Love and Friendship

Why do we expect romantic love to remain intense forever?

Are we being systematically fed something that is not natural? Romantic love does not last forever in real life
Romance

Romance me forever! Huh??

Romantic love is notoriously precarious – obsessive, erratic, consuming, fleeting, exhilarating, depressing. Once requited, it can slip easily into boredom. It craves security and possession of the beloved, yet when this very craving finds fulfillment, the situation turns stifling!

In all other relationships (where romantic love is not at play) emotions and intensity are allowed to wax and wane, and though never comfortable or pleasant for the one at the receiving end, are accepted without much fuss and chaos. But in romantic love these phases are taken as aberrations. The other is crucified! A friend Pallavi Guptaa wrote, “Why does (love) have to be irrational and like a drug induced high…. all grand and emphasised through every action and thought… why can’t it be allowed to be a little passive… allowed to wane a bit at times…why can’t you just like someone you love sometimes without wanting to jump them and get into their heads…. without expecting them to fire you up every time without fail?”

Have you thought about this? Romance will fade because both time and success are its enemies.

Romance will fade

Related reading:7 little daily habits that kill romance in a relationship

The constant selling of romantic love!

Attraction between couples typically wanes after two years, yet television, movies and magazines actively encourage the notion that fading romance and boredom is a sign of a failed relationship. Mass media brainwashes us with unrealistic portrayals of romantic love, contributing to the construction of impossible expectations.

Mass media brainwashes us with unrealistic portrayals of romantic love, contributing to the construction of impossible expectations.

Glorification of romance as never-ending, glamorous and fulfilling is repeatedly reinforced via innumerable mediums. A lot of industries and businesses depend on it: the fashion industry, health and wellness, television shows, music, literature and, of course, Bollywood! A ubiquitous feature of Bollywood cinema is happy endings: concluding a film with the union of a romantic couple. Besides, they oversimplify the process of falling in love and revalidate its eternal ideal, forcing us to think that it could and should be achieved.

Deepak Kashyap, counselling psychologist and a certified life-skills trainer with a private practice in Mumbai said to me during an interview, “What ruins romance is when you try to convert it into a three-hour Bollywood movie. Any book, any movie, any web cast is time bound, and real life is long and boring. When you pack a life of three decades into a three-hour movie, you are expecting something different. And when your expectations are not fulfilled, you either attack yourself, others, or life.”

Unmet expectations
Representative Image source

Think about it,even the movie Titanic was about love – the ship sank later, the initial focus was love.

Related reading: Why Bollywood movies should end with “The Beginning” rather than “The End”

Social appearances are often deceptive

Social media – Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp, Instagram, et al. – with their ubiquitous posts and exchanges have massively propagated the myth of romantic love. What do not get posted are the affairs, the ugly fights, the dinners without having exchanged any words, and other deeper and everyday issues. I have always felt that what we see on social media is mostly half-truths.

Dr. Rajan Bhonsle, Sexologist and Counsellor, says, “So-called happy marriages are not really that happy. They look good on FB. They appear happy in parties and you think they are happy.”

“They appear happy in parties and you think they are happy.”

“I live in an elite area, Cuffe Parade in Mumbai. Most of the couples in my area have come to me, socially, as neighbours or with their issues. On the outside they appear great but without a single exception all of them have serious issues. Well, we hide it because everyone need not know. Just like when you have an illness you do not go about telling it to others but consult a doctor. So they come to me. For a long time I would think, ‘They seemed so good together’. I see a totally different side. But to others they still seem perfect. I always tell my clients, don’t be fooled by others’ projections of their perfect married life. Everyone has issues, they are just good at hiding them!”

Real relationships have ebb and flow

Another therapist, Salony Priya, based in Calcutta, specialising in marital therapy, said, “I can say with some experience that the ‘happy-in-front-of-others’ couples form the majority in our society. On the face you will not suspect a thing. They go to clubs, parties, lunches and dinners, host beautiful evenings, and have impeccable manners with the guests and each other. You would say, “what a nice happy couple’. But in reality their husband-and-wife relationship has been over for years. Many even sleep in separate bedrooms.”

love - friendship

There is a real mettle to the relationship that has survived decades. It is in small and big compromises that the couple makes day in and day out. In the letting go and holding on. It is in standing strong when the other is enfeebled – and often switching places. And certainly there is no cause for public display of marital issues! It is our own foolishness that we get swayed by the single-sided images people generally project.

As the wise George Bernard Shaw said, there are two tragedies in life. One is to lose your heart’s desire, the other is to gain it.

You swore you’ll always be crazy about me, but you have changed!

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