I’d be the first to admit that I’m jaded in love. I see the potential but I also see the shades of hidden agenda. I don’t trust easily and grand romantic gestures make my eyes roll.
So yes, I’m jaded, but I’m not cynical enough to believe that love does not have its merits.
I believe that it does. It totally does. I believe that people can get it right in love and that love can just be good.
I understand love can suck and I personally haven’t had much luck but I also understand that that’s not the case for everyone. And this position is interesting because it’s toeing the line between cynic and romantic.
So in this article, we’re going to talk about what I think are the 6 things that cynical people get wrong about love.
1) Believing that love, as a whole, is awful.
“Love is awful. It’s awful. It’s painful. It’s frightening. It makes you doubt yourself, judge yourself, distance yourself from the other people in your life.
“It makes you selfish. It makes you creepy, makes you obsessed with your hair, makes you cruel, makes you say and do things you never thought you would do.”
*Looks at the camera* I can see the cynics nodding their heads.
That monologue, for me, is one of the many resonating statements in the second season of the TV series “Fleabag”. It’s delivered by Andrew Scott as The (Hot) Priest and during a wedding scene, no less!
And I get it, love is awful. And in the worst circumstances, it’s downright terrible. It shakes the very foundation of who you are sometimes.
You might even find your happiness at the mercy of someone’s dusty son. Love can sweep you off your feet in the worst ways possible.
Love can destroy you, too.
Despite all that, I think the cynics are wrong about this generalization. Yes, love CAN BE awful, but love can also just be good.
Love can just be simple and uncomplicated, love can just be sure.
Love can just sit by you when you feel like the world is falling apart at the seams.
2) Believing that love is for the weak.
The monologue I inserted above was incomplete, and the romantics might like the latter half of it here:
“It’s all any of us want, and it’s hell when we get there. So no wonder it’s something we don’t want to do on our own. I was taught if we’re born with love then life is about choosing the right place to put it.
“People talk about that a lot, feeling right, when it feels right it’s easy. But I’m not sure that’s true. It takes strength to know what’s right. And love isn’t something that weak people do.
“Being a romantic takes a hell of a lot of hope. I think what they mean is, when you find somebody that you love, it feels like hope.”
Beyond the honeymoon phase comes the reality of love. The imperfection of it. The minutiae of the day-to-day becomes unbearable along with it.
You start seeing your partner without the rosy tinted glasses of New Relationship Energy, their quirks that you used to find adorable now become grating.
It becomes a constant decision to love them, to work through problems, to experience life together.
Love, in all its messiest glory, isn’t for the weak at all. You risk your heart when you choose to love. Love requires bravery.
To stand by someone requires resolve. To believe in the good of it takes strength.
3) Believing that every relationship is doomed to fail.
I do think that cynics are wrong for thinking that all relationships are doomed to fail though.
The distrust is warranted and understandable, don’t get me wrong, especially since there are so many who give love a bad name. However, to think that every hello equates to a goodbye relationship-wise is a slippery slope.
There is no guarantee in love, friend. Both cynics and romantics get this wrong, I also have gotten this wrong, believing that love follows one journey.
Can a relationship fail? Of course. Can many relationships fail consecutively? It’s possible, too. But does that mean that all relationships do? Will every chance at love be for naught?
I don’t think so.
Believing that every relationship is doomed to fail becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. But you see, each relationship has its own patterns, struggles, wins, and failures.
You can win at love, too.
4) Believing that soulmates can’t possibly exist.
“If soulmates do exist, they’re not found, they’re made. People meet, they get a good feeling, and they get to work building a relationship.”
– Ted Danson as Michael in The Good Place
The pandemic lockdowns brought out the softness in me. When my mortality stared at me in the face, when the walls started closing in, I started believing in soulmates again.
I started to think, are they out there? Are they surviving this madness? Will we both see the end of this?
Amidst the panic and the health scares, I believed in something softer. I believed in the promise of someone out there whom I was meant to love.
Of course, rationality came back after all the fear, but I still think that soulmates exist. Just not the way we were led to believe.
Like the quote above, I think soulmates are made and not found. We don’t just stumble upon them, there is a conscious decision to build and share a life (or a part of it).
I have witnessed people who are so in tune with one another. It was beautiful to watch the synergy.
However, I don’t think soulmates need to automatically be romantic. Platonic soulmates exist, after all. I just think that there are people out there that we are truly, truly meant to experience this world with.
And while not all of us are lucky enough to find them, it doesn’t make it any less real for the ones who do.
5) Believing that they are not deserving of good love.
There’s something that Celine, played by Julie Delpy, said in Before Sunset (2004) that struck a chord with me. She said, “You can never replace anyone, because everyone is made of such beautiful details.”
It’s safe to say that a good portion of cynical people weren’t born cynics, a string of bad relationships might have lent its toxicity. Still, cynicism changes not only how we view the world, but also how we view ourselves.
It becomes self-sabotage. The cynicism becomes a defense mechanism to avoid love. To stay away from it, to run in the opposite direction when it approaches.
To believe that the best course of action after being presented with the possibility of genuine love is to scoff at it. To operate under the egotistical notion of not wanting to be proven wrong.
Do you then become undeserving of good love when it finally happens? No, not really. I don’t think being cynical in love is a mistake either, it just is.
This doesn’t make you undeserving of love that proved your distrust wrong.
After all, you are made of such beautiful details. Details that people have loved and will love you for.
6) Believing that love needs to be perfect for it to be valid.
And finally, believing that love needs to be perfect for it to be valid.
In the final scene of the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Clementine, played by Kate Winslet, says, “I’m not a concept, Joel. I’m just a f*cked-up girl who’s looking for my own peace of mind. I’m not perfect.”
Joel, played by Jim Carrey, answered, “I can’t see anything that I don’t like about you. Right now I can’t.”
Clementine goes, “But you will. You know, you will think of things and I’ll get bored with you and feel trapped… because that’s what happens with me.”
And Joel just said, “Okay.” Clementine whispered hers.
The repeated Okays resonated with me. Is love that simple? In fact, considering what this movie is about, love is not simple at all.
For me, these Okays were “acceptance”, to love despite the aftermath.
This was “resolve” marked by repeated Okays, whispered under their breaths, backed by the many highs and lows of their relationship.
Cynics get this wrong about love, so easy to dismiss love that’s not spick and span. To impose what love needs to look like before it can be called love.
Love can just be fleeting and that’s still valid. Love can last a lifetime and that’s also valid. Love can be reciprocated or not, and those are still valid.
But I get the cynics
I get the need to put a wall up because love has caused enough pain. And the only way to keep oneself safe is to no longer risk heartache.
You start believing the worst in people when it comes to love. You start to see the end of a relationship before it even begins.
It’s anticipatory anxiety in the form of snark and guarding one’s heart. I get all of that. We protect ourselves in ways we know.
Cynicism is easier some days. Cynicism is easier when the alternative is heartbreak. Again, we protect ourselves in ways we know.
But the romantic in me is kicking and screaming to say that love can just be good, too. Yes, it can be simple. Yes, it can just be sure.
(Although the realist in me is saying that it’s okay to take your time.)
And I hope that you find the kind of love you want and are ready for, friend. Truly, I do.