As little girls we’re often brought up on a diet of fantasy romances – we are perhaps going to be Belle or Princess Jasmine from the Disney movie and our fantasy man is going to come along and rescue us from a life of alphabetti spaghetti and annoying siblings. In the movies, invariably a Ryan Gosling-shaped character will magically stumble across a heroine, usually through an act of fate, and whatever their circumstances or however improbable the coupling may be, they will live blissfully ever after. Of course Hollywood is about entertainment, but there’s an extent to which the movies infiltrate our real-life love lives, and lead us to believe fate will do all the work for us.
Love of course exists, and it can be incredibly powerful. The actual chance of finding love, and most importantly keeping hold of it, is very high. It just doesn’t often come about the way the movies would have us believe – like chance meetings on the Empire State Building, or serendipitous encounters on the subway.
Love works out best when we have a say in it. When we know what we want and need and when we think about it first, we are a lot better placed to go and find it. So if you’re looking for your leading man or woman, or you’re just curious to know what makes a real-life lasting union, here are some factors that allow for a ‘happy ever after’. And if the man in question is Ryan Gosling then all power to you.
Relationship expert Jenni Trent Hughes provides tips for lasting love by showing us the five factors which determine lasting love, in the real world:
Passion – The best relationships involve two people who have worked hard to cultivate their passion for each other. Think of the lasting passion between Noah and Ali in The Notebook. If romantic passion is important for you and yet less so for your partner, cracks will appear. A ‘hearts and flowers’ type is always going to be disappointed with someone whose idea of romance is a frozen pizza and a night on the sofa. So be sure to understand how important romantic passion is to your partner and work together to keep the passion alive even when you’ve been together for some time.
Physical energy levels – A couple should share similar energy levels. A movie couple like Annie Hall and Woody Allen prefer passive activities like going to the theatre or watching movies. It stands to reason that if one member of a couple wants to be out dancing the night away and the other would rather be in with a nice cup of tea, your relationship is going to encounter more issues. You may adopt each other’s behaviour in the short-term but over the long-term you will revert back to type and in doing so one or both of you may feel like you are continually compromising to make the other happy.
Sociability – Napoleon Dynamite type or social butterfly? Some people are extremely eager to be involved with other people in a social context. Others find social involvement anxiety-provoking and painful. If a person is high on sociability, they are usually eager for social engagement. Take the time to get to know someone and really understand their level of introversion or extroversion and whether it’s complementary to your own.
Shared interests – The couple that achieve goals together stays together. Not every couple will have the same hobbies, so you don’t have to go and join him on the football pitch, but sharing interests like DIY around the house or travelling to exotic places can bring you closer as you’re sharing experiences together.
Family goals – It doesn’t matter whether you’ve got kids, are planning on having them, or don’t want them. What is important is that you agree on family goals with your partner. The desire to have children is a delicate but significant part of your future life and is a crucial component of any relationship. Talk to each other and understand your needs and desires upfront, it’s unlikely these will change with time so it’s best to have this conversation earlier rather than later.
The reality is that there is someone out there who is a great match for you, and the right romantic union will last way past the end credits.