What do you want in a partner? Everyone has fantasies about their perfect boyfriend, girlfriend, or future spouse. But not all of these love affairs are viable, and some of them will never come true.
If you know the distinction between what is possible and what is not reasonable, good for you. If you don’t, it’s time for a rude awakening because these desires you have for a partner may be actively damaging your love life.
5 ways idealized love destroys relationships
Here are five ways idealized love destroys relationships and how to prevent it.
Your partner is a human being. They have flaws, they make mistakes, and they need to work on themselves to improve. That’s just reality! Idealization robs them of this reality, painting them into something unreal and impossible, making them perfect in your eyes. This damages your relationship because:
- Your partner may be overwhelmed by pressure and expectations.
- Your partner will never meet the standards you set for them, as it is impossible to do so.
- Your partner may be afraid of being disappointed or feeling insecure and inadequate.
- Your idea of your partner will be shattered when they inevitably break the false image you have of her.
- You can allow your partner to get away with negative behavior because of the pink glasses you wear.
- You will assume that your partner will always be perfect and ideal.
2. You equate fighting with doom
Struggle it is a normal part of any long-term close relationship. Even in family and platonic relationships, fights are commonplace, and part of the point is that you know that the bond you share is strong enough to overcome these kinds of obstacles.
The same goes for romantic relationships. The world often presents the struggle as a surefire sign that everything is going downhill. While different relationships have different frequencies of typical and healthy arguments, fights can be beneficial for couples at the end of the day. As long as you’re fighting with positive methods can even facilitate better communication, a stronger bond, and a happier outcome.
Sure, love shouldn’t be painful or incredibly difficult. But it is not easy either. It takes work and there will always be misunderstandings between two different people. As long as you know how to solve them with positive thinking and respect, it is perfectly healthy.
3. Your expectations are unfair
We’ve talked about the dehumanization of idealized love because of your expectations, but there are other ways that these expectations can be detrimental to a relationship. For the most part, they create unfair parameters that most people cannot meet. Here are some Expectations which can make this happen:
Idealized love can make you want your partner to become your perceived version of her. It’s okay for you and your partner to have self-improvement goals. But actively entering a partnership and waiting for the other to change to suit your needs and preferences is a sure way to set the relationship on fire. You must love your partner as he is and support his growth without demanding or expecting him to change what he is.
You can compare your partner to other individuals, especially those presented in an idealized way. For example, you might want your partner to behave like a rom-com character, or you might want to have the #relationshipgoals you see on Instagram and other social media. This kind of comparison is automatically unhealthy – fictional characters are fictional for a reason, and social media only shows the best sides of people.
We’ve seen it many times – the romantic idea that when you meet someone, there must be instant chemistry or some spark. This is also idealized, and the reality is that most relationships don’t start out that way. Some may not even have that so-called “spark”. Genuine love, attraction, and respect are what it takes for a relationship to work for the long term, not some shallow, superficial expectation of passion based on movies and novels.
4. You lose empathy
When you idealize someone and have idealized ideas of love, you stop empathizing with a partner. The idea of them that you have in your head is already inherently false. There is no way you can understand or know them at their genuine level when everything you believe about them is wrong.
The ability to empathize. for someone close, whether it is a romantic relationship or not, it is crucial. It allows you to understand the position of others, see things from their point of view and put yourself in their place beyond your wishes. Essentially, idealization is too selfish and inner-centered to be empathetic, and that is not how any relationship works.
5. You communicate less
Communication is essential for a positive relationship. No one can read your mind. Expecting your partner to magically know what you want, need, or think will never end well. Unfortunately, people often expect this from their partner because of idealized love.
This is because they exhibit these behaviors:
- Thinking that they shouldn’t have to ask for what they want; your partner should know naturally.
- Believing that your partner should automatically know how to comfort you, help you, or do the right thing, even in new relationships.
- Give hints and hope that your partner picks up on them quickly and easily, and then you will get angry when your partner doesn’t get the suggestion.
- I tend to say what they don’t mean, waiting for things to unfold like fiction.
- Believing that in an ideal relationship, partners instinctively know everything about each other.
- Thinking that intimacy in the bedroom should be perfect, romantic and sensual without having to talk about what they like that they do not like.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see how this is not good. A person cannot solve all these things without being told. Don’t let movies and books tell you that the right person will always know what to say and do. This is not how this works!
Now that you know how this ideology weakens your relationship, here’s how to prevent it.
1. Challenge common representations of love
It is easy to develop idealized views of love because the most common representations are too positive. Challenge them and apply critical thinking to what you see before assuming that everything is precisely what it seems. For example:
- When viewing a fictional relationship, look at aspects of it that are toxic behaviors disguised as romance.
- Be more critical of the partner-related content you consume on social media and ask yourself if what’s being presented is really realistic or healthy.
- Keep in mind that most people will only want to introduce the best parts of their relationship first, so a partner who always seems happy has its ups and downs, just like you.
2. Be prepared to work hard
One of the most important flaws of idealized love is that, for whatever reason, it assumes that things are effortlessly inherently perfect. Understanding that everything relationships are hard work it can help eliminate that unhealthy expectation.
In fact, relationships shouldn’t be so complicated that you rip your hair out in frustration every day. But it’s also not that easy for things to fit naturally effortlessly. Both parties must make the same effort to maintain a positive dynamic.
Think about it: you’re dating a completely different human being, with all kinds of quirks, flaws, and motivations. You are sharing your life with that person! That is not something that is never going to be extremely easy, even if it is not painfully difficult! So keep that positive thinking and expect to work hard to keep your association alive and healthy.
3. Respect your partner
Without respect, a relationship cannot survive. It is such a fundamental part of relationships that without it, there is no point in dating. People often say that someone should earn respect, but both of you should respect each other when you decide to commit to someone. Here are some reasons why this is important to prevent idealized love:
- Understand that your partner is unique and deserving of their individualism and respect that so that you do not seek to change them or dictate their behavior.
- Know that mistakes and errors (within reason) are commonplace among any human being and respect your partner even when and after making these mistakes.
- Trust that your partner will manage himself, do his best in the relationship, and do his best; in other words, respect them enough to give them the benefit of the doubt first.
- Staying loyal emotionally and mentally, as well as just physically, respecting them enough to refrain from comparing them to other people you find desirable or attractive.
- Never try to change your partner’s deeply held ideals and beliefs unless you are comfortable with it and respect them enough to separate yourself from a relationship if you cannot handle your differences.
- Don’t resent your partner for their blemishes, but learn to understand and work with them and support them as they work to improve.
4. Don’t set any expectations up front
Idealization has to do with expectations. When you have so many of them, things will surely go wrong. So get used to not having expectations. Don’t expect good, bad, or neutral things. Instead, hope that reality may not be what you imagine.
Research indicates that expectations about relationships, even those created with positive thinking, can lower the quality of a partnership. This does not mean that you should not have standards. Of course, choose to date someone who meets your reasonable wishes in a relationship, such as “someone with a career,” “an honest person,” or “someone with similar political views.”
But don’t expect things. Your personal opinions are not going to coincide with those of any real human being, so let yourself be surprised by your partner rather than disappointed. If there is a problem, you can practice healthy communication to find understandings or compromises.
Idealization always paints a false image; It doesn’t matter what you are idealizing. So focus on preventing these irrational expectations and instead build a healthy and powerful relationship that is based on truth, good values, real life, and genuine love!