How To Be A Realist In Love Without Giving Up Your Romanticism

We all dream of that storybook romance with a happily ever after, but more often than not, relationships in the real world are anything but magical. It’s never fun to have your childhood dream crushed by some inconsiderate jerk who thinks nothing of breaking your heart and moving on to the next victim, but you shouldn’t let that make you jaded about love. There are certain steps you can take to make sure that you’re a realist about love while still holding strong to your romanticism.

  1. Figure out exactly what you want. Oftentimes, we know that we want to fall in love and we know that we want to have a beautiful storybook romance but we don’t consider the actual details of who that person is and what that situation looks like. Before you jump into a relationship with the first person that comes along, take time to decide what it is that you want and what your idea of a happily ever after looks like. Once you’ve got the idea of that partner in your head, then you’ll have better judgment when you’re out there in the dating world and it’ll be much easier to be a realist about love.
  2. Keep your standards high but not impossible to meet. It’s good to have high standards because you deserve the best, however, you have to remember that everyone you date is just a human being like you and they’ve got flaws and imperfections. You wouldn’t want a potential partner to expect you to be perfect and never make mistakes so, it isn’t fair to put those expectations on someone else. Have standards, for sure, but also make sure that you’re being realistic in what you expect from others.
  3. Make sure you’re ready for love. Don’t rush into the hunt for the perfect partner before you’ve got yourself figured out. I know that you want to fall in love but sometimes we have to work on ourselves before we’re ready to meet that special person. Make sure that you’re happy with yourself inside and out. If you’re struggling with self-love and acceptance, take time to learn about yourself and do the things that make you feel happy so that you can truly be happy in your own skin. Once you’re happy with yourself, you’ll be ready to find your prince or princess charming.
  4. Stop replaying the past. What’s done is done and we can’t go back and change the past so reliving it over and over won’t do you any good. If you had a relationship in the past that you thought was going to become your happily ever after and didn’t end up working out, don’t feel discouraged. It just wasn’t meant to be. The worst thing you can do is hold on to that relationship that is long gone and drag it around into all of your future relationships. All that will do is hold you back.
  5. Understand + Accept that no one’s perfect. The movies and storybooks paint the love interest out to be this perfect person who can do no wrong but unfortunately, real life isn’t that perfect. People are human and they mess up and there are parts of their lives that aren’t flawless, but that’s okay! You’d want your person to accept you for who you are without the pressure of being perfect so, you have to extend that same courtesy to them.
  6. Don’t compare them to anyone else. Comparing your person to someone else is probably one of the worst things you can do for your relationship. All it’s going to do is put unrealistic and unfair expectations that your partner might not be able to meet. Everyone’s relationship is different and everyone’s partner is different. Love your person for who they are and the best qualities in them will shine through. Not only that, but they’ll look more and more like that fairytale hero you’ve been dreaming of.
  7. Be open to compromise. In fairytales, everything just works out perfectly for the in-love couple, but real life doesn’t typically work that way. Real life and love require compromise. You can’t have everything exactly how you want it 100% of the time. It’s great if you can find a partner who agrees with you on most things but there’s bound to be a moment where the two of you don’t see eye-to-eye. Relationships are about give and take, and as a realist about love, you have to be willing to be flexible about certain things in order to make both you and your partner happy, as long as they’re not very concrete ideals that are non-negotiable.
  8. Talk about the future. It’s important that you discuss the future with your partner. Learn about where they see themselves ending up, what their goals are, and their plans. Picture their dreams for the future next to the ones you have for yourself, then you’ll be able to determine if your goals align with one another and if you can see a long-term future for the two of you.
  9. Support each other’s dreams. It’s important that both of you are supportive of each other’s dreams. Part of knowing that you’re with the right person for you is knowing that your and their dreams may not be the same but they fit together well and that the two of you can be genuinely supportive of one another. There are going to be a lot of problems in your relationship if one or both of you can’t get behind the goals and dreams of one another.
  10. Understand what REAL ‘Happily Ever After’ looks like. Movies and fairytales make it look so easy. Boy meets girl and they live happily ever after, but real life isn’t as simple as that. Stories also paint an unrealistic and superficial picture of what TRUE happily ever after looks like. The real perfect, fairytale ending is when two people find each other and they just get each other. It’s two people choosing to love each other every day and working together to create a beautiful life that they both love. When you achieve that, that’s when you know you have the real fairytale ending. If you understand this, you can happily say you’re a realist about love and still a hopeless romantic at heart.
Shelby is a journalist and fiction writer raised in the South but built for the big city. She's a book nerd (well, an overall nerd, honestly) and coffee addict and obsessed with all things leather and lacy.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Sam Houston State University and worked for her university newspaper, The Houstonian, as well as serving as a producer and part-time entertainment anchor for Cable 7 Huntsville. You can follow her on Twitter @shelby777.