7 things the media taught me to expect in love (and how they were wrong)


Photo by Suzy Yang


1. We don’t choose to love
Maybe this sounds cynical; maybe even cold, but when times get tough- you choose to continue to love your partner. There are certainly times in relationships when it would be easier to walk away; maybe even times when you should, but love lies in the choice you make to stay. Whilst we may not always feel in control of it, and often we aren’t entirely, waking up each day and choosing to love another person is one of the most rewarding things in life. It takes effort, and you should be proud of that.

2. Insatiable lust
In the words of the great Ed Sheeran; ‘I’m in love with your body’. Music videos and The Notebook had me expecting passionate makeout sessions in the rain and perpetually being unable to keep our hands off each other. That’s nice and all in the beginning, but as time goes on, there’s nothing wrong with grabbing an umbrella or opting for a cuddle. Love goes deeper than physical infatuation- and if it doesn’t, maybe it’s just lust.

3. ‘Love is blind’
I’m not one to bash The Bard, but Shakespeare was definitely wrong to say that love is blind. It’s one of the most iconic love quotes and many fantastic film and literary examples testify in its favour, but whilst image is far from the most important thing when it comes to finding true love, it’s hard to deny the importance of an initial attraction. Furthermore, I don’t want love to be blind! I want love to see me for who I am: my flaws and my assets, and love the whole picture.

4. It’s the most important thing in life
Possibly my least favourite lyric of all time goes to Lana Del Rey: ‘only worth living if somebody is loving you…’ What a bleak notion! ‘All you need is love’, sang The Beatles. The Christmas classic Love Actually is predicated on this very notion. Whilst it’s one of the most fantastic feelings in the world, it is entirely possible to be a complete, contented person without romantic love. In fact, I would argue that the most sustainable relationships arise between people who don’t need each other; whose lives don’t depend on the other’s love, but who have fulfilling and happy lives separately.

5. You can fall in love at first sight
Sorry, I just don’t buy this one. Romeo and Juliet, Marius and Cosette, Noah and Allie- the most enduring and passionate love stories often hinge on the idea of love at first sight. Maybe I just haven’t met the right person yet, but I can’t possibly imagine locking eyes with someone across the dancefloor in Klute and knowing that he is the man for me. How can we possibly know we love somebody before we’ve even spoken to them? Before we even know their name? Is there such thing as an immediate attraction? Yes. Is that love? No.

6. There’s one person out there for all of us
How many times have you heard in a film or read in a book the classic line ‘s/he’s the one!’ The notion that there’s one person out there for all of us is, frankly, absurd. I’m sure there’s thousands of people in this world I could fall in love with- maybe I’ll meet some of them, maybe I’ll love an even smaller number of them, but the notion of a cosmic destiny which brings two people together can’t possibly make sense, no matter how romantic.

7. Teenage sweethearts
Many songs and films are dedicated to first loves in those formative teenage years. Films such a Grease, Twilight and one of my all-time faves High School Musical had me expecting a sweetheart as soon as puberty kicked in. This wasn’t entirely the reality for me, and it isn’t for a lot of people. In fact, many people enter university having never had a relationship or teenage love. Maybe they just hadn’t met the right person, or maybe they were too focused on getting good grades or extra-curricular activities. I mean, where on earth did Gabriella find the time to get into Stanford alongside her busy romantic schedule anyway?

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