Romanticism emerged around 1750 and influenced countless artists and intellectuals who quickly began spreading their ideas worldwide.
Ideas such as how our relationships should last forever, how we should all find our soul mate, and how our partner should complete us and make us happy until death tears us apart. Eventually, those ideas soon turned into deep-seated societal beliefs that influenced many people to adopt a brand new worldview.
Unfortunately, this worldview was, despite feeling hopeful and cheerful, pretty fucked up. It gave people a false perception of what relationships should be like and many unrealistic expectations surrounding them.
Relationships formed on Romanticism-inspired beliefs were often riddled with drama and often ended as quickly as they began. And thus, most people never got into a lasting relationship because of them. Instead, they just kept hopping from heartbreak to heartbreak.
What are some of these beliefs? Well, here’s a list of six I consider most destructive and widespread:
- The belief that the same obsessive love a couple feels for the first few months of their relationship should chug along indefinitely.
- The belief that love should come first — before respect, trust, empathy, and the values that actually matter.
- The belief that heartbreak should be countered with reconciliation, no matter what.
- The belief that sex should never become dull or repetitive.
- The belief in soulmates — a partner who meets all of their needs, loves them in all the right ways, ends all their suffering, and stays with them forever.
- The belief that we should always let our feelings and intuition lead our decisions.
The goal of this article is to help you begin to question these six basic beliefs about love and relationships. Then, ideally, that ability to self-question will extend to other beliefs you hold, and that limit your growth in some way, as well.
Here’s the bitter reality about each belief on our list:
The Honeymoon love won’t last for more than a year or two at most. Your relationship will get less exciting over time, and that’s okay. The lack of newness will pave the way for meaning and a deep-seated friendship to seep it. And that’s one tradeoff that’s always worth going for, for it enriches your life far beyond simple excitement and happiness.
Making love your highest value will enable you to attract and stay in toxic relationships. In the name of love, you’ll stay with a serial cheater, try to make things work with someone incompatible, or end up in a relationship with someone who doesn’t treat you right.
You probably shouldn’t try to get back with your ex. Breakups are a sign of incompatibility. It’s much easier and way more fulfilling if you simply chalk your breakup to experience and move on with your life. Find someone new — someone with who you won’t share a shit ton of emotional baggage with.
Sex becomes duller over time. You will not always be in the mood for it. You will not always enjoy it. And while experimentation does help, it never makes it the same as at the start of your relationship. And all of this is okay. My best advice? Treat sex like a hobby and don’t tie your self-worth to it as many people do. They believe that the more they fuck, the better they are as partners and human beings. Real life doesn’t work that way.
There are no soulmates. And believing that there is one out there for you only hinders your love life. It makes you adopt unnaturally highs standards for those you date. It makes you inflexible and unaccepting of potential partners. It makes you form unrealistic expectations around your relationships. It makes you chase after an ex who is not a good fit in the slightest. And even if, by some miracle, you do meet a 10/10, a perfect partner, a so-called soulmate, know this: people change, and someone who is an ideal fit for you now may not be an ideal fit for you ten years later.
Your feelings are not your truth. If something feels right it doesn’t mean it is right. Likewise, if something feels wrong it doesn’t necessarily mean it is wrong. Feelings are not facts nor some higher commandments from God or The Universe. They are only biological reactions, nudging you to act in some way. For, example, even though you feel like you should get your ex back, it doesn’t necessarily mean you should try to get them back.
Romanticism-inspired beliefs are difficult to pinpoint because they are widespread and deeply integrated into certain parts of our culture. In fact, for the most part, they are considered capital T-truth. Therefore becoming aware of them is important like never before. However, know that in and of itself, that is still not enough. You also have to learn how to overcome them once you notice yourself fostering them.
How To Overcome Limiting Beliefs
First things first: beliefs are not facts. They are made-up perceptions of what we think is right/wrong or true/false. Below, I’ve outline three steps you can implement in your day-to-day life that will help you surmount most of your limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering and realistic ones.
1. Consider if your limiting belief helps you or not
To find this out, ask yourself, “What good am I getting from this belief? Is this piece of information holding me back from achieving my goals or not? Is it pushing me forward or backward? Is it hindering my recovery or speeding it up? Is it improving my relationships, or is it sabotaging them?”
By asking these questions, you’re not labeling your limiting belief as true or false but simply exploring if the overall idea of them serves you. When it comes to our Romanticism-inspired beliefs, it doesn’t; none of them serve you. With this understanding, you now have a good reason to dislodge and replace them with an empowering and realistic one.
2. Question the validity of your limiting belief
After you’ve grasped all the ways your limiting beliefs keep screwing you over, it’s time to find out if it’s actually true. To get to the bottom of this, you need to ask yourself even more questions.
These could be, “When did I first begin believing that obsessive love has to exist forever? Can I prove to myself that sex never gets dull? What instances and events prove to me that a soulmate is a real person I can actually attract — do I know any couples who committed to their soulmate in all instances of the word? What if I’m wrong about my ex, what if I should just let them go?
While asking yourself these things, carefully observe your childhood events and your response to your breakup, for that’s the source of most limiting beliefs. Also, write down your findings — I’ve noticed it produces better results than merely thinking about them.
When you thoroughly examine and question a particular limiting belief, you’ll often realize that it is only a mirage — a false or semi-false generalization formed of past experiences. When you realize this, all that’s left is to dislodge the bad belief and adopt a new and better one that takes its place.
3. Dislodge and replace the limiting Belief
To dislodge a limiting belief, you need to conclude that it’s harmful and false and decide to drop it. Then you need to keep deciding not to take it back. Obviously, this is easier said than done. We often need to put strenuous effort into changing our beliefs because they feel, especially those we cultivated early on, as a part of our identity. In fact, one could argue, they very well are a part of our identity.
Now, when it comes to adopting a new belief to fill in the hole where the old used to sit, the most important thing to do is collect evidence to support it. Understand that your new belief is frail at the start. This is because you have little to no evidence proving it’s legit. Therefore, you need to start accumulating as many pieces of evidence that will prove to your brain that this new belief you’ve adopted is legitimate.
Generally speaking, the more new references you acquire for your new belief, the stronger it will become. Soon, it will even become your new reality.
Ultimately, changing limiting beliefs, especially the pesky Romanticism-inspired ones, is hard work. It requires grit, dedication, and time. However, it is possible, and it is worth it. I mean, it’s either overcoming them or risking perpetual heartbreak and chains of unfulfilling relationships.
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