Dating Clichés That Hold Little Truth
Like the lovesick millennial that I am, I’m a sucker for rom-coms. During every Notebook-esque movie, I imagine that I’m the main female character leaping into the arms of a husky male lead — preferably Ryan Gosling or A Star is Born’s Bradley Cooper — in the pouring rain. Because rain makes everything sexier. And that’s a fact.
Other times I imagine it’s a missed connection via public transportation or a rekindling of sorts years later at a swanky bar in London. All of these scenarios are one in a million and so are the storylines that accompany them. Pop culture has led us to believe that if we’re not swept off our feet or if we didn’t fight till our deaths like Romeo and Juliet, he/she is not the one. The sequence of tropes that follow these tearjerker films, in which two people fall in or out of love, hold little truth. You’ve heard them before and you’ll hear them again: best friends fall madly in love with each other, nerdy guy ends up with popular girl, forbidden relationships ensue, and the archetypal pairings go on and on. For more applicable relationship platitudes that don’t always reveal the most tell-all truths and may bolster your faith in opposing status quo coupledom, feast your eyes on these cliches below that are sure to spark an eye roll or two.
Sure, there may be some truth to this. There’s always a little truth beneath every lie, after all. Grease’s Danny was a slick well-known jock while Sandy was a low-key undiscovered babe. They go together like “rama lama lama ka dinga da dinga dong” (whatever that means). Or, Bella Swan and Edward Cullen — a vampire who falls in love with a small town girl and the rest is (eternal) history. But what these two opposite couples have in common is that both women conform to their counterparts’ lifestyle. Sandy becomes more popular (granted, by way of Danny) and Bella Swan goes so far to fit into the Cullen Clan that she sheds her body of human mortality and becomes a vampire. So yes, there are opposites that attract one another but at the end of the day, there needs to be some commonality for a relationship to work. There’s a reason why vampires don’t date humans unless they become vampires, too.
Astutely different physical characteristics or personality traits like an introvert dating an extrovert (um hello Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal) are what people mean when they say ‘opposites.’
But IMHO both people (or bloodsuckers) should share the same values in some capacity and share similar visions for their future. That being said, if you end up with the same Myers-Briggs test results as your significant other, it doesn’t mean you’re incompatible. You can officially sigh with relief.
Want to Find Your Other Half? Be Whole First
All my single ladies, raise your hand if you’ve heard this saying a bajillion times. How do you explain, then, someone who is whole and still hasn’t found their other half? Most people will try to find the one thing they haven’t done yet, and blame it for their singledom. Truth be told, being the best version of yourself isn’t the most accurate indicator for when you’ll meet the one. Rachel Abramson, a mother of two, says that she was not ready to get married, let alone have a child — both of which she did before she was a so-called ‘whole person.’
“We tend to believe in the black-and white-message of ‘you’re ready’ or ‘you’re not’ when it comes to significant life milestones, especially marriage. We want to come into our partnerships whole, fulfilled, and ready,” she said in a thinkpiece for The Cut.
Most people enter a relationship with the intention to grow with their S/O. If you’re truly complete with your personal growth, how can you learn from someone else? Perhaps what this cliche is really trying to say is to be happy with yourself alone before looking for someone else to make you happy. But even then, happiness doesn’t guarantee finding a partner! You may want to think about that the next time you’re waiting by the phone wishing he/she would call just because you’re fulfilled and ready. Sometimes love comes when you least expect it: When you’re grieving, when you just ended a toxic relationship, or, perhaps, when you’re just minding your own business and trying to “fulfill yourself.”
When You Know, You Know
I think we’ve collectively come to the conclusion that love at first sight is, most likely, total B.S. According to a 2017 Netherlands study by a researcher named Zsok and his colleagues, “love at first sight actually is experienced by people, but it’s not so much ‘love’ or ‘passion,’ Instead, it’s a strong pull or attraction that makes someone particularly open to the possibilities of a relationship.” And yet, by extension of this trope, people believe you should at the very least know that someone is ~the one~ pretty instantly. There is no room for “maybe” when it comes to who you’ll spend your life with, at least that’s what some will have you believe.
Some may say “when you know, you know,” or “I just knew,” or “we had an immediate connection.” These sentiments, while they may be true for some, deter others from pursuing someone after a handful of dates when they’re feeling ambivalent. Sometimes you need time to find your stride, and sometimes people aren’t their most authentic selves when the first date jitters set in. (I think we can all say that this is certainly true.) Michael Batshaw, a psychotherapist and author of 51 Things You Should Know Before Getting Engaged, confirms that expressing doubt is normal and even healthy in most cases. Conversely, it’s more unlikely to know if you love someone after one glance or one date.
Well there you have it, folks. Sleep well and remember that love is not a linear path — and it’s certainly not always how the movies portray it either.