The Relationship Fantasy
Why a template love life isn't for you.
Hey fellow romantic,
I hope your week went great or, at the very least, you found a new show to binge-watch (which, if you haven’t watched The Undoing, I highly suggest you start now).
This week I’m coming at you with a relationship fantasy. And not just any fantasy but THE fantasy.
But first, I need to rewind to my childhood…
I grew up in Orlando, Florida. To be exact: Altamonte Springs (a suburb of Orlando).
My childhood wasn’t out-of-the-ordinary nor nothing horrible enough to write a memoir on. It was rather average; most likely like yours was.
But growing up in the US meant I was inundated with ideas about how relationships, love, marriage, and dating worked. Pretty Woman implied a man would save me. Lizzie McGuire showed me how to handle a first crush. My parents and all the parents around me modeled the blueprint for a “successful” marriage.
I didn’t know that it was happening then, but a fantasy was being formed in my mind. I had this grand idea of how my love life would play out, something in between my parent’s relationship and that of Cinderella’s.
And I tried to fulfill that fantasy throughout my life. I never stopped looking for my Prince Charming or Edward. I dated and loved and expected to follow a certain timeline.
Yet, I found myself overwhelmingly unhappy. I don’t necessarily blame the pursuit of the fantasy for everything, but it drove many of my choices.
I’m not the only person who ventures into their love life thinking this way. All of us— and I speak from a place of people in modern society— use this fantasy as a model for love.
But that’s the issue.
Think of it this way: when you create a Word document, you’re given two options. The first is a blank document. The second is a bunch of templates you can build off of.
The relationship fantasy is the equivalent of a Word document template.
Through the media, our parents, and the relationships around us, we’re given a template of how our lives should look. Many blindly follow without deviating from the perfectly laid out titles and subheadings or precise grid.
But why? It seems silly to think that one template for a love life could work for everyone. Aside from breathing, eating, and sleeping, there’s not much that all human beings do the same, and even those have some variances.
My point here is that getting caught up in the idea of how your relationship should look could be making you unhappy. Thinking you need to find a relationship by a certain time or with someone who looks like the people you’ve always dated could be what’s making you feel empty inside.
As part of life, it’s our job to veer from the norm and find what works for us, even if that feels terrifying. If you don’t, you’re destined to live a template life that feels good enough, but never everything you want.
So how do you create a relationship (and life) that feels right rather than what everyone else is doing? There are a few questions you can ask yourself to do just that:
Does this drain me?
I’ve used this question to help me decide if friends are worth keeping in my life, but it’s a great indicator for other aspects as well.
Say someone is single, and they keep dating because, well, everyone keeps asking when they’ll find a partner. But with every date and every swipe left, they feel more exhausted. Maybe that template isn’t working for them anymore, and a break is what they need.
Where does this desire come from?
Is it your parents? Your sister? Your friends? Instagram?
Or can you not even pinpoint where the desire stems from, but it feels wholly alien to you, and now you’re wondering why you even wanted it in the first place?
Why is this causing me so much stress?
Sometimes, the answer is simple: what you’re pursuing isn’t right for you.
What would my life be like if I chose a different path?
I absolutely love this one. When we’re caught up living a template love life, anything different feels like it will end in disaster.
But will it? If you choose an open relationship because that’s what you secretly desire, how would it feel to finally be living a life that’s true to you? Or if marriage isn’t your jam, what would it feel like to have the pressure lifted from your shoulders?
Have I tried dating differently?
I hate to admit this, but here we go: I used to date a lot of blondes, athletic types. If you lined up my exes, they’d look like they came from the same lacrosse team in a remote village of France.
But my boyfriend now is much different, not just looks-wise but also his character. He’s your typical “nice guy” without the jerk mannerisms accompanying that stigma. The kind of guy I would’ve been turned off by or scared to date before.
What makes me uniquely happy?
Herein lies a lot of your answers for creating your unique Word document.
Pursue what makes you happy. From hobbies to the way you dress to the way you act. Once you start doing these little things that bring you joy, you attract the kind of people who appreciate those things as well.
I hate to fall into the stigma of a person who says *~question eVeRyThIng!~* but, indeed, you should question everything. That’s how you find your happiness.
Until next week my lovely reader ❤️
All the love,
Content I Loved:
Articles I Wrote:
*If you're new to this newsletter and my work, I'm currently writing on a book, What I Wish I Knew About Love, that's set to come out early 2021 with Thought Catalog Books.*
The mock-ups for the book cover came in! It’s surreal seeing designs for my book. I sent in a few revisions, but hopefully, I’ll have a cover design for you all soon!