Happily Ever After??

Posted on February 9, 2024 by Amanda Hill, LMHC, NCC, BCC

We all know that relationships take time and effort. They take patience, a willingness to admit your own wrongdoings, and a continued effort improve and put in the work in - especially in regard to your own struggles. Strong relationships consists of a lot of forgiving… and yes, active choices to forget… which if you’re at all like me, is often the hardest part.

But have you noticed that in today’s day and age, with television, radio, books, podcasts, etc - we often hear the opposite? The media seems to be pushing a much different, and very false narrative that relationships are supposed to be easy - and if yours isn’t, you should pack your bags and go find someone better. My personal belief is that this may be one of the strongest factors in why our divorce rates are so high, or why most relationships just don’t last very long anymore.

We start off as children watching cartoon-like fairytales that strongly influence and shape our blank slate of a mind, with a prince rescuing his princess and then the two of them running off into the sunset for “Happily ever after”. We get a little older and begin to watch more teen-oriented shows that certainly present families with more “real-world problems”, but somehow when the characters are mentally, emotionally, or physically hurt by one another, the problem gets so easily talked about and resolved (as if it didn’t cause or trigger anyone’s personal trauma) and then everyone hugs and moves on with life like it never happened. Am I right?

Where did the complexity of human nature go? More often than not times these difficult kinds of conversations do NOT go over that smoothly. You or your partner may be upset for days, months, or even years over certain issues. Yes, in a perfect world, it would be amazing to resolve all arguments/disagreements/fights in less than 24 hours. But we all know that’s not the case, at least for most of us.

Now I’m not saying that all of our t.v. executives should start creating shows where there are families or couples fighting 24/7 with no efforts to resolve the issue. But I do believe that the writers of many popular shows continue to choose to discount the harshness of relationships in life when presenting their “newest pilot”, which then leaves us with no other choice but to fill our minds with what is a serious false sense of reality. We find ourselves watching hours and hours of tv and then looking over at our spouse and feeling disgust, disappointment, or resentment toward them for not being just like the character we are falling in love with on our favorite show. The ACTOR/ACTRESS - who is being paid, reading off lines, and pretending to be who you imagine your immediate family member should be in real life.

I don’t want to discount the more practical stories of relationship struggles in the adult realm of what we watch on t.v. today, possibly a lot more than what was out there many years ago, but what I find most disconcerting is the strong shift in what we are exposed to and naturally led to believe in those first extremely vital years of our lives (as small children) when the brain is developing and learning to make sense of it’s reality. Those fairy tales that many of us unknowingly walk into our adult worlds expecting to find in our future partners. The “white picket fence syndrome”. This is the false narrative I believe that we need to correct.

The narrative that your partner should always make you happy, or else they aren’t the one. The narrative that tells us our partners should drop what they are doing at work or when they are out with their friends, etc. anytime we request it, no excuses. The narrative that our partner needs to pick up wherever we can’t or don’t want to - with the expectation that they will magically fit us just right - like that puzzle piece that’s been missing all of our lives. Worst of all…  that our partner should “complete us”.

NO!!!!! Please hear me. 


Before committing to an intimate relationship, you should be doing everything in your power to feel complete ON YOUR OWN. This means having goals that you are actively working toward, friends you regularly hang out with, activities that you enjoy doing for fun, and an idea of what inspires you to be better. Going into a relationship expecting another person to make up for the damage done to you in the past, and due to your own baggage, is completely unfair to that person. Anytime you enter into a relationship extremely broken and fragile, you run the risk of snapping at your partner anytime he/she does anything that triggers you. You become quick to blame, creating an even bigger argument, with a partner who immediately gets defensive and tells you that you have no right to feel what you feel because they are so caught off guard.

You, and only you, are responsible to have a plan put into place to help heal any wounds you struggle with, whether it be before meeting your significant other, or after. It’s YOUR responsibility - not theirs.

So, what’s the easiest way to achieve this level of healing and “oneness” with yourself? COUNSELING!!! Psychotherapy, Group therapy, Family therapy, Individual therapy… whatever applies most to and for you. This is one of the many things counselors are meant for. Let them help you dig deep into those layers of trauma, pain, hurt, or confusion and process it with you so that you are able to look at your new relationship and partner with a more positive, less blaming mindset.

At Connections of Hope, we are happy to assist you with this and/or any other concern or struggle you are facing today. Please reach out anytime and let us help direct you to the happier, healthier version of yourself! www.connectionsofhope.com

Credit: Amanda Hill, LMHC, NCC, BCC