Friday, 22 November 2013

The Difference Between Fantasy and Reality

     Call me a pessimist, call me heartless, call me a cynic. But I don’t believe in love.

     That’s not altogether true. I believe in some kinds of love. I believe in the love people have for their family and friends. I believe that people fall in love, that you can find someone who makes you happy enough that you want to be with them instead of anyone else.

     But what I really don’t believe in is true love. The idea that there is someone out there who is perfect for you, your other half, your soulmate. The dream that one day your handsome prince will come and sweep you off your feet. We are raised with these notions, from stories and movies. But that is where these ideas should stay – in fantasies. They don’t exist in the real world. We watch these characters that seem too good to be true – because they are. Girls don’t have crushes on actors; they have crushes on the characters they play, who put love above everything else. But how many guys actually do that? We watch the bad boys change when they meet the “one”; successful men giving up opportunities and careers to be with the girl who “completes them”; guys chasing after their “true love” at the airport; huge embarrassing gestures and displays to win back their “soulmate”. So then girls start expecting that, and are shocked when it doesn’t happen. I’m sure this works both ways, that there are some guys out there who are perpetually disappointed romantics too, but I think even the most feminist of us have to face the truth that women are more guilty of this than men. More modern films have at least made some advances, in depicting women as strong and independent, rather than princesses who do nothing but pine and long for love. However, they always end up reduced to a cliché. If I were in a romantic film, my cliché would be meeting the guy that makes me believe in love. But life is not a film. In real life, people aren’t perfect and love is hard to find. Relationships are not easy and take work to make them last.

     I should make something clear though; I enjoy romantic stories, and I spend a fair amount of time dreaming up sickeningly lovey-dovey scenarios involving myself. And that’s ok, I strongly believe that without fantasy, we would not be able to survive the bleakness of reality. But I never, ever let myself believe that these fantasies will ever come true. I’m trying to save myself from disappointment. It is important though, to have some standards when looking for a potential partner – don’t settle for someone you deserve better than – but keep those expectations realistic. No one is going to make you see fireworks, or feel like bursting into song. There will be no earth-shattering revelations or grand proclamations declaring true love. The best we can hope for is to find someone who we want to spend time with. Someone who makes us happy. That’s all.

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