How to Avoid Magical Thinking in Your Relationships

As children, some of our first exposure to love, romance, and relationships is what we see in television shows, movies, books, and other forms of culture and entertainment.

This can sometimes have a negative effect on our worldview, especially if we begin to form beliefs and ideals about relationships that aren’t always practical in the real world.

Romantic comedies and teen dramas are some of the biggest culprits, but not the only ones.

They often paint a reality that doesn’t exist. Thus we begin to form a schema inside our heads of the “perfect romance” with our “perfect partner,” and then we get angry at ourselves and the world when no one meets our expectations.

This all a result of “magical thinking,” which is the tendency to want to find extra meaning and purpose in our relationships that isn’t really there.

For example, just like in the movies, we want to believe that we ran into that guy/girl at the coffee shop for some magical reason – destiny or fate – even if it’s just coincidence or happenstance.

And when we’re finally in a relationship, we like to believe that the person is our “soul mate” or “Mr./Ms. Right” – this rare entity who is the only person in the world we are compatible with.

It’s healthy to think positively about our partners, but I also think we need to keep ourselves grounded.

What happens when your “soul mate” doesn’t turn out to be the person who you think they are? Will you be able to let them go? Or will you cling to them, because you want so desperately to believe that they are “the one and only” person for you?

Magical thinking is unhealthy. It holds our lives and the lives of other people at a ridiculously high standard that can’t usually be met and often leads to disastrous disappointment.

Meaningful relationship don’t come from any external source, whether fate, or destiny, or a supreme being, or anything else that is “magical” or “supernatural.”

These explanations aren’t likely or plausible, we just really want them to be true. Magical thinking presents a rose-colored view of the world that fits with the fantasies that are sold to us through movies, TV shows, books, celebrity gossip, etc.

But meaningful relationships come from ourselves and our own attitude. They are based on how we choose to speak and act around others – the actual, physical interactions we have with people day in and day out.

It’s about enjoying our time with others, sharing positive experiences, and actually committing to a long-term relationship, despite occasional drawbacks and flaws (there is no such thing as a “perfect partner” or “perfect relationship”). And that’s where true meaning and “magic” comes from – when both individuals are willing to invest their own time and energy to make things work.

Perhaps if we had less magical thinking and superstition in our relationships, then we’d have much healthier ones.

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