Did you grow up watching Cinderella, Snow White, and Sleeping Beauty? Have you spent your life searching for the fairy-tale relationship, believing it must exist somewhere and feeling disappointed because you couldn’t find it? I don’t blame you—this is a fantasy that’s been instilled in many of us for years, and I’m sure the picture-perfect royal wedding didn’t help. As committed as you may be to the fantasy of fairy tales, look around: How many people do you know who live happily ever after? Probably not many, because fairy tales don’t actually work, and trying to live one is not authentic living.
Staying committed to the illusion of the fairy tales can actually ruin your relationships. Either you will pass over people with whom you could create a fulfilling relationship because they don’t measure up, or you won’t be grateful for your current partner because they don’t measure up to your vision of what a fairy tale looks like. Here are three fairy-tale myths that can ruin your relationships and hold you back from love:
1. Looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right.
Is riding off into the sunset with “Mr. or Mrs. Right” really what your desire? When you conclude that you are looking for Prince Charming, you stop asking the questions that would allow you to create what you really desire. What is it that you desire in a relationship? What is it that you desire in life?
You’ve got to start asking yourself, “What would be a great relationship for me?” Not for anyone else, but for me. Maybe you value a partner who chases adventure, or maybe you just want someone who will divide up household chores evenly with you. Get clear on what would actually work for you, regardless of whether anyone else likes it or not, and then start asking for that to show up.
2. Waiting it out for your soul mate.
How many of you are looking for your soul mate, your significant other, your twin flame, your other half? Looking for your soul mate is the idea that the purpose of relationship is to find the perfect partner for you. Here’s the thing: If you’re looking for your soul mate, the perfect partner, or the person who “gets” you and matches you in every way and you don’t find them, you end up judging yourself and wondering what’s wrong with you.
What if, rather than looking for the perfect partner, you started asking questions? You can ask, “If I was with this person, what would my life look like? If I was with this person, what would my life be like in five, 10, or 20 years?”
When you ask these questions, you’ll start to perceive what your life would be like in this relationship. Now, does that match what you truly desire? If not, no matter how much you have decided that they are perfect for you, it won’t be your best choice.
3. Going for the fixer-upper.
Maybe you’re not looking for the perfect person—maybe you know that doesn’t exist. But have you ever looked for the fixer-upper? Have you ever found someone and thought, “Oh well? They’ve got some good stuff. I figure I can fix them up.” People do this crazy thing where they think they are going to fix someone up and turn them into something better—something they think that person should be.
If you treat your partner as a fixer-upper, at some point he or she is going to rebel against that because no one wants to be constantly told in front of others that they are less than. You’ve got to be willing to be with the person you’re with—not to try to turn them into what you think they ought to be.
Holding on to the illusion of the fairy-tale relationship will keep you from seeing the possibilities that are right in front of you. Believing in an ideal that doesn’t exist stops you from creating what you would like to have. Let go of the lie of the fairy tale and choose to create what works for you. Fairy tales often begin with “Once upon a time.” Instead, if we chose to function from “once upon a choice,” our relationships would work out a whole lot better because it’s the active choosing of a relationship that creates something greater rather than wishing that everything will work itself out perfectly.