“Since you were a child you have heard the stories of Snow White, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, you’ve seen the Disney film, bought the Barbie Doll and heard the same story told in a hundred different ways, updated in Hollywood movies, in chick lit novels, in the plot of a TV drama or a soap opera and in the gossip columns of newspapers and magazines. ‘And they all lived happily ever after.’ Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, they kiss, fade to black, the end. So no matter what wonderful psychological truths are inherent in these stories, we’ve been effectively brainwashed since we were little that we do get the boy or girl we love, and we do live happily ever after. Is it any wonder we get sad, or depressed, or just broken-hearted, so often? We were told a lie, sold a dream and, unlike with Father Christmas or the Easter Bunny, we don’t get to a certain age where someone says ‘Actually, it’s not real. We’ve been lying to you, sorry.’ Nobody admits to us it’s actually a lie, because everybody is still believing it, everybody’s still saying ‘Ah, but one day, one day my prince or princess will come.’ So we’re fed ‘maybe’ and ‘some day’ and ‘one day it will happen to you’ all our lives.
“So many of us think that to have the perfect love relationship all we have to do is meet the right person; we can have our own personal checklist of attributes based on our own personal fantasies and if the person we meet ticks all the boxes then we are on to a winner. Actually, the process is much less about meeting the right person and much more about becoming the right person.” [Emphasis added]
John goes on to make the point that good relationships that last are work. Both people have to be prepared to work on themselves – see themselves clearly – and, work on the relationship. It can’t be one sided. It’s also important to remember just because both people in the relationship have something to learn, it’s rarely the same lesson at the same time.
He begins this discussion by dispelling the myths of relationship since he points out we can’t work with a once upon a time relationship. We can only work with a real, human, imperfect relationship. And then maybe it is possible to live happily ever after.