The Myth of Romantic Love

To serve as effectively as it does to trap us into marriage, the experience of falling in love probably must have as one of its characteristics the illusion that the experience will last forever.

This illusion is fostered in our culture by the commonly held myth of romantic love, which has its origins in our favorite childhood fairy tales, wherein the prince and princess, once united, live happily forever after. The myth of romantic love tell us, in effect, that for every young man in the world there is a young woman who was “meant for him” and vise versa.

Should it come to pass, however, that we do not satisfy or meet all of each other’s needs and friction arises and we fall out of love, then it is clear that a dreadful mistake was make, we misread the stars, we did not hook up with our one and only perfect match, what we thought was love was not real or “true” love, and nothing can be done about the situation except to live unhappily ever after or get divorced.

The myth of romantic love is a dreadful lie.

Millions of people waste vast amounts of energy desperately and futilely attempting to make the reality of their lives conform to the unreality of the myth.

Ultimately, if they stay in therapy, all couples learn that a true acceptance of their own and each other’s individuality and separateness is the only foundation upon which a mature marriage can be based and real love can grow.

M Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled