Modern society has sold us a rank of goods where love is concerned. Love’s purity has been polluted- we have commercialized the most powerful emotion in the world, branded it through over- romanticizing and idealization; it’s now deteriorated beyond recognition leading to terrible relationships.
How did love get over- romanticized?
Thanks to the large number of fairy tales and Disney movies we feasted our eyes with, to the literary fodder we binge read, movies, television shows, religion, our parents and society at large, conditioning us to romanticize romance and idealize love.
We adored Disney movies like The Little Mermaid, where Ariel falls in love with Prince Eric just by looking at him and then sacrifice everything to be with him. Or, Cinderella, who fell in love with Prince Phillip at first sight- as ‘So this is love’ is sung between them. Then, there are the books. Even I was an Austen fan growing up, so falling in love with the perfect love is inevitable.
We all have dreamed, atleast, once in our lifetime of ‘Prince Charming’ or for that matter, ‘Princess Charming’, to come in white horse and sweep us away. Most part of our life passes in searching our “other half” with astute impertinence, articulation and swag of Fitzwilliam Darcy. Fictional men like Mr Darcy and George Knightly have the raised the bar high for men. To think, if girls want their ‘Love of Life’ to be Darcy, then, shouldn’t they try to be as sharp as Elizabeth, atleast. You know the best part about them, they don’t exist; so stop searching for them.
The quixotic ideas of Beauty falling in true love with Beast, showing physical appearance are of no importance, if the heart is of gold. Does this even happen in real life? To say, physical features are the first thing that we observe in a person.
No one in real life is Rahul aka Shah Rukh Khan, waiting for you with arms full open and the violins in the background. When you accidentally collide with your love interest in the library and all the pages scatter here and there, the time stops and the eyes meet, gazing continues for long and no one cares about the papers that have fallen. I haven’t seen such a moment in my life, forget about library not even in a park.
Our families and friends are not behind in the race. We have been constantly told statements like-
“Your partner becomes the best part of every single day.”
“Mundane tasks turn into the greatest times of your life.”
“Everything around you turns gay and happy when you are in love.”
“You get completed when you fall in love.”
This has made me question, the path which we are leading to? Is it spreading more harm than love?
The truth is for the longest time, we haven’t just been preached what love is but, also, hammered into us what love should be.
While many of us are duped into thinking that love is a elusive thing that we have to chase, anxiously attach to, and posses to the point of codependency.
Idealizing love this way has become the breeding ground for toxic relationships- where people become obsessed, treat each other as objects to be owned, project insecurities on each other out of jealousy, envy and past trauma, all in the name of our dear old “LOVE”.
This had lead to the falling of relationships leading to increased break ups and divorces and subjecting us to a survive a tumultuous emotional roller coaster ride, crippling us in resentment and grieve.
We have internalized this idealistic view of love and so lot of us tend to go about in a wrong way, putting ourselves through open heart surgery under general anesthesia on a loop, moving from person to person.
What love is and isn’t- is subjective.
Love has scientifically been related to the release of neurotransmitters and hormones. This means love can take you on a emotionally unstable ride where you behave like a drug addict. There is no La la hymn and violin playing in the background when you meet your partner and no sudden rains drenching you, to create a romantic atmosphere. Or is it?
Jokes apart, let’s come to the point.
Love is a feeling that shouldn’t be confined in a box or in a ten page character check list.
It is obviously not depended on flower, chocolates and perfect dates. Even if you receive flowers everyday, you can be cheated by your partner. Proposing on one knee, doesn’t guarantee a sustainable future. Love should never seek to possess but honor the anatomy and the boundaries. It depends on the emotional attachment but we should practice letting go instead of trying to hold it in a death grip.
It could be felt in the form of care where you seek out for your partner in their time of distress, being mentally and emotionally present for them. Even a small visit from a loved one, on a dark day can lighten the mood and make love palpable. Travelling with them, just for their safety is another high. A small ‘Good Morning’ or ‘Good Night’ or ‘l reached home’ message, even after a torrid argument can bring a smile. Love is not about extravagant dates, a simple chai and vada pav at tapri would suffice. Being all present on the other person’s head, is not love but jealousy or possessiveness. Trust, loyalty and space define a relationship. Learning to accept that you and your partner have a life outside your relationship, is necessary. Don’t forget some long distance relationships are far better than the ones that stay together.
Arguing with your partner for silly issues, is not helpful at all, understanding is. Every day confession of love is not needed- actions speak louder than words, they say. I know couples that hadn’t confessed their love for many years but, they were and are still growing strong. Love is not about changing the personality of your partner but accepting them with open arms as every human is flawed. Learning difference between love and infatuation is a task that we all must fulfill.
Love should be nurtured and not be ablazed. Romanticizing love is kindling that fire, idealism is the oxygen, remove these from your approach to love to form a healthy long lasting bond.
Love doesn’t have to be an all consuming fire; it can be a slow steady burn with an everlasting flame.
PS- I am grateful to all my friends who helped me with this blog. This would not be possible without you.