As children we watch films set in dream-like worlds where picture perfect princesses are saved from a life of solitude and live happily ever after. Even the modern-day animated movies tend to end with the same conclusion more or less..and the leading lady is certainly always a size 8 (but that's another story).
Part of the innocence and beauty of childhood is blissfully bumbling along thinking that one day, it will be our turn - swept off our feet and destined for life-long happiness or for the boy...rescuing the girl of our dreams and being everything she's ever wanted. But does that early image of happiness alter the way we view relationships for life?
When the time for love comes, it can be a shock to the system for many reasons. It can be all consuming, painful, heart-stopping, short lived, wonderful, draining, exciting and even if it's not quite living in a magical castle with a shiny white pony and a chiselled dashing prince - it's yours. But once the early days of date nights, butterflies and exploration wears off - once you know each other's floors, imperfections and you've seen beneath the surface - do we all start to wonder if we've really found our prince or if the grass is greener?
Cinderella-Syndrome as I like to call it, is a state of mind whereby we constantly compare our lives to that of others and doubt that our happiness is genuine or as good as it could be. We're happy but are we REALLY happy? Do we REALLY have what we always wanted...whatever that is? Do we even know what we want? Is there a mental jar between the relationship we have, and the one we thought we'd have.
42% of marriages end in divorce, and although this figure is declining it's still high enough! Now, the reasons why a marriage ends are personal to everyone and these figures rocketed in the 70's when it became legally a lot easier to get a divorce. Did a lot of people opt out just because they could?
It's often said that the generation who lived through the last world war were the last to understand what it meant to really stick by someone. Separated for years, writing letters, waiting for news and at the same time praying for none. When those men returned, despite the pain, loss and inevitable damage that was done - those marriages by and large lasted until the end of their days. Perhaps because that generation appreciated something, something which we may have forgotten.
Today most of us are on social media, and most of us check our news feeds several times day (for reasons often unknown even to ourselves). We see perfect images of what happiness in a relationship should look like, across instagram, pinterest, facebook and news and gossip sites.
This 'drip-drip' feed of constant perfection, ultimately makes many of us start to feel insecure. Why doesn't my relationship look like that? Why don't I spend my days being fed coconut on a tropical beach by a stunning man? Why don't I have what they 'appear' to have? It's like an addiction, we don't want to look at those attention seeking images...but we do....we don't want to appear self-centred by posting these images....but we do. Something tells me the more we seek and strive to have this so-called perfection, the harder it will be to obtain - because we aren't in a fairy tale, our lives won't be perfect and our partners won't be either. We ask others to forgive our shortcomings, our imperfect bodies, our quirky personalities - but don't often accept those traits in our partners.
Try to remember that these couples we see online may well be blissfully happy (and I hope they are), they still have rows, they get moody with each other, they look a bit ropey in the morning, have off-days, slob out on the sofa..and ultimately these people are probably the most likely to examine their own relationships under a microscope.
Ultimately, do you want to be that person? Do you want to be the person who cares how your relationship looks to the outside world? How many 'likes' it gets? Being constantly worried if the grass could be greener? The choice is yours..
For more articles on life beneath surface level, visit Inside The Oyster