Reality Check: What To Do When The Love Of Your Life Isn’t For You
The thing about people being raised on fairytales is that we all end up with a certain idea of romance. Romantic comedies, full-on dramatic love story movies and even the ever-popular soap operas serve to propagate the idea of finding your “one true love” and sticking till death do you part. It’s just you and that person against the world, against all odds. And while that’s a nice thought and it has certainly proven itself to pan out, it’s not always the case. We don’t always end up with our “one true love.”
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We’ve seen it in pop culture tropes. Person A meets person B, for some reason beyond human understanding, they fall in love. They share fun, pleasurable, intoxicating, and sometimes even obsessive and deeply meaningful experiences that convince them that they’ve found THE ONE. This is it. They’ve found the person they’re destined to share their happily ever after with. Cue fireworks.
But, alas. As romantic and wonderful as it is to hang on to the idea that we are all destined to find our “twin flame” or that someone out there was made especially for us (as we were for them), it’s also not grounded in reality.
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On the contrary, finding this person is not the job of destiny. And it certainly doesn’t guarantee sunshine, rainbows, fireworks, and perfection. That’s purely fantasy, and as we all know, living in fantasies can be pretty unhealthy. And when the toxicity outweighs the lovey-dovey butterflies, then it is usually better to let go no matter how painful it may be.
This isn’t to completely shut the idea down. It’s just a reality check. A dose of truth about something so beautifully flighty. There are definitely cases wherein the best, healthiest, most brave act of love one can do with the love of one’s life is to give them up and admit that it’s not going to work. In fact, that in itself is a luxury—others are simply ripped apart by time, space, even economics and family situations with no chance of saying goodbye. For some, closure with each other is just not possible.
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In the long run, what are you supposed to do when you don’t end up with your “soulmate?" Cry. Get Mad. Wallow. Grieve for “The One That Got Away.” These are all part of the process. But at the end of it all, gratitude is always the best attitude when it comes to these things. Feeling hurt is valid, but also, once the pain has subsided, take the opportunity to appreciate your partner and whatever experience you had with them. Appreciate what they brought to your life, appreciate how incredible they were to you and vice versa, appreciate how good they made you feel. Appreciate the fireworks, the good and the bad. And then pull back. Walk away. Let go.
Perhaps the currently viral “KonMari method” is a good way to shape it; dig deep to see if it’s truly sparking joy. If it is, wonderful! Keep the memories, be grateful that they happened. If not, thank it still and whatever deity you believe in. Then let go of them, keeping only the feeling of gratitude that you’ve experienced love in all its splendour.
OUR LOVE & SEX EXPERT
Rica Cruz-Evangelista is a Licensed Psychologist with the Ateneo Bulatao Center for Psychology Services, and a faculty member at the Ateneo de Manila University. She trained in sex therapy and counseling at the University of Guelph.
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