Many of our false beliefs about relationships actually come from how we have been wounded inside growing up. In the most crucial stages of our growth, say in adolescence when we were learning how to have a strong sense of self, if there were rules and scripts that were repeated around you contrary to that message you may pick up on these and take them to heart.
Let’s take for example the huge debate about the series of novels by Stephenie Meyer called “The Twilight Saga.” The story is simple enough. Girl meets boy, only he is a vampire. They fall in love. Girl loses boy. Girl regains love. They live happily ever after- eternally.
It doesn’t matter if you haven’t read the books. I would just like to share with you that the target audience of these books are young teenage girls, perhaps from 12-18. Some critics say these books are disturbing. For such an impressionable target audience, the story promotes a never-ending love discovered by the protagonists at 17 years of age.
The boy vampire is handsome, extremely charming, loving and is totally adoring of his human love. He practically does everything and anything for her, to keep her safe from himself and others like him, even if it means sacrificing her feelings when he leaves her for her own good. More than that, the story encourages the girl’s desire to be a vampire, to give up her humanity, for the boy she loves.
This criticism alone brings up some major issues, and validly so. Since teenage girls are so enamored with the novels, is it right that the message this story sends is that, well, somewhere out there is your prince, the one who will love you no matter what. It doesn’t matter if he is dangerous, as long as he adores you right?
Additionally, young girls may start thinking that even while you are young; you can give up everything for love. At 17? And not just giving up something minor – the message is that you relinquish life itself. I’ve met young girls who are so captivated by these ideas. I’m already worried how this will reflect on their future adult relationships.
Will they expect the same type of love as Twilight depicts? What happens when they discover that relationships are not exactly as they are written in books? In the same way that vampires are a myth, our beliefs about relationships take on the nature of myths.
Remember the ideas we held about love in high school? One glaring revelation of reality is that these beliefs are woefully inadequate and sometimes just plain deficient. Is love really blind? Is it truly unconditional? Are love and relationships governed by their own special mystique?
Myths can have a positive or a negative side to them. One negative: that people sometimes believe in them to the exclusion of new ideas. On a positive note, myths give people hope and a belief in a higher power. Another negative, belief in a myth can consume us, and when it is proven otherwise, our entire belief system shatters and we either lash out or we allow us to learn from it.
A relationship is a real world phenomenon. It is something that is happening in your own life but it happens with unpredictability – simply because there is another person involved. The important thing would be to take a look at what you believe about relationships that are contrary to what is really happening.
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