Much has been written about how relationships and the idea of love has evolved since the Internet happened and how our romantic choices are less bound by concerns such as geography and limited means of communication. And yet, the template for what a successful relationship looks and feels like hasn't changed all that much. Hackneyed phrases roll off our tongues as advice, every time someone asks us for some perspective on relationships. But if we take a step back and listen to ourselves, most of this 'advice' doesn't make sense, and could lead to greater misery for the parties involved. Here are 15 pearls of relationship wisdom you should absolutely ignore the next time you hear them.
1. You'll definitely find someone
No one ever wants to be the one to say, "Listen, maybe it's just not meant to happen for you." We'd curse the poor sod who would dare to think these words out loud, so we go about life believing we're entitled to someone's love. So here's the awful truth — there is a chance you may never find someone. And while that might make you sad, it's going to be okay. Build a life that is meaningful and makes you happy independent of who might (or might not) join you along the way. There are worse things in life than being by yourself.
2. You find love when you stop looking
That's like saying, you'll lose weight when you stop working out. While finding love can't be the only thing you do with your life, for no other reason than the fact that it would be a very droll existence, if love is something you want in your life, by all means keep looking for it.
3. When you meet The One, you will know
Unless you're an extra in Dil Toh Pagal Hai, nope, its not going to happen. Love doesn't gambol into one's life with a catchy whistle as the background score. Real life, and love, is made up of paralysing doubts, second-guessing, finding out intolerably gross things about each other and finding out that you'd still rather be with this person than anyone else.
4. When it's true love, you don't have to make an effort
Nothing, absolutely nothing in the world is effortless. How on earth can being with a whole new person, accepting the odd things they think and say, the gazillion ways in which they will upset and annoy you, and trusting someone not to hurt you but forgiving them when they do, be effortless. Falling in love might be easy, but staying in it requires a lot of effort.
5. Your partner should be your best friend
Your parents are your parents, your siblings are your siblings, your partner is your partner and your best friend is your best friend. A healthy relationship doesn't require the superficial validation that comes from replacing every important relationship in your life with your partner. You're belittling your best friend by saying this. Don't.
6. You should share the same values and beliefs
This is a tricky one. While your partner's moral compass should point in roughly the same direction as your own while making major life decisions, relationships are infinitely more interesting when you and your partner also have some stark differences in the way you navigate the world and you're both constantly learning and evolving with each other.
7. They will understand you better than anyone else
Not all the time, not always, and certainly not without effort. Your significant other will find spectacular ways to misunderstand you and it will drive you up the wall.
8. Love makes you a better person
Sometimes, people fall in love with nasty, toxic people that turn them into horrid versions of themselves. That's okay. Sooner or later, you wake up from your moral amnesia and realise you're awful. Hopefully, you shove humble pie and walk your life back. But no, love doesn't always make you a better person
9. There's something wrong with you if you're not in a serious relationship
The loneliest, most dejected people I know are the ones who are stuck in bad relationships and can't seem to find their way out. It's okay to take your time and it's awesome to have standards you refuse to compromise on.
10. Don't go to bed angry
If you want to go to bed, go to bed. There are people who need to have at it before they hit the sack and those that need a time-out from a fight so they can examine their feelings without blurting hurtful things in the heat of the moment. Neither way is better than the other.
11. Online dating is not the real deal
One of the most delightful couples I know met on OkCupid. She went on the date because she'd never done it in a van and he lived in one. Less than 6 months later, he followed her halfway across the world when she moved for work. Another, madly in love couple I know met on Tinder. A third equally happy and unmarried twosome I know met on shaadi.com almost five years ago. There is no rulebook or formula for success anymore for dating and love.
12. Don't "act" desperate
Never mind the "act" part, don't "be" desperate for someone's love. Desperation usually stems from insecurity that you're not good enough for someone and the validation you seek by converting them. If someone is not interested in you, it doesn't diminish you in any way. Chemistry is a weird, inexplicable thing, accept it.
13. Your friends will "understand"
If you keep jilting your friends to spend time with your partner, you're soon going to find yourself mostly friendless. The first flush of love is great, and most close friends will give you a long rope, but don't abuse their indulgence.
14. You're shallow for judging your partner for their looks
Maybe. But at least you're self-aware, which is so much better than being shallow and clueless.
15. It's their loss
Is it, always? Sometimes, we kick a gift horse in the mouth because we're so immersed in our own perceived awesomeness. Even though it is regrettable that we miss out on great people for stupid reasons that seemed so important at the time, it's important to at least learn from those mistakes instead of dismissing them as "their loss".