When it comes to true love, does Disney have it right? Will my “Prince” or “Knight in shining armor” ride up on his splendid stallion and sweep me off my feet?
Well, after one failed marriage, two unhealthy relationships and several bad dates, I think not. I don’t mean to sound like a cynic or someone who doesn’t believe in love, because that isn’t so. The fact is, many of the ideals that I formed about relationships were shaped by a fairy-tale point of view.
From an early age, we’re bombarded with images of a perfect romance with a fairy-tale ending. What would life be like without fairy-tales? Would it be sad and bleak or less disappointing? As a child, I loved fairy tales. In fact, my favorite bedtime stories always ended in “happily ever after.” I recall how, shortly after my mother would begin reading to me, I would drift off to a magical land where timeless dimensions existed – a place where things were familiar, yet somehow different. Fairy tales allowed me to fill in the blanks by listening to the tales and empathizing with the character. Fairy tales also became the sole reason why I became a thirty-something year old female who believed that if I kissed a lot of frogs, one day I would kiss a prince and, oh yeah, that one day I would “live happily ever after,” the end.
It’s our desire for the ‘happy ending’ that causes so many of us to settle when it comes to relationships. The fairy tales from our childhoods involve idealistic views of life, leading us to believe that the Prince or Princess of our dreams will end up being our lifelong partners if we try hard enough to find them. The reality is frequently very different, and a vast number of us wind up ‘settling’ for a life partner who, although not perfect, is “good enough,” even though the love we share isn’t lifted straight out of a fairy tale.