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5 Common Misconceptions About Love


When I was younger, I couldn’t wait to fall in love. I vividly remember getting frozen yogurt with a group of girl friends when we were in middle school and one of my friends saying, “Guys, how excited are you to fall in love?” The rest of us couldn’t help but giggle at the silliness of her statement…but we all felt an undeniable rush of excitement over the prospect, and nodded in agreement.

I didn’t fall in love until many years later, when I was a junior in college. I had some false alarms before that, but it’s only when you experience the real deal that you are able to recognize how far off the mark everything else was.

I loved him with all my heart, with every fiber of my being…and let me tell you, it was nothing like the movies. While he loved me very much, there were too many other variables that stood in our way and the relationship was always strained and on the brink of implosion. We had maybe a month of being drunk on love…and then almost a year of pain and problems. I didn’t understand, this isn’t how it’s supposed to be.  The challenges and differences aren’t supposed to matter…it’s supposed to all just work itself out and then you make promises of forever and you keep them and of course, a happily ever after is the expected and rightful reward for making it through the storm.

The last thing in the world I ever anticipated was for my one true love so abruptly fall out of love with me…and in love with someone else. It left me broken,  jaded, and utterly confused. Was it not really love? It sure felt like it, but true love is supposed to last forever, isn’t it?

I’d say just about every person on the planet  is seeking, or trying to maintain, lasting love. The problem is most of us have longstanding, firmly ingrained, highly unrealistic ideas of what love is supposed to be, and feel frustrated when reality falls short.

No one would deny that love is a beautiful, transformative experience, but at the same time, it’s important to have a realistic understanding of what it actually is. Here are the top five biggest misconceptions about love:

1. It’s Supposed to Be Difficult
love-misconceptions-1The predominant depiction of love in movies and on TV is that it’s supposed to be a challenge, something you fight for at all costs and don’t ever give up on. While this certainly makes for good entertainment, it’s not a realistic portrayal of love.

Relationships do take work, but falling in love (in a healthy way) is a relatively effortless process. It’s not filled with hours of analyzing what he meant when he said XYZ…or feeling a sense of impending doom at all times…or making these grand sacrifices and compromising who you are for the sake of the one you love. Who can forget the final scene in “Grease” when Sandy ditches the poodle skirt and sweater set for second-skin black leggings, an edgy bomber jacket, and a cigarette between her lips while Danny literally falls at her feet, overcome by pure lust and a need to have her right there in the carnival fun-house.

This is not what love looks like! When someone truly loves you, you will not have to mold yourself in order to fit with them, the pieces will naturally click.

MORE: How to Find Love

The drama so often associated with love usually only applies to unhealthy relationships, ones that result from infatuation, obsession, or unrealistic expectations, rather than a genuine connection. A healthy, loving relationship is one where two people can be their authentic selves and look at what they can give to the relationship, rather than what they can get from it. Both people complement each other and are able to give what the other needs, and happily receive what their partner has to give. You should never have to fight for someone’s love, or plot ways to make someone love you.  When it’s real and genuine, it will flow easily and effortlessly.

2. Love Conquers All
love-misconceptions-2From music to movies to literature, everywhere you turn in mainstream media you hear love is all you need, love conquers all, love lifts us up where we belong, and I could go on and on. Love is for sure a beautiful thing. Love is also necessary in order for a relationship to last, but it’s not enough. Sometimes two people just don’t fit, it’s unfortunate, but it’s just a fact.

The reason most people are so jaded is they stay in relationships that aren’t working for way too long. They try to be what the other person needs, they try to make it work by any means necessary, they try with all their might and wind up broken and defeated. You simply cannot shove a square peg into a round hole. It doesn’t matter how many ways you try, you will never be able to make it fit.

There’s this idea that if you love someone enough, you’re it will just work out. But sometimes it doesn’t. It doesn’t mean your love wasn’t real, it just means that there were other factors at play and as a result, it just couldn’t work long-term.

While love is very powerful and capable of conquering some things, it isn’t always strong enough to conquer others, like different backgrounds, values, goals, visions for the future for example. Most of all, love simply cannot conquer incompatibility.

3. Only True Love Lasts
love-misconceptions-3Picking up from where I left off in number two, an important truth to realize is not all love if meant to last, sometimes it’s just part of the journey. Loving someone does not mean they are the right person for you. It doesn’t guarantee you a happily ever after. More often than love leading to marriage, love leads to heartbreak…and the heartbreak can lead to growth..and this growth can lead to another love, one that can lead to a lasting marriage.

I have loved several wrong people in my life. While some of those experiences left me with a lot of shattered pieces to put back together, time has shown that none of those guys were right for me. It doesn’t mean the love we shared was flawed or not enough, it just means that we weren’t right for each other.

The sad fact is most relationships end with bitterness and hate. One or both people leave the relationship thinking they were owed something, and they blame the other for not following through on this unwritten promise. If we could all just realize that love does not guarantee a happy ending, we would be able to move forward much more easily, and would be able to start a new relationship with an open heart, rather than one shrouded by pain and disappointment.

4. You “Just Know” When It’s Right
love-misconceptions-4One of the biggest misconceptions about love is that you “just know” when you find the “right one.” The mentality frees you of all responsibility in your love life… you don’t need to work on yourself or prepare for love, just go about your business and someday the right one will drop into your life and you’ll just know.

In order to fall in love with the right person, you need to be in the right place emotionally. If you don’t find love from within, you will never be able to let it in from the outside. No one likes to talk about this part though because this takes work, and the idea of some perfect person just entering your life and being the other half of your circle, the yin to your yang,  is just so much easier, and far more romantic.

In order to correctly identify the right one for you, you need to know who you are. You need to know your values, your boundaries, your fundamental needs, your wants, what you can compromise on, and what your absolute deal breakers are. When you are in this place and the right person comes along,  the one who understands you and sees you and connects with you and can give you what you need in a relationship, it will feel right and you will just know.

It’s also worth noting that love is something that can grow over time, it’s not always instant fireworks that erupt as soon as your eyes meet. A lot of the time women reject perfectly good guys after a few dates because they “just didn’t feel it.” I’m not saying you should settle, but I am saying you should adjust your idea of what love should feel like. I know plenty of happily married women who almost didn’t give their now-husbands a second date. I’m not saying love at first site can’t, or doesn’t, ever happen–it does, I’ve seen it–but it doesn’t guarantee you a happier, more fulfilling relationship. It’s just another means to get to the same destination, one that can be just as easily achieved slowly.

MORE: 5 Signs He’s Not The One

A lot of the time we reject the guys who would be good to us (and for us) because we are not yet in a place where we can receive true love. Instead we feel drawn to the guys who are unavailable and get caught up in trying to prove our worth and show him we’re good enough. This toxic dating style happens when you don’t feel worthy of love on some level…and going after these kinds of guys validates that notion. The funny thing about the human mind, whether you realize it or not, is it’s always looking to validate beliefs, no matter how damaging said beliefs are. If you think no one likes you, your mind will ignore all the evidence that you are likable and will hone in on only those specific incidents when someone rejected you.

A big part of preparing yourself for love is ... (continued - Click to keep reading 5 Common Misconceptions About Love)

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Karen

Hello. Is this site ever updated with new articles? I mean, I know it’s free and all, but these same articles have been here FOREVER! Or is it my browser not updating?

Reply August 4, 2014, 2:06 pm

Tasnim

It was really helpful for me now!..Cause um going through this kinda situation..ur writings really make my mood sometimes..thank you.!

Reply July 10, 2014, 4:09 pm

kelle

I enjoyed reading this and other articles within ANM. I’ve recently entered the dating world again at 45! I have experienced love and agree that some loves aren’t meant to last. I have been fortunate to learn from experiences and not dwell on them as if they were mistakes. Truth is they were exactly where I allowed myself to be for the place I was internally. Becoming a widow at 40 has catapulted me into a personal discovery quest. During my grieving process I have found my true authentic self which I am convinced would have remained hidden had I not been placed in my situation. I am thankful for my eagerness to learn and move forward in my journey of life. I have a beautiful daughter, now 6, who will now learn from me how to have a healthy relationship with men. I’m now entering a relationship with a man that is amazing and shows such thankfulness for having met me. Because of things I’ve learned on ANM I have completely changed my approach to this relationship. It is refreshing to have a man pursue me instead of me chasing, worrying, clinging etc as I might have done in the past. Thank you for all the information you provide in your website and emails.

Reply July 9, 2014, 10:40 am

Anne

wonderful message….a reality check for many

Reply July 4, 2014, 4:26 am

Ana

Nice article, very true and interesting.

Reply July 3, 2014, 3:30 am

Mary

Yes, yes, yes. When you love yourself and know yourself, love will come your way. It’s not for the faint of heart though. It takes true courage to accept one another for who they are and love each other in spite (or because) of your differences. And lust is surely part of that mix. I have a wonderful boyfriend of two years + that has taken me to heights that I never would have known if I had not taken a chance on myself and been open to new experiences. It just keeps getting better and deeper the more time we spend together.
Keep up the good work :-).

Reply July 3, 2014, 12:05 am

ilena

This is truly one of the best love articles I have read, it actually brought tears to my eyes, it was very inspired and authentic. There isn’t anything that I disagree with here or that doesn’t resonate with me. I neve realized how love misconeptions could be written and broken down so simplistically but be seem so complete at the same time. Thank you Sabrina Alexis!

Reply July 2, 2014, 4:26 pm

heema

my life has been i love this guy we couldn’t be together so he went his separate way got married had a kid then i moved on and got married had two kids he came back when he was divorced told me all the things a girl or a woman wants to here and i felt for it because my marriage wasn’t what i wanted it to be so i started to get a divorce while i was getting the divorce we talked everyday about our dreams and desires our life together before my divorce was final he started pulling away saying we rushing he not ready he needs time and so on so i said ok we did rush we should wait then my divorce was final and we could finally be together he just said he realized that he don’t want a relationship all he could offer is friendship up till this day he has not call or text me to see if i am okay and all i could think about is how much i love him and i don’t blame him we were meant to be he came back to me we got a second chance but look were i end up with a broken heart a divorce separated from my kids and living with my family who makes me feel unwanted there because they are disappointed in me.all this because i believed in love.

Reply July 2, 2014, 11:40 am

Kira Loving

I really loved this article. In my last relationship I really felt like he was the one but it didn’t work out! I think one red flag I ignored was his comment on our 3rd date that he would change me and get me to give up my virginity to him.im a 19 year old virgin. It was ok at first with him but he tried and tried to get me to lose it and I wouldn’t. I kept saying im waiting for marriage! That put a strain on our relationship and we eventually broke up. It hurt so bad and I was so heartbroken. I couldn’t believe it. There were also other things that I ignored because I felt like he was the one and I could change him and make him fall madly in love with me like I was with him. It didn’t work out like that. Now maybe im looking in the wrong place for guys but it seems that they can’t get in a relationship without sex. Honestly when I get in a relationship I don’t go in it saying this is going to be a learning or growth experience im going in it for the long haul and I’m I’m putting my all and nothing less into it!

Reply July 2, 2014, 11:13 am

Alexis

Hey, you should be proud of yourself for not giving in to what you didn’t feel comfortable with. I’m in the same boat as you, I’m also waiting for marriage. But don’t lose faith! It sounds cheesy, but the right guy will accept that you are waiting, and he will respect that. I actually know of a couple, and the girl wants to wait for marriage, and the guy is accepting that because he really cares for her. They’ve been together for almost a year! The right guy will respect and accept all your beliefs and values.

Reply August 7, 2014, 1:47 pm

Chrissie

Thank you for sharing this with us, I totally agree with these misconceptions however there are very few in my circle of friends/family who think this way so I started to believe that the way I felt was wrong. You have helped me to see that they are a healthy choice for me and that I am on the right track towards a healthy strong relationship one day.

Reply July 1, 2014, 10:41 pm

rosa

was very interesting,as their /Sabrina’s and Erick’s/all articles.guys,you are great!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Reply July 1, 2014, 10:36 pm

Dina

This article talk about exactly how I have been feeling lately after I fell for a friend. I thought that if I tried hard enough that love would prevail, but I learned the hard way that ot doesnt work like that. Even though I tried to reach out to him to show him how much I cared, all I ended up with was a heart break. I even told myself that maybe I am not worthy of his love, that it felt so right when we were together that I couldn’t have been the only one feeling this way. But it was a hard pill to swallow when he cut me out of his life without an explanation.
But even though it hurts when I miss him,I am learning that my love for him was overrated and that I will survive after all.

Reply July 1, 2014, 7:43 pm

Anna

Its very hard to noticed when you not treated fairly, when all your life you have been treated poorly. Family and friend now boyfriends. I have long way to go! Please God help me break this cycle!

Reply July 1, 2014, 6:10 pm

Sabrina Alexis

I highly recommend you read the book “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix (I also recommended is to another reader who commented on this article). He really does a great job of showing how our past pains lead us into toxic relationships, and how to heal from it.

Reply July 2, 2014, 1:48 pm

Cheri

Actually, I believe all 5 of your “misconceptions”. The true misconception being spread is if your partner no longer satisfies you, find another. 1corinthians 13:4-8 tells us exactly what love should and should not do.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (I Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV)
If everyone worked at developing these characteristics within themselves, I’m pretty sure it would last. But we get selfish, and we bail on commitment and responsibility. We’ve placed more importance on how we feel than developing solid character. Character stays committed to the commitment even when the feelings are disagreeing. Of course there are extenuating circumstances, but “falling out of love” is not one of them. Love is difficult, it does require compromises, it does last, you can just know. All kinds of emotions surface and create feelings of every kind, every day. But when it comes to right and wrong, you guard your heart and your mind from the things that create feelings that tempt you to dishonor the commitment you chose. It’s a serious choice that should be heavily weighed before making and then you choose to push all things aside, including your feelings, that is not beneficial to helping you succeed. Even if you have to do it alone. My actions, responses, reflect MY character. I can’t control his. I can only wait and choose someone who’s character and beliefs model my own. Old fashioned? Yes! But proven to be much more successful!

Reply July 1, 2014, 5:37 pm

Marilyn

I am a true believer that love happens when it happens. You can look for it, force it our make believe it’s there. I’ve experienced it all. Married and divorced 2x and been in a few very long term relationships in my 54 years but the love was different each time. People come into our lives for different reasons and not everyone is forever. We all grow and the odds of our significant other growing with us are not always good. But the one thing that I know for sure is that when you are with the right person it feels different. It’s more unconditional, easier and comfortable. You feel secure and happy most of the time. It’s NOT work. It’s natural and easy.

Reply July 1, 2014, 5:33 pm

Kat

This is the best article I have read on this topic. Very sensible and wise!

Reply July 1, 2014, 5:14 pm

Sabrina Alexis

Thank you! That means a lot to me :)

Reply July 2, 2014, 1:43 pm

Tay

I agree to an extent, I think that love can be so blissful, that it really is those little girl dreams come true….it holds all of the magic that I ever imagined….I believe that true love in it’s purest form is not something that can fall away….it is knowing in your heart and mind that nothing this person does or could do would make you turn away from them…marriage is a commitment before others, but choosing to love someone is a commitment in itself….I also believe that love is very much a choice, plenty of people choose not to love their significant other…and plenty of people choose to love their significant other…this is not saying that who we love is our choice, but definitely if we love and most ppl choose to love…because it is quite a glamorous idea.
My most important rule when in a relationship is that I am not about games, I need to be able to be honest and open about everything and I need the same, I don’t like guessing games, I don’t like thinking oh no I’m doing this wrong or right or however I like for my man to accept me and all of my flaws, and that includes my need to spell everything out in plain language just so that o know we are on the same page…..and He does it well!

Reply July 1, 2014, 4:43 pm

Sabrina Alexis

I totally agree with you on love being a choice, the problem is it’s not always a conscious choice for people which is why they end up falling for people who are very wrong for them. With the right clarity and insight, I think people can weed out the ones who aren’t good for them, and choose to love the right ones. I also agree about not playing games. At the same time, I think it’s important to always bring your best self to the table. So often women, especially those who have been hurt or frustrated, will throw up their hands and say: “I am who I am and I’ll say what I want and if he can’t deal it’s his problem!.” Not wanting to play games doesn’t a free pass to act on your every whim. But you’re right, in a truly healthy relationship, you should never have to hide who you are, or force yourself to act a certain way in order to make him feel a certain way about you.

Reply July 2, 2014, 1:42 pm

Julie

It just dawned on me why I accepted bad treatment and never saw it as being bad, is that I have been raised by bad people, my Grandfather and my father, they are both mean people so when it was showing itself I just saw it as normal why wouldn’t I every role model has been a @&$?. I remember being about 12 years old and being with my Grandfather when he came towards the car he told me all these horrible things and mainly about the lady being ugly, well I thought that it was wrong but I had nothing to compare it to, I only have them. Please people you are responsible for what you do and unfortunately I was set up for failure. Everybody laughs they all play and they fully justify the disgrace within themselves.

Reply July 1, 2014, 4:37 pm

Sabrina Alexis

So sorry to hear what you had to go through. It’s very true that the pains of our past can influence our relationships in negative ways, but it is fixable. One book I would recommend for you is “Getting the Love You Want” by Harville Hendrix. It goes into a lot of depth on how past pains and traumas can impact our psyches and lead us to be drawn to people who aren’t good for us. It was a real eye-opener for me and based on what you described, I think it would help.

Reply July 2, 2014, 1:38 pm

Julie

My relationship was bad before we split up, it was bad from the start but I didn’t see it. The last ten years has been hell, all I have done is struggled and tryed to keep it together it was hopeless and it ended. 23 years gone. Now what I am trying to say hear is that good relationships do not end, why would they we were so happy and in love and now it’s over said no one ever, you are trying to makes something work which means that it is not working either fix it or get out but you should probably get out because I too thought it could be fixed, but your always fixing it it’s broken it’s over good relationships are not broken, do not start broken just get out.

Reply July 1, 2014, 4:17 pm

Michele

This makes so much sense and hits on so much I’ve been doing wrong in a current relationship! Wow! Thanks!!!

Reply July 1, 2014, 3:34 pm

Sabrina Alexis

My pleasure!

Reply July 2, 2014, 1:34 pm

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