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The Dysfunctional Myth of "Happily Ever After" #107374
05/17/11 09:28 PM
05/17/11 09:28 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 12,611
The Dark Side of the Moon
AntigoneRisen Offline OP
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AntigoneRisen  Offline OP
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The Dark Side of the Moon
Prompted by recent news coverage of Prince Willam's marriage to Kate Middleton, I've decided to explicitly tackle the myth of a "Happily Ever After" which occurs after the wedding. The implicit assumption seems to be that one finds love, marries, and experiences smooth sailing thereafter. This prevalent myth that we first encounter through fairy tales contributes to unrealistic expectations in marriage, a failure to establish a solid foundation for a relationship, and an inability to react and cope with the inevitable stresses in a productive manner.

CNN Money: Happily Ever After
Tubefilter News: Prince William and Kate Middleton are ‘Happily Ever After'
Teen Vogue: "Happily ever after: Prince William and Kate Middleton finally tie the knot."
IMDB: Prince William and Kate Middleton are ‘Happily Ever After'

I could list more, but encourage you to google "William and Kate Happily Ever After" to see for yourself.

Certainly the wedding of a Prince inspires a fairy-tale like atmosphere more so than your average wedding. Underneath it all, though, many - if not most - hope for their own fairy-tale love, wedding, and happily ever after. Our projections onto William's wedding say a lot about who we are.

Yet relationship experts are almost unanimous in advising against unrealistic expectations. "Happily ever after" makes a nice bedtime story, but it has little to do with real life. In real life here's what comes after:

1.) Handling differences of opinion.
2.) Dealing with competing or conflicting priorities.
3.) Deciding whether or not to have children, and how to raise those children.
4.) Dealing with a spouse who's sick or injured.
5.) Competing career interests.
6.) Financial stress.
7.) Dishonesty.
8.) Power struggles.
9.) A good chance of infidelity.
10.) Dealing with in-laws, other family conflicts, and conflicts with and about friends.

None of these enter into our fairy-tales, and most couples - particularly the women - spend far more time planning the wedding than planning a solid foundation for the marriage. Men spend less time planning a dream wedding, but the failure to plan a solid foundation for marriage is the same.

Here are some links that deal with unrealistic expectations:

Fight Unrealistic Expectations
Dealing With Unrealistic Expectations In Marriage
#1 Marriage Killer: Unrealistic Expectations
7 Things Newlyweds Should Never Do
The ‘happily ever after' myth
7 Myths of Happily Ever After…
What happens after happily ever after?

Michele Weiner-Davis recently tweeted, "Unrealistic expectations about relationships are the viruses in unhealthy marriages."

Dr. John Gray recently tweeted an article on 10 bad relationship habits, which included expecting too much.

Dr. Willard Harley talks about What's Wrong With Unconditional Love, and Steve Harley talks about expecting things to just go smoothly without acquiring knowledge and expending effort in his article But no one told me!.

So what do you think about "Happily Ever After"?


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens
Re: The Dysfunctional Myth of "Happily Ever After" [Re: AntigoneRisen] #107420
05/17/11 10:38 PM
05/17/11 10:38 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,468
right here waiting Offline
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right here waiting  Offline
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After 42 years of marriage and a round of infidelity five years ago, I think "happily ever after" is a set-up for anyone who takes the idea at face value. And most young lovers do.

Married at 21, I certainly bought the fantasy. If I'd not married till I was 41, I probably would've bought it then, too. I don't believe you can KNOW what marriage is like till you've BEEN married. Once you ARE married, though, the myth soon reveals itself as a cruelty joke.

At first, you think there's something horribly wrong (most likely, your spouse). But you still want to believe the myth can be your reality. Problem is, you have no idea what to do to make it happen. You know you're not happy, and he doesn't seem to be, either. So, you fight, or withdraw...which of course doesn't make you any happier. Disillusion sets in.

If you're like us, and your belief system includes "marriage is forever," you adapt, which usually means you're still not "happy" but you "get by" by shifting your focus to kids or career, and this at least serves as a distraction from what you really wanted--the warm, intimate connection promised by "happily ever after." You can become cynical about marriage along the way, if you let yourself. Living full, if only parallel, lives can hold that at bay (did for me, anyway).

Sooner or later, though, something will happen to bring the whole house of cards down on you. For many, like us, it's infidelity, which brings the whole charade to an end. In our circle of acquaintences, it always ended in divorce.

It didn't for us. We were lucky enough to find a good recovery program, and were both laid bare enough to do the work to get real with each other. That gut-grinding process took us to a new place. Not the mythical "happily ever after," but the peace and satisfaction of an eyes-open, grown-up marriage.

I'll take it.

Re: The Dysfunctional Myth of "Happily Ever After" [Re: right here waiting] #107849
05/18/11 07:04 PM
05/18/11 07:04 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,407
Not quite here
Squeaky Tree Offline
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Squeaky Tree  Offline
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Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 5,407
Not quite here
I just thought I'd link this back to here

: Mark's thoughts on unmet expectations


Married 22years (this year) ~13y since dday(?)
DD17 DS14
Which way do you like yourself? ~ Stosny
Re: The Dysfunctional Myth of "Happily Ever After" [Re: Squeaky Tree] #213167
03/04/12 11:53 PM
03/04/12 11:53 PM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 7,566
New Zealand
Lil Offline

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Lil  Offline

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Posts: 7,566
New Zealand
BUMP


AKA Lildoggie

Just found out about your spouses affair?
Infidelity Guide For The Betrayed Spouse


Re: The Dysfunctional Myth of "Happily Ever After" [Re: Lil] #216533
03/19/12 12:16 AM
03/19/12 12:16 AM
Joined: Aug 2010
Posts: 12,611
The Dark Side of the Moon
AntigoneRisen Offline OP
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AntigoneRisen  Offline OP
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The Dark Side of the Moon
This thread has been published as an article.


Critical Thinking: The Other National Deficit

"That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence." - Christopher Hitchens

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