Believing In Soulmates Makes Women More Vulnerable To Divorce & Domestic Abuse

Fairy tales aren’t only fantasies, they could actually be dangerous.

If you’ve read my articles before, you may know I’m no fan of the romantic fantasy. I’ve written about how these beliefs endanger your relationships, and how they are totally unrealistic when it comes to the actual day-to-day of living and building a life with another person.

However, there is even more to these beliefs than just making your relationships harder to manage.

Apparently, there are links between the belief in fairy tale romances (“knight saves princess”), intimate partner violence, and divorce.

I want to clarify something first: all of this is correlational.

In other words, there is no CAUSAL link that says between these three things, only a statistical relationship.

This means that believing in romantic love doesn’t necessarily causedomestic violence or divorce, but rather that there is an established relationship between some of the beliefs linked to it — such as a belief in women’s dependence on men and feelings of unhappiness when “happily ever after” doesn’t arrive — and many of the factors that also contribute to the likelihood of divorce and/or abusive relationships.

So, without further ado, let’s crush those romantic dreams once and for all … (Kidding. Kind of.)

The Romantic Fantasy

It’s in the fairy tales you heard as a child. It’s in romantic comedies. It’s in romance novels and in pop songs. It’s the romantic fantasy, the happily ever after, the love at first sight. It’s the belief that romantic love is the solution to every problem. It’s the idea that if you’re not in love, you’re incomplete.

It’s the narrative of destiny, of love happening to you rather than you making love happen.

Romantic beliefs are widespread. Fairy tales, and their modern version the romantic comedy are our first narrative contact with love. The Prince sees Cinderella at the ball, dances with her and is instantly in love with her. The Prince sees Sleeping Beauty literally sleeping and kisses her and, obviously, is already in love. Or something.

So here’s a breakdown of some typical things romantic people tend to believe:

  • Love (especially passionate, $exually arousing love) should be the basis for marriage.
  • Love-at-first-sight is possible.
  • A person only has one true love.
  • True love lasts forever.
  • True love can overcome all obstacles.

The romantic fantasy is so pervasive, we barely see it for what it is anymore: a fantasy.

It’s so embedded in our stories and our conceptions of love that it’s difficult to get out of them.

Romantic beliefs have a destiny feel about them: that love is mostly out of our control, that all it requires is the right person, and then all our love troubles will be over. It’s almost passive in its outlook on relationships. That kind of romantic love requires no work, no compromising, no changing over time. It’s frozen in time, trying to hold on to a few fleeting moments when love is new and exciting, not routine and mostly boring.

According to Franiuk, Cohen, and Pomerantz, people generally belong to two groups when it comes to relationships: the soulmate group and the work-it-out group.

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Believing In Soulmates Makes Women More Vulnerable To Divorce & Domestic Abuse

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