Romance as it’s portrayed in movies has set some of us up for massive failure. The dream of what could be or what you so desperately want — your long-time crush finally loving you back, an ex realizing the mistake he made when he let you get away, or the one you shakily have will suddenly man up and do better — will probably never be a reality. And yet, that doesn’t stop us from holding onto it. Here’s why false hope is the worst thing you can have.
- It stings worse with time. You can imagine the most perfect Prince Charming in your mind, but if he isn’t that in real life, you’re going to find out one way or another at some point. Chances are, the deeper you’re in the situation and the longer you’ve let things go on while floating by in denial, the worse your waking up to reality will be. Being more patient and committing yourself to the “ride or die” mentality usually is just digging a hole deeper for your inevitable pain to be buried in.
- You have to break twice. You can partially blame him for whatever he wasn’t all cracked up to be, but you also have to be mad at yourself for wearing the rose-colored glasses so long and being Ray Charles to the red flags. So when it’s all said and done, not only did he hurt you through whatever had to be done for you to finally come to the light, but you also have to detach from the part of yourself that clung to what you wanted him to really be. That also comes with accepting that your intuition may be a little flawed- which is an ego bruiser, for sure.
- It can be anti-climatic. Let’s say your wildest dream and fantasy actually does come true. Maybe that horrible ex that literally no one liked at all comes running back to your doorstep begging for another chance. Well, sorry to say, but getting what you want doesn’t always mean it’s going to end up like how you thought it’d be. So you get the brief momentary win of having that one moment you mentally conjured up come to pass…then what? Chances are what happens after can be a total dud. You are swiftly reminded in 48 hours or less why you broke things off with your ex in the first place, your long-time crush turns out to be a whole weirdo with major turn-offs, or you find out your man got his act together to hide that he cheated on you. Happily ever after may only be happy ever for now (after to be determined and the forecast doesn’t look good).
- It’s bad for your esteem. Waiting around for what could be, but isn’t, reflects negatively on your sense of self-worth. Do you think you deserve a project guy who is uncertain of how he feels about you today or someone who already has their act together who actively states their intention to be with you with no hesitation? It’s okay to believe you deserve the best and it will happen for you.
- You lower your standards. While you’re in limbo with Mr. Maybe, you might be letting things slip that should be dealbreakers for you. You might decide that what you think could come to pass is worth whatever you’re letting slide at the moment. Holding onto hope at all costs is noble in certain scenarios, but with relationships, it’s usually not the greatest move.
- You become more obsessed with destination happiness than focusing on what is. It can truly be addicting to fixate on how you will feel when x, y, or z comes to pass. For example, when he gets that job/promotion and is making more money we won’t have the same problems we’re having now and it will all be better. Or, once he puts a ring on my finger and is truly committed to me then we’ll be okay. Problems don’t just magically go away- just like you can’t expect him to *poof* start meeting your expectations out of nowhere. You have to assess where you are now and decide if that’s what you’re okay with as-is because tomorrow may or may not turn out as anticipated.
- Expectations lead to disappointment. You can’t change other people. You can’t make someone be who you want them to be or coerce them into wanting to do better or differently for you. Ultimately, people are in charge of themselves and will motivate themselves for better or worse. It’s best to not be attached to what you want for or with someone if that’s not what you’re concretely seeing or getting right now.