Discover the truth about love and debunk common misconceptions. Explore the question ‘What is love?’ as we shed light on 10 misconceptions that need to die. Gain insights and challenge your beliefs. Read on.
They say there are 8 wonders of the world, but I think that the 9th one is the question: What is love? It’s a topic that has fascinated philosophers, poets, and dreamers for centuries.
Love, with all its complexities and nuances, is a universal experience that has the power to uplift, transform, and sometimes perplex us. But amidst the grandeur of love, there are numerous misconceptions that need to be dispelled.
This post isn’t necessarily here to provide a definitive answer to the age-old question of what love truly is.
Instead, it aims to shed light on some common misconceptions that cloud our understanding of this profound emotion.
Love is often portrayed as a fairy tale, a magical force that sweeps us off our feet and carries us into eternal bliss.
And hey, we might just find that kind of love in rare moments, but the reality is often more nuanced and complex.
Here’s the thing: love is not solely about fleeting emotions or romantic gestures.
If we’re being honest, love is a decision, a choice, and an intentional act of the will. It requires conscious effort, commitment, and investment in a relationship.
That’s sort of, well, part of the magic of love—it’s not just something that happens to us; it’s something we actively participate in and cultivate.
If you’ve ever been in a long-term relationship, you know that love isn’t always a bed of roses.
There are ups and downs, challenges and compromises. It requires patience, understanding, and effective communication.
Love is not just about the euphoric moments; it’s about being there for each other during the tough times, supporting one another, and growing together.
So, naturally, it’s crucial to dispel some of the misconceptions surrounding love. In this post, we’ll explore 10 common misconceptions about love that need to die—because they’re the worst definitions of what love is.
And by unraveling these misconceptions, we hope to gain a deeper understanding of love and pave the way for healthier, more fulfilling relationships.
#1. Love is when your partner makes you happy.
A lot of people are seeking happiness in their relationships. They believe that the answer to the question, “what is love?” is when their partner makes them happy, that their presence is the key to eternal bliss.
They think when they find the right person, all their problems will vanish, and they’ll be swept away into a world of constant joy and fulfillment.
But the truth is, this misconception can set unrealistic expectations and lead to disappointment.
Similarly, many think that a relationship’s primary purpose is to make them happy. They believe that their partner’s sole responsibility is to bring them joy and fulfillment.
What this does is place an unfair burden on the relationship and the other person. It creates an unhealthy dynamic where one’s happiness becomes dependent on external factors, leaving little room for personal growth and self-discovery.
A relationship is supposed to enhance our happiness, not be the source of it. It’s a beautiful union between two individuals who choose to walk together on their separate paths, supporting and celebrating each other’s individuality.
The fix: understanding that personal happiness is an inside job. It starts with taking responsibility for our own well-being and finding joy in our own lives.
This way, we are not bound to the whims of external circumstances or the actions of our partners.
We can actively pursue our own passions, engage in self-care, and create a life that brings us fulfillment.
By nurturing our own happiness, we become more resilient, self-reliant, and capable of contributing positively to our relationships.
It also helps us to maintain a healthy balance between our individuality and our togetherness. We can appreciate the unique qualities and interests of our partners without losing sight of our own.
This balance allows us to support each other’s growth, create shared experiences, and cultivate a relationship that thrives on mutual respect, admiration, and personal fulfillment.
You don’t need to rely on someone else to make you happy. Happiness is a choice you make for yourself. It’s about finding contentment within, nurturing your own well-being, and sharing that happiness with others.
Takeaway—What is Love?: Love isn’t when someone else completes and makes you happy because by taking responsibility for our own happiness, we can build stronger, healthier, and more fulfilling relationships.
#2. Love isn’t genuine if you only celebrate your partner’s success when you surpass them.
Have you ever noticed how genuine love is reflected in the way we celebrate our partner’s success, even if it surpasses our own achievements?
If two people are in a healthy and loving relationship, they find joy and fulfillment in seeing their partner happy and thriving. It’s a beautiful testament to the selfless nature of love.
Just like a rising tide lifts all boats, celebrating our partner’s success doesn’t diminish our own accomplishments.
In fact, it strengthens the bond between two individuals, creating an environment of support, encouragement, and shared happiness.
Genuine love is rooted in a deep admiration and respect for our partner’s journey, and we celebrate their victories as if they were our own.
The fix: Cultivating a mindset of genuine love means shifting our perspective from competition to collaboration.
Sometimes, we may feel a twinge of envy or a pang of insecurity when our partner achieves something remarkable.
But we don’t need to let those negative emotions take hold. Instead, we should choose to confront and overcome them, recognizing that their success is not a threat but a cause for celebration.
Sometimes, it may require some introspection and self-reflection to address any underlying feelings of inadequacy or comparison.
Takeaway—What is love?: Love is when we know how important it is to communicate openly with our partner, expressing our genuine happiness for their accomplishments and sharing in their joy. Because by doing so, we foster an environment of mutual support, where both partners can thrive and flourish.
Additional reading: 5 Truths About Relationships That Will Change The Way You Think About Love
#3. It isn’t love when you’re constantly anxious about getting hurt.
I am the first person to admit that love can be a source of anxiety. It’s natural to worry about getting hurt or experiencing heartbreak.
I am also the first person to make sure that fear doesn’t control my relationships. We are all vulnerable when we open our hearts to someone, and that vulnerability can be both beautiful and terrifying.
And then, we get caught up in a cycle of worry. What if they leave? What if they betray us? What if we end up broken and alone?
Well, maybe you’re expecting too much from love. Maybe you’re putting the weight of your past hurts onto the shoulders of your present and future relationships.
The fix: It’s essential to find a balance between realistic expectations and letting go of constant anxiety. Recognize that relationships have their ups and downs.
They require effort, communication, and a willingness to navigate challenges together. Accept that no relationship is perfect, and there will be moments of disagreement, disappointment, and even pain. But that doesn’t mean love isn’t worth it.
It may not always be easy, but choosing to love someone despite the potential for hurt is a courageous act. It means embracing vulnerability and trusting that the connection you share is worth the risk. It means letting go of the need for absolute certainty and instead embracing the beauty of the unknown.
Don’t let anxiety overshadow the joy and fulfillment that love can bring. Focus on building a foundation of trust, open communication, and mutual respect.
Allow yourself to be present in the moment and cherish the love you have right now. By doing so, you can create a space where love can flourish, free from the shackles of constant fear.
Takeaway—What is love?: Love is not about guaranteeing a pain-free journey. It’s about finding someone who is willing to walk beside you, supporting and uplifting you through the highs and lows.
It’s about embracing the imperfections and uncertainties, knowing that the depth and richness of love far outweigh the potential risks.
#4. Love means considering your own needs as well.
Love is something that often brings to mind selflessness and sacrifice. We’re taught that genuine love means putting our partner’s needs above our own.
While there is truth in considering our partner, I believe that it’s equally important to recognize and honor our own needs in a relationship.
Here’s the thing — if you constantly neglect your own needs, eventually, it can lead to resentment and dissatisfaction. It’s not selfish to prioritize your own well-being and happiness. In fact, it’s essential for maintaining a healthy sense of self and a balanced relationship.
If an individual consistently puts their partner’s needs first without considering their own, it can create an imbalanced dynamic.
Resentment may build over time, and the individual may feel like their own desires and dreams are being overlooked. This can lead to a breakdown in communication and a sense of dissatisfaction within the relationship.
The fix: Really nurturing a healthy relationship means finding a middle ground where both partners’ needs are acknowledged and respected.
It involves open and honest communication about what each person requires to feel fulfilled and happy. This may involve compromise and negotiation, ensuring that both individuals feel heard and valued.
If you prioritize your own needs alongside your partner’s, it creates a more balanced and harmonious partnership. It’s not about neglecting your partner, but rather including yourself and your desires in the equation.
This will create a healthier and more sustainable relationship based on mutual understanding, support, and genuine happiness.
It’s very important to remember that you deserve to be happy too. Your needs matter, and taking care of yourself allows you to show up as the best version of yourself in the relationship.
Takeaway—What is love?: Love can only be possible when you understand that by cultivating self-respect and honoring your own needs, you’ll create a foundation of strength and authenticity that benefits both you and your partner.
Only when you find that delicate balance between considering your own needs and those of your partner can you create a relationship that thrives.
#5. Love isn’t a magical cure all.
There are a plethora of reasons why love is often romanticized as a magical cure-all for relationship challenges. We’re bombarded with movies, books, and songs that depict love as the ultimate solution to all problems.
But the truth is, love alone isn’t enough to sustain a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship.
Maybe you’ve experienced it yourself—being in love but still encountering difficulties and conflicts. Love doesn’t automatically solve all the issues that arise between two people. It’s not a magical force that erases differences, disagreements, or personal struggles.
Maybe you’re in a situation where you’re deeply in love with someone, but you’re facing compatibility issues or fundamental differences in values and goals.
Maybe your partner loves you, but they’re unable to meet your emotional needs or support your personal growth.
Whatever the circumstances may be, it’s crucial to recognize that love needs to be complemented by other key elements in a relationship.
Respect, understanding, effective communication, shared values, and compatibility are all important factors that contribute to a healthy and fulfilling partnership.
The fix: There’s no one-size-fits-all solution, but acknowledging that love isn’t a magical cure-all is a crucial step. It’s important to have honest conversations with your partner about your expectations, needs, and challenges. Seek to understand each other on a deeper level and work together to find ways to address any issues that arise.
Sometimes, you’ll need to make difficult decisions, such as recognizing when a relationship may not be healthy or fulfilling despite the presence of love.
Takeaway—What is love?: Love can be fully experienced when you understand that it’s okay to prioritize your well-being and seek a partnership where love is supported by compatibility and a sense of shared growth.
Also read: 150 Cute Pet Names To Call Your Lover
#6. It doesn’t mean losing yourself in a relationship.
I personally believe that a healthy and fulfilling relationship doesn’t mean losing yourself in the process. It’s not about sacrificing your identity or compromising your values to please your partner. In fact, maintaining a sense of self is crucial for a strong and balanced partnership.
This means valuing your own opinions, interests, and aspirations alongside those of your partner. It’s about recognizing that you are an individual with unique qualities and needs that deserve to be honored within the relationship.
By embracing your individuality, you bring a richness and depth to the partnership that enhances both your own growth and the connection you share with your partner.
Imagine, now, that you find yourself constantly giving in to your partner’s desires, neglecting your own needs, and losing sight of who you are as a person. This can lead to a sense of resentment, dissatisfaction, and even an identity crisis.
Neither is it healthy for your partner to expect you to sacrifice your own well-being and happiness for the sake of the relationship.
The fix: Here’s the hard truth — you need to prioritize self-care and self-respect. Establishing healthy boundaries and maintaining a strong sense of self is essential.
It means communicating your needs, desires, and boundaries openly and honestly with your partner. Healthy relationships thrive on mutual respect, understanding, and support for each other’s personal growth and well-being.
There are countless ways to nurture your sense of self within a relationship.
It could be pursuing your own passions and interests, spending time with friends and family, setting aside alone time for self-reflection, or engaging in activities that bring you joy and fulfillment. By prioritizing self-care and self-awareness, you contribute to the overall health and longevity of the relationship.
And if you find yourself losing sight of who you are in the relationship, it’s essential to take a step back and reevaluate.
Reflect on your values, goals, and personal boundaries. Seek to reconnect with your authentic self and make conscious choices that align with your own well-being and happiness.
If you prioritize your own self-care and maintain a strong sense of self, you’ll not only enhance your own fulfillment and happiness but also create a solid foundation for a healthy and thriving relationship.
Takeaway—What is love?: Love exists in a partnership that’s a union of two individuals who support and uplift each other, while still honoring their own unique identities.
#7. It doesn’t mean trusting potential over reality.
We live in a world of possibilities and potential, where hope often springs eternal. This mindset can extend to our relationships, where we may find ourselves clinging to the potential for improvement rather than facing the reality before us.
Relationships simply do not work on potential alone. While it’s natural to hope for positive changes and growth within a partnership, it’s vital to acknowledge the current state of affairs.
Hoping for a better future without addressing the present reality can lead to prolonged dissatisfaction and unfulfilled expectations.
They don’t say actions speak louder than words for nothing. Verbal assurances and promises of change hold little weight if they aren’t backed by consistent actions. It’s easy to get caught up in the allure of someone’s potential, their charm, or their promises, but it’s the actions they take in the here and now that truly matter.
I’ve said before that love is a verb, and it’s true. Love is demonstrated through actions, not just words or wishful thinking. If your partner consistently disrespects you, neglects your needs, or fails to prioritize your well-being, it’s crucial to trust the reality of the situation rather than holding onto the potential for change.
The fix: Think of your relationship as it stands today. Evaluate the dynamics, the level of respect, the joy it brings, and the compatibility you share. Be honest with yourself about whether the current reality aligns with your values and the kind of partnership you desire.
If you find yourself making excuses for your partner’s behavior or holding onto the hope that they will transform into someone better, it’s time to reassess.
Holding onto potential can keep you trapped in a cycle of disappointment and unmet expectations. Instead, focus on the present reality and ask yourself if it truly brings you happiness and fulfillment.
If you want to see genuine growth and improvement in your relationship, it requires both parties to be committed and willing to put in the necessary work. It’s not solely your responsibility to change or fix your partner. Both individuals must be actively engaged in the process of growth and willing to address any existing issues.
If you want to build a healthy and thriving relationship, it starts with accepting and trusting the reality of your connection.
This means setting boundaries, communicating openly, and seeking mutual understanding. It means choosing a partner who respects and values you for who you are, rather than someone you hope they will become.
Takeaway—What is love?: Love in the context of a healthy relationship, requires a foundation built on trust, respect, and shared values that are grounded in the reality of the present.
Hence, by embracing the truth of your relationship and prioritizing your own well-being, you can create the space for a partnership that brings genuine joy, fulfillment, and growth.
#8. It isn’t love just because you prioritize them.
If you think that love is solely about prioritizing your partner above all else, it’s time to reconsider. While it’s natural to want to make your loved one happy and meet their needs, there’s more to love than just focusing on them.
I understand that the concept of selflessness is often associated with love. Like earlier mentioned, we’re taught that putting someone else’s needs first is a sign of devotion and care.
However, when we stop prioritizing ourselves entirely and neglect our own wants and needs, we risk losing our sense of self and happiness.
Well, not so fast. Nobody wants to be in a relationship where their partner’s happiness is solely dependent on their sacrifices. However, that’s exactly what happens when we neglect ourselves and our own desires in the pursuit of making our partner happy.
The fix: Make a conscious effort to strike a balance. Love is about mutual care, understanding, and support. It’s essential to prioritize your own well-being alongside your partner’s needs. Recognize that your wants and needs are equally important and deserving of attention and fulfillment.
Start by understanding and communicating your own boundaries and expectations within the relationship.
Engage in open and honest conversations with your partner about finding a healthy balance that respects both of your needs. Love is a partnership, and both individuals should actively contribute to its growth and well-being. Hence, whatever it takes, prioritize your own happiness and well-being.
Take away—What is love?: Love is not about sacrificing yourself or compromising your values. It’s about building a relationship where both partners thrive, supported by a foundation of mutual care, respect, and understanding.
#9. It isn’t measured by how much they inspire you to be better.
I used to say: “You can tell it’s true love when your partner inspires you to be a better person.” But let’s take a closer look at this common belief.
You can argue that being with someone who motivates you to reach your full potential is a positive thing.
Let’s say, for example, you have a partner who encourages you to pursue your passions, overcome challenges, and achieve your goals. The first instinct is to attribute this inspiration to love.
But, you should pause and reflect. Then, ask yourself: Is this inspiration coming from a genuine place of support and belief in your abilities? Or is it driven by an underlying desire to mold you into their ideal version of who you should be?
You feel the difference when it’s genuine inspiration versus attempts to change or impose ideals upon you. Perhaps if you find yourself constantly feeling pressured to conform to your partner’s expectations or criticized for not following their advice, it’s time to reevaluate.
The fix: As the old saying goes: “Be true to yourself.” In a healthy relationship, you should never have to compromise your values, dreams, or individuality. True love respects and honors your opinions, choices, and vision of a good life.
Do your best to find a partner who genuinely supports your personal growth and self-improvement while embracing your individuality. Surround yourself with someone who celebrates your achievements and encourages you to pursue your own passions and dreams.
Take away—What is love?: Love should inspire you to be the best version of yourself, not an imitation of someone else’s ideals.
#10. It isn’t always measured by how much time, work, or effort you’re willing to put in.
Here’s one of the hardest things to accept about relationships: the measure of love isn’t solely based on the amount of time, work, or effort you’re willing to put in.
It doesn’t mean that commitment and effort aren’t crucial for a healthy relationship. There are undoubtedly times when relationships require dedication, compromise, and hard work. If you’re in a partnership, you know that maintaining a strong connection requires investment and effort from both sides.
However, it’s important to not lose sight of your own needs, aspirations, and well-being in the process.
Sacrificing your own happiness, success, or social life excessively in the name of love can lead to an unbalanced dynamic and potential resentment.
The fix: Trust me, I’ve tried to be the one who gives endlessly, pouring all my time, work, and effort into a relationship.
But it took me a while to realize that true love shouldn’t demand an unequal distribution of sacrifices.
A healthy relationship is built on mutual consideration, respect, and support for each other’s individual aspirations and desires.
It’s crucial to prioritize your own needs and well-being alongside the efforts you put into the relationship. Establishing and maintaining healthy boundaries allows you to nurture your personal success, happiness, and social connections while still being fully present for your partner.
Take away—What is love?: Love is a partnership, not a one-sided endeavor. This means that in a loving relationship, both partners should contribute to the well-being and happiness of the relationship.
By fostering an environment of mutual investment, where both individuals consider and respect each other’s needs and aspirations, you can create a balanced and fulfilling relationship.
John Emmanuel is a results-obsessed relationship blogger and founder of Top Love Hacks, dedicated to helping you level up your dating and relationship game by motivating you to be in control of your love life.