships supposedly built on love and understanding often cause a lot of hurt, pain, and misunderstanding (see types of problems couples encounter).

All in all, fantasy, not reality, tends to rule the day when it comes to love and romance.