The real thing, temporary insanity, or a cruel myth? TheSite.org takes a look at true love. Aaaaahhhh.
Does it really exist?
True Love. We're all supposed to want it, along with the good career, great sex, and slim, toned body. I was always pretty much a cynic though. The vast majority of people seem to find someone they can put up with, stick with them so they don't have to go back to being single, then marry because they've been together a while and it seems like the thing to do. And a few years back I was in danger of going that way myself.
Then I met Lee. He was someone I'd known a while and always found interesting and attractive, but one drunken night we really opened up to each other and something just clicked. We got together shortly after, and frankly this relationship is so different to those before it's like trying to compare the Grand Canyon to a pothole. We both have divorced parents so it's hard for us to turn off our internal cynics, but if this guy isn't The One then I'm clearly doomed to be alone forever.
So I've managed to stumble across the right person for me. I must have been particularly well behaved in a former life. But how do you avoid those dreadful 'making-do' relationships and do the same?
Great, where do I sign up?
The first thing is that, despite the title, it's really more a case of waiting for love. Much as you'd like, you can't just go out there, tag someone and say, "you're It." I met Lee through work, but it's just down to luck so do your own thing and try activities that involve meeting people outside your normal friendship group. Know your own self-worth too, because if you don't love you, why should anyone else?
Once you meet someone, the important thing isn't how many hobbies or interests you share. Relate Counsellor Carol Lyons explains that you need to have: "the same fundamental core values to want the same things from life."
If you can't talk to your partner - and listen! - it will be harder to change together and you may grow apart
Making it last
The initial butterflies-in-the-stomach stage never lasts, and, on returning to your senses, you find out all the bad points about each other. This may sound disillusioning but it's actually really important. There are hundreds of people whose good points you can love, but few whose bad points you can put up with! Once you are living with your partner, the little niggling things can turn out to be the final straw - or end up ultimately as endearing. Well, mostly...
So you find someone and you think it's working. But is it Love? I used to ask this, then reassure myself by listing what made the relationship good. With Lee however, I asked myself once, thought, "yes!" and that was it. No justification, I just knew.
When you do find the right person, it's easy to think it's 'happy ever after' time. Carol warns that this isn't true. "A relationship is a process," she advises. "It's the big life changes which affect a relationship; losing a job, pregnancy."
"You have to be able to make revisions. If you can't talk to your partner - and listen! - it will be harder to change together and you may grow apart." If things do go wrong, don't be tempted to immediately jack it all in. Talk to friends or go to Relate. A relationship needs hard work and compromise on both sides to last.
Will you find The One for You? Who knows. But don't end up simply making do - it's worth the wait.
Written by Helen Rix
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