Idealized love versus the real deal

Relationships can suffer for the hopeless romantics who view love as a fairytale.

As a little girl, senior Kiara Lancaster believed in the relationships portrayed by the likes of Disney. Before the Harrison Township native learned being in a relationship was a collaborative effort and was split 50-50, she thought her Prince Charming was going to do the work while she could sit back and relax.

“When I was younger at least, I had this whole huge fairytale (idea) that some guy was going to sweep me off my feet, and you wouldn’t have to do any work,” Lancester said.

Human Environmental Studies Professor Edgar Long said American culture is fascinated with the idea of marriage and love and that fairytales have a role in alternating how people — specifically females — view love.

“I wouldn’t say they damage relationships, but they shape people’s perspectives of what they can expect in a relationship: what love is, what love is not,” Long said.

Senior Allison Pavloff said she thinks fairytales don’t damage relationships. Though, the love ideal has its pros and cons.

“I think it gives, at least women, a sense of hope that not everyone’s going to be alone for the rest of their lives,” the Rochester Hills said. “But, at the same time, I think that leaves men to live up to a certain expectation like Prince Charming did, so I feel it kind of goes both ways.”

Long said there are other things in the culture that can impact the way people view relationships more negatively than fairytales in shows such as "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" because of how unrealistically they can portray love.

“Relationships take work and in those kind of situations, you don’t see any of that all,” Long said.

Freshman Chase Edwards thinks it’s nice for women to have the goal of achieving that happily-ever-after fairytale ending. However, the Flint native said women need to learn how to let it go as they get older and realize every man is not going to be Prince Charming.

“She wants you to be all kinds of stuff at the same time, like that prince,” Edwards said. “They’re noble. They’re chivalrous. They’re always kind. They’re always polite ... Human beings are not like this all the time. We’re not always going to want to be polite.”

Lancaster said people realize what is real and what is a fairytale when they get into serious relationships. She said that doesn’t mean the relationship still can’t have a happily ever after ending.

“Love isn’t lost, it’s just love is not a fairytale,” Lancaster said. “You can have your happily ever after, but you’re not going to have it if you hold on to unrealistic expectations.”

Long said it will take work in order for relationships to span over a long period of time. Instead of there being a hero and damsel in distress, he said relationships require a companion type of marriage where the partners work together and learn to love the person more as time passes.

“We have these fictitious influences that impact our thoughts about love and relationships and all those kinds of things," Long said. "But, in the end, just like in any part of the world, you have to learn to love that person"


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