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Happily ever after

2012/11/13 - Author: Marco Neves

Happily ever after, or how the fairy tales screw our lives – another story about expectations.

Once upon a time the abused step-daughter was visited by her godmother-fairy, who played dress-up with her, sent her to the royal party where she met her prince. After some challange – finding the girl with the right feet – they lived happily ever after.

This is just one of the many fairy tales we were feed in the last centuries, as bedtime stories, as child literature.

Those were the stories taking many of us to sleep, those stories were the first thing in our mind when the time for dreams come, and from hearing those stories so many times we started to expect our lives to become those stories. Worst than that, from the weight of repeated exposure to this stories, we were made believe that those stories were the norm, that they described what love is supposed to be, what reward for good behavior is supposed to be.

But live is not a fairy tale, and true love doesn’t always win, and even when true, monogamic, heterosexual love wins – like in the fairy tales – it rarely is “happily ever after”, but it wouldn’t sound as good to end the stories “happily most of the time, except for the small fights over – most of the time the same old – insignificant things, and once in the bigger fights about more important subjects”  (or is it the other way around – small fights about important subjects and big fights about insignificant ones?).

Happily ever after in real life means a lot of dialog, a lot of negotiation, a lot of understanding that me, you and us are three different entities and that for us to be happy it takes me and you to be also happy.

And none of those just happen simply because we found someone we really love, someone we really want to be with.

The happily ever after of the fairy tales made us believe that it just happens because love conquers all. But it doesn’t, even with love, relationships only exist between people, and unless you are dating your twin, people are different and most of the time relationships, specially love relationships, start between people that are different – in some cases so different that can be hard to believe those persons found anything in common at all.

And that means that they often see live and the world with different eyes, in different ways. What is really important for one may not matter at all to other, what one likes, other can dislike, one may like to go to bed early and other sleep later in the morning – and love doesn’t change any of this.

Love, in the end, is just the excuse they find or ignore to make it work.

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