Written by Liv Talley, LDS Dating Coach & Expert
Hi my loves,
I need to have a talk with you. (Don’t worry–it’s not a DTR.) We need to discuss WHY dating is so hard in 2022!
My theory isn’t popular…but it needs attention and consideration. It’s true, there are MANY factors that play into why our society is the way that it is, and one that isn’t talked about enough is the media that we consume.
Yes, I’m looking at you who hold weekly “Bachelor” nights and the frequent rom-com/Disney watchers.
Here’s the thing: these shows and movies aren’t BAD. And I believe the people who watch them regularly are sincerely attempting to consume wholesome content. Plus, who doesn’t love hanging out with a bunch of singles, yelling at other singles dating each other in absolutely insane ways on tv?! I absolutely attended those watch nights and I thought they were so fun.
Honestly, you’re probably thinking “what could be the problem with a movie as harmless as Hercules?!”
Well, on a subconscious level–what you consume shapes what you believe.
And I cannot pinpoint a SINGLE movie, tv series, or reality show that paints relationships in a healthy light. All the connections–from Rachel and Ross, to Belle and the Beast, and literally the entire premise of The Bachelor–are wildly unrealistic and, in most cases, incredibly toxic.
This matters because movies, Hollywood, and these reality shows have replayed for decades what “romance” looks like. I don’t care who you are, NO ONE watches The Bachelor and doesn’t feel some sort of connection to the romantic gestures. Even if you say out loud that it’s dumb, or you know it’s fake–don’t be tripping. I know you want that to an extent.
Because we are all taught through what’s on tv, what love looks like. Ask yourself about the romantic gestures you dream of. I guarantee you saw those in several movies.
So what? Who cares if movies determine what’s romantic? — you might be asking…
If your idea of romance comes from a movie, and NOT what you have actually sat yourself down and asked what you want because you know with certainty what makes you feel loved, you’re chasing something that isn’t real.
You’re dreaming of someone else’s fairytale.
And that vision, the dream, it’s also sabotaging your REAL love story!
It’s giving you space to be removed from yourself, your needs, your real desires, and the humanness of a deep connection. Real love that lasts isn’t perfect. In fact, it’s only IN the imperfection that it grows the roots to carry you beyond the “honeymoon phase.” (When you build an imperfect relationship, you actually create the capacity to return to the honeymoon phase again and again. Cool, right?)
Here’s the real skinny on the love of your life: you don’t find it. It’s not held in a certain person. There is no “the one” and soulmates aren’t a thing.
The love of your life is the love you CREATE in your life, with someone that you trust to show up for you in all the ways that you want them to! It’s so unique that it *couldn’t* be found in a movie. It’s tailored exactly for you and the person you choose to build it with.
Real love isn’t actually a feeling at all. Love is a decision. It’s a consequence of vulnerability and trust. It’s commitment to each other; and even deeper than that, it’s the commitment to the vision you have together for your relationship and understanding when you disagree on something.
Only in the space where you don’t see eye to eye, when you acknowledge your differences, and you choose to see and love each other anyways can you develop sincere trust. Agreeing on everything to keep someone around is the easy way out. Voicing a concern, communicating through frustration, and holding space to see and be seen in disagreement is intimacy.
**NOTE: this is not descriptive or reflective in any way of abusive situations
At the end of the day, if you find that you have a pattern of:
1. Falling in “love” really quickly just to burn out after a couple of weeks
2. Feeling like no one ever measures up to the fantasy in your head (and calling it “standards”)
3. Never truly having deep connections
You might want to take some time to ask yourself if you’re seeking out the person of YOUR dreams, or the person who has been dreamed up for you?
I promise, speaking from experience here, the real thing that you get to create for yourself, is sooo much better than the movies!! Your inside jokes, your bids for closeness, the special way you understand a look from your partner…is far more captivating than the person who shows up with flowers just because a movie showed that as “romantic.”
Romanticize your reality, and I know that you’ll find love much faster than you’ll even anticipate.
The love of your life is something you can start experiencing right now! Choose to be in love with your day-to-day. Then invite someone to share it who appreciates what you already love, and can share their own vision with you.
Remember, you don’t find the love of your life. You create it!
Liv Talley Dating Coach
Liv Talley is an LDS dating and relationship coach, lifestyle mentor, and published author of the book: Sorry, You’re Not Perfect. She has helped singles find love, get married in the temple, and build exceptionally blessed lives through in-depth mindset coaching and personal acceptance/self-compassion.