The Truth: What Society Doesn't Want You To Know About Love

The Truth: What Society Doesn't Want You To Know About Love

How to undo the damage from past relationships, and actually find "the one".

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We’ve been lied to. Since we were born we were lied to. First about Santa Claus, then the Easter Bunny, and then when we got to be teenagers we were lied to about something much more sinister. Love. It’s the greatest mystery of all which no one really understands, but Disney is quick to make sure we know that men should be Prince Charming and women should be damsels in distress, just waiting for her Prince Charming to come along and rescue her. While this is indeed a romantic idea, it is far from reality. Yes, these types of relationships exist, but I’m here to tell you as a millennial that has been in more relationships than he can care to count, there is no one set definition of a relationship out there that you should be striving for.

People enter into relationships for a myriad of reasons; to help with self worth issues, for entertainment, loneliness, to be validated, to gain social status, money, etc. All of these, are toxic to a relationship to some degree. However before we understand the ideal relationship and attempt to set perimeters on what a relationship should be, we need to first understand our own desire for a relationship in the first place.

There’s something deep rooted in our biology that makes romantic relationships such a tantalizing experience. When two individuals connect on a deep emotional level, it brings a sense of wholeness, of selflessness, security, and excitement. That’s because when we fall in love with somebody, our brains release a chemical called oxytocin. This is a drug 10x more powerful than cocaine, and we are all addicted.  This is the ultimate reason we crave relationships, we’re just looking for that next fix. Now, as dark as that sounds, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I’ll tell you why.

When a couple come together, initially it’s based solely on attraction. Two people find each other hot and want to have sex, but then comes the connection. The relationship happens when two individuals connect on an emotional, physical and psychological level. There is then a feeling of singularity, like you’re the only two people who exist, everything else in the world is just noise. When you start to care for another person’s well being, you look at the world in a different way. Instead of thinking only of your wants and desires, you begin to consider another person’s, and though it sounds gross and stupid, it is actually the greatest feeling in the world. Perhaps that, rather than a chemical release, is the real definition of love. Mothers care selflessly for their children, who can provide them no care in return. Teachers give their students knowledge, yet get none in return. Doctors tend to their patients, and in some cases (not in America), expect nothing in return. Jesus died for our sins, though we can give him nothing in return. That is the actual definition of love. 

To get to a place in your life where you can stop caring so much about your own personal wants and desires, your need to be validated, your need to be liked and your need for sex and you instead focus on the well being of someone else, that is when you can have a successful relationship. Yet we live in a society so hell-bent on destroying love, of making people think their love needs to be “exactly right” or if it isn’t “perfect” we should leave and find someone else who will make you “truly happy” because we “deserve the best” and “not to settle”, but if you’re going to be really honest with yourself, how big of a catch are you in the first place? Are you so flawless inside and out that you think you deserve some perfect Adonis or Aphrodite and nobody else will do?

Real talk, perhaps your past relationships would have been actually successful if you were both in it for “true love” rather than an oxytocin fix. What if, instead of being so selfish and expecting your partner to solve all your problems for you, to validate your insecurities, or expecting them to make you feel a crack rush every time you see their name grace the home screen of your cellular device, you let yourself get into a place of selflessness and caring for that other person, and give them a real chance? Because, chances are, if you look back on relationships you’ve ended because of “the way she gurgles Listerine” or “the way he eats shellfish”, you might have just sent a person out on their backside (excuse my language) with whom you may have ultimately ended up finding this illusive “true love”!

I’ve long been under the impression that in order to get a “perfect relationship” you first need to become perfect, and then find a partner that is also perfect, and then together you can be a magical explosion of awesomeness. But the truth is, that day will likely never come (although I’m inching closer to it every minute) and we will never be perfect, no matter how hard we strive to be. What we’re actually doing is procrastinating the happiness and fulfillment we could be having today because we don’t feel like we’re “good enough”, or worse, we can’t find anyone else who is “good enough”. Maybe we’ve been hurt in the past (and since this is the 21st century, chances are 100% that you have, by people who were only out for themselves, like you, and me) and that makes us reluctant to give our love out again. But hear this: if you refuse to try again, you will never leave the place you’re in right now. 

Every relationship I’ve ever been in has began because I stepped out of my comfort zone in some fashion, I put myself out there and made myself vulnerable to rejection and pain. Whether it be approaching a girl in a grocery store, a bar, or on Facebook (come on, we’ve all used Facebook for a dating service), nearly talking myself out of going on a date because I was too nervous, or cutting someone off because it felt like we were getting too close. Truth be told, had we not stepped out of that cozy little comfort zone, we would all still be virgins. (If you’re still a virgin, it’s okay, I’m pulling for you.) In fact, every relationship I’ve ever been in has been a complete crash and burn, like a long succession of space shuttles that just never left the atmosphere. Yet I don’t regret a single one of them. Why? Because each one has been very important in illuminating my weaknesses and making me face them head on, so that the next time I take the plunge I’ll be that much more likely to succeed. Breakups aren’t even necessarily the enemy here, because each new relationship is a clean slate-a chance for you to be who you never could be before. If you look at relationships like a learning experience rather than a “success” or “failure”, you remove your ego and the pain isn’t so bad anymore. So get out there, try again.

What am I trying to say here? Just jump into the sack with the next lovable loser you come across? Absolutely not. But instead of searching for this “perfect partner” who doesn’t exist, (spoiler alert: there’s no such thing as “the one”) and holding everyone up to such an intense scrutiny that would make the pope himself burst into tears, why don’t you instead search for someone that you’re attracted to and fundamentally compatible with, but then beyond that accept them for who they are, and give them a God’s honest chance. Don’t just hop back on Tinder and order a new girl like a pepperoni pizza. And if you can find someone who will do the same and not kick you to the curb when they discover you have flaws (and yours are probably 10x more gangly than theirs FYI), then you can build a relationship where you will not only strengthen each other, but each others strengths will actually compensate for the other’s flaws. Then you can help mend the wounds of the incessant beat down of life and past relationships, instead of expecting them to have none. Because, even as strong and independent as we think we are, going through life solo is much less fun than sharing it with someone else. And though we’re all tragically flawed, deeply wounded, Listerine gargling, shellfish eating Neanderthals, we can still find the peace, security, joy and true love we’ve been searching for and society tells us no longer exists. And who knows, maybe we’ll even get an oxytocin hit or two once in a while.

We’ve been lied to. Since we were born we were lied to. First about Santa Claus, then the Easter Bunny, and then when we got to be teenagers we were lied to about something much more sinister. Love. It’s the greatest mystery of all which no one really understands, but Disney is quick to make sure we know that men should be Prince Charming and women should be damsels in distress, just waiting for her Prince Charming to come along and rescue her. While this is indeed a romantic idea, it is far from reality. Yes, these types of relationships exist, but I’m here to tell you as a millennial that has been in more relationships than he can care to count, there is no one set definition of a relationship out there that you should be striving for.

People enter into relationships for a myriad of reasons; to help with self worth issues, for entertainment, loneliness, to be validated, to gain social status, money, etc. All of these, are somewhat toxic to a relationship to some degree. However before we understand the ideal relationship and attempt to set perimeters on what a relationship should be, we need to first understand our own desire for a relationship in the first place.

There’s something deep rooted in our biology that makes romantic relationships such a tantalizing experience. When two individuals connect on a deep emotional level, it brings a sense of wholeness, of selflessness, security, and excitement. That’s because when we fall in love with somebody, our brains release a chemical called oxytocin. This is a drug 10x more powerful than cocaine, and we are all addicted.  This is the ultimate reason we crave relationships, we’re just looking for that next fix. Now, as dark as that sounds, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, and I’ll tell you why.

When a couple come together, initially it’s based solely on attraction. Two people find each other hot and want to have sex, but then comes the connection. The relationship happens when two individuals connect on an emotional, physical and psychological level. There is then a feeling of singularity, like you’re the only two people who exist, everything else in the world is just noise. When you start to care for another person’s well being, you look at the world in a different way. Instead of thinking only of your wants and desires, you begin to consider another person’s, and though it sounds gross and stupid, it is actually the greatest feeling in the world. Perhaps that, rather than a chemical release, is the real definition of love. Mothers care selflessly for their children, who can provide them no care in return. Teachers give their students knowledge, yet get none in return. Doctors tend to their patients, and in some cases (not in America), expect nothing in return. Jesus died for our sins, though we can give him nothing in return. That is the actual definition of love. 

To get to a place in your life where you can stop caring so much about your own personal wants and desires, your need to be validated, your need to be liked and your need for sex and you instead focus on the well being of someone else, that is when you can have a successful relationship. Yet we live in a society so hell-bent on destroying love, of making people think their love needs to be “exactly right” or if it isn’t “perfect” we should leave and find someone else who will make you “truly happy” because we “deserve the best” and “not to settle”, but if you’re going to be really honest with yourself, how big of a catch are you in the first place? Are you so flawless inside and out that you think you deserve some perfect Adonis or Aphrodite and nobody else will do?

Real talk, perhaps your past relationships would have been actually successful if you were both in it for “true love” rather than an oxytocin fix. What if, instead of being so selfish and expecting your partner to solve all your problems for you, to validate your insecurities, or expecting them to make you feel a crack rush every time you see their name grace the home screen of your cellular device, you let yourself get into a place of selflessness and caring for that other person, and give them a real chance? Because, chances are, if you look back on relationships you’ve ended because of “the way she gurgles Listerine” or “the way he eats shellfish”, you might have just sent a person out on their backside (excuse my language) with whom you may have ultimately ended up finding this illusive “true love”!

I’ve long been under the impression that in order to get a “perfect relationship” you first need to become perfect, and then find a partner that is also perfect, and then together you can be a magical explosion of awesomeness. But the truth is, that day will likely never come (although I’m inching closer to it every minute) and we will never be perfect, no matter how hard we strive to be. What we’re actually doing is procrastinating the happiness and fulfillment we could be having today because we don’t feel like we’re “good enough”, or worse, we can’t find anyone else who is “good enough”. Maybe we’ve been hurt in the past (and since this is the 21st century, chances are 100% that you have, by people who were only out for themselves, like you, and me) and that makes us reluctant to give our love out again. But hear this: if you refuse to try again, you will never leave the place you’re in right now. 

Every relationship I’ve ever been in has began because I stepped out of my comfort zone in some fashion, I put myself out there and made myself vulnerable to rejection and pain. Whether it be approaching a girl in a grocery store, a bar, or on Facebook (come on, we’ve all used Facebook for a dating service), nearly talking myself out of going on a date because I was too nervous, or cutting someone off because it felt like we were getting too close. Truth be told, had we not stepped out of that cozy little comfort zone, we would all still be virgins. (If you’re still a virgin, it’s okay, I’m pulling for you.) In fact, every relationship I’ve ever been in has been a complete crash and burn, like a long succession of space shuttles that just never left the atmosphere. Yet I don’t regret a single one of them. Why? Because each one has been very important in illuminating my weaknesses and making me face them head on, so that the next time I take the plunge I’ll be that much more likely to succeed. Breakups aren’t even necessarily the enemy here, because each new relationship is a clean slate-a chance for you to be who you never could be before. If you look at relationships like a learning experience rather than a “success” or “failure”, you remove your ego and the pain isn’t so bad anymore. So get out there, try again.

What am I trying to say here? Just jump into the sack with the next lovable loser you come across? Absolutely not. But instead of searching for this “perfect partner” who doesn’t exist, (spoiler alert: there’s no such thing as “the one”) and holding everyone up to such an intense scrutiny that would make the pope himself burst into tears, why don’t you instead search for someone that you’re attracted to and fundamentally compatible with, but then beyond that accept them for who they are, and give them a God’s honest chance. Don’t just hop back on Tinder and order a new girl like a pepperoni pizza. And if you can find someone who will do the same and not kick you to the curb when they discover you have flaws (and yours are probably 10x more gangly than theirs FYI), then you can build a relationship where you will not only strengthen each other, but each others strengths will actually compensate for the other’s flaws. Then you can help mend the wounds of the incessant beat down of life and past relationships, instead of expecting them to have none. Because, even as strong and independent as we think we are, going through life solo is much less fun than sharing it with someone else. And though we’re all tragically flawed, deeply wounded, Listerine gargling, shellfish eating Neanderthals, we can still find the peace, security, joy and true love we’ve been searching for and society tells us no longer exists. And who knows, maybe we’ll even get an oxytocin hit or two once in a while.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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