Love myths that may be keeping you single
Whether you have learned lessons about love from movies, or you have been influenced by parents, society and culture, chances are somewhere along the line your understanding becomes skewed.
Nailantei Norari @artnorari
Personal beliefs largely shape our reality. This is true in all spheres of human life, even in the romantic arena.
What we are socialised into believing to a great extent shapes our idea of romantic love, same as how we position ourselves in those relationships, and what we are willing to look for in a potential partner and put up with in the relationship.
While some beliefs about love may vary from person to person, most are largely the same as they are influenced by societies, cultures and popular media such as books, music and films.
Here are some myths about love that may be hindering you from finding and sustaining a healthy love.
Love equates excitement
Many people equate love to excitement. While love is exciting in the initial stage due to the release of serotonin, adrenaline and phenylethylamine, these hormones and the correlated high taper off with time.
This does not mean that the love is not there. It still is, but in a different form.
“It is unrealistic to expect love to be one constant high wave. Love, like all things in life changes over time.
Love can be calm too. It is this erroneous belief in that love should be intense and all-consuming that keeps people in toxic relationship, where the uncertainty and the intense emotional whiplash from constant break-ups and make-ups is confused with love,” Maurice Matheka a sexologist, relationship expert and psychologist explains.
You have only one soulmate
The belief in the one and only soulmate is popularised by Hollywood movies and romance novels such as Harlequin Romance and Mills and Boon.
The said romance books are what introduced us to love, especially since parents and teachers were unwilling to talk about love or relationships.
In the books, boy meets girl, they hit it off, fight once, make up and live happily ever after.
This built wrong expectations that we would end up with the first person we went out with sans hitches.
“It is unfortunate that we are ill-equipped for love. We grow up romanticising love and putting so much expectations on this future great love and partner, yet are unwilling to let go of bad partners afraid that they are the one, and hence if we let them go, we are doomed to spend the rest of our lives alone.
There is nothing wrong with having dreams of a great love. But you have to be willing to cut off those who do not measure up.
You are compatible with more than one person as evidenced by the happy polygamous nature of our forefathers.
A soulmate is just an import of Western culture. But you still have to put yourself out there to find a viable partner.
Multidate, do not commit while your partner is in a totally different phase in your relationship, define what you want and do not settle untill you have that,” Matheka advises.
When couples are better than singles
Love and eventual romantic partnerships play a large role in our social identities and even in the roles we take up in society.
While this means that the role and effect of a love partner cannot be downplayed, it does not mean that searching for love should be a lifelong pursuit.
Many people spend their entire lifetime looking for love, something that romantic songs applaud.
But what this means is that you never live a full life when single and even when married, you might be just as unhappy as your partner might be unable to meet your unrealistic expectations.
“It is unhealthy to live life pining for the future as this means you never enjoy the present.
Many people live looking towards that time they will be happy when they find the one and are happily married.
It is not wrong to hope for a better future, it is however wrong to fantasise about the future and sacrifice the present.
It is also unfair to saddle another human being with the duties of making you happy, helping you discover who you are, providing for you and your offspring, saving you, completing you, I mean what about them?” Matheka poses.
“You should learn to be happy by yourself so that a partner just adds to that. It is also important to remember that you are a whole human being in and of yourself, and you do not need a partner to complete you.
The partner should be there to complement you and help you be more of who you are rather than be there to wholly define you,” Maurice emotes.
Love is hard
Most African societies equate love to hardship. You will often hear mothers advise daughters that love is hard, but perseverance is what makes a home.
After all, their fathers cheated, they stayed and that is why the said daughters had a great life in an unbroken home.
Such beliefs are passed down from generation to generation, thereby normalising cheating and hardships and essentially equating the two to love.
“It is surprising just how many couples in Kenya think cheating and struggling for love is normal. It is not. Cheating is a conscious choice,” he says.
“Love is not supposed to be a struggle that leaves you in tears and heartbroken.
Persevering through a tough love does not make you exemplary or strong, that should never be a measure by which we measure strength; that is exactly the kind of thinking that makes domestic violence victims to stay.
There is strength in leaving and knowing the kind of love that you deserve. You do not have to perform for love and working hard to keep a relationship alive does not equate to you hurting while in a relationship all while holding on to the erroneous belief that love is hard,” Matheka says in conclusion.