Relationships

Breaking Through the Romantic Fantasy Frenzy

INTERVIEW WITH WORLD FAMOUS HUMAN BEHAVIOURAL SPECIALIST – DR JOHN DEMARTINI

He rides in on a white horse and sweeps her off to his castle where they live happily ever after. If you’re like most people, you probably buy into at least one of the common cultural myths such as everlasting passion and the eternally romantic notion of a ‘soul mate’.

Dr. John Demartini conducted this interview on matters of the heart and we’ve got it to share with you. Enjoy!

Q: We tend to have this fantasy that when we meet someone we should live happily ever after. Do you think this sets us up for disappointment?

These myths are perpetuated by stories, whether they are in childhood fairytales, popular movies or the idealized romances that live in your mind. If you continue to believe in any of these myths, you are living in a falsehood; they will run your life, shape your expectations and make you feel as if everyone else gets the fairytale but you.

There are a number of people who still believe the purpose of a romantic relationship is happiness. Relationships are about fulfillment, which is the blending of both positive and negative emotions and experiences. In the marriage vows we pledge to love for richer and poorer, in sickness and in health, for better and for worse. These vows are not one-sided and neither should our perceptions be.

So if your idea of the perfect partner is more good than bad, I suggest you stop looking now. If you aspire to the movie “Pretty Woman” then you need a reality check. Quit expecting a lover to be constantly sexy, turned on, and available – never tired, irritable or disinterested. Try not to cling to the idea of the mythical spouse who’s only loyal, supportive and non-judgmental. The minute you start wishing for the perfect partner you’re living in a fantasy.

Years ago I had a wealthy client in New York who had written an exact list of the qualities of her ideal man. It ran like this: “I won’t date a man unless he has a minimum of $15 million, is at least 185.4cm tall, has brown hair and eyes, owns a large company, is socially prominent, has at least one beautiful house, loves the finest in everything, is utterly devoted to pampering me.” This went on and on. Her list was all positives without any negatives. She had a list that no human being could ever fulfill. She was looking for a Hollywood version of her fantasy, but what she kept attracting were men with no jobs or money who wanted her to support them. I received a call from her two years ago: “Dr. Demartini, is there any way you can come to Hawaii for my wedding? I’ve finally found my man!” I couldn’t make it, but in the back of my mind I was thinking that I had to meet this guy.

Sometime later, I was giving a seminar in California and bumped into her so I asked her, “how’s married life?” “Ahhh, he turned out to be another loser. Gotta go. Bye.” She didn’t want to talk about it. I suspect she found out the other side to her fantasy because every human has both positive and negative traits and love is embracing both sides. So the moral of the story? Replace fantasy with fulfillment.

Men have their fantasies too such as ‘she needs to look like the centre spread of Playboy and never grow old’. Hanging onto that dream will cost him love if he stays and money if he goes. If we live by impossible fantasies, we’ll experience extreme emotional swings, instead of balanced love. When fantasies fall apart, people tend to resent someone else for not making it come true. Yet they set themselves up for that disappointment right from the start by denying the negatives, exaggerating the positives and placing the other person on a pedestal. When you recognize that every human displays both positive and negative traits, you can say goodbye to all pedestals and start to enjoy the real joys of being in love.

Q: Can I expect my partner to change?

There’s a funny off-Broadway musical called I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change. Sound familiar? Have you ever thought you’d found the perfect mate and then spent the rest of life time trying to “fix” him or her? Futile, isn’t it? If you try to fix or change somebody they’ll just give you resistance, but if you honour and thank them for who they are, as they are, they will react in the opposite and give you assistance. Every human being just wants to be loved and appreciated for who they are.

Q: You often refer to the balance of support and challenge being healthy for a relationship. Explain.

The most successful relationships are ones that are balanced with support and challenge. We need this equilibrium of positive and negative in order to grow and evolve. It is crucial to understand that we all own and display all personality traits in equal quantities. Too often we expect our partner to be a one-sided being, but this leads to frustration, disappointment and withdrawal when your partner inevitably expresses the other side. It is wiser to ask the question “where do I have the trait I am judging my partner for” and “how does my partner expressing that trait benefit me in my day-to-day life”? As long as you answer; ‘I don’t have that trait and it doesn’t benefit me’, you will be caught. But as soon as you break through the limitation of your perception, you will assist your relationship to grow in maturity and mutual appreciation.

Q: To some Valentine’s Day is a cruel reminder of not having a partner. What would you say to all those who dread ‘V’ day?

It is a one-sided perception to think that a relationship will bring you happiness. Haven’t you ever got something you longed for (a new job or house) and instead of being happy you discover another set of crazies, a fresh set of challenges, unexpected problems? There are also negatives to being in a relationship. One of the greatest myths of all time is if I’m not involved with someone, I’ll be lonely. Have you ever been physically close to someone, even in bed with them, and felt a huge distance between you?

When you focus on yourself first, you can walk into a relationship empowered instead of being driven by a sense of need or desperation. A soul mate isn’t someone who gives you what you lack, but instead is a person who you can share your life and dreams with.

Q: What would you say to those people who feel that they are missing love in their life?

When you don’t understand human behavior you can miss the love that surrounds you 24/7. People show their love and appreciation in ways that reflect what is important to them. A father who has a high value on education will buy his child a book containing information sharing what he thinks is valuable to learn. When we give gifts to people don’t we give what we would most love to receive? So when you don’t honor the form of what someone thinks is important, you can miss the depth of love that is being shown to you every day.

Q: Can you give a last bit of advice to our readers?

Love yourself first. This does not mean that you need to build up your self-worth so you appear more attractive. For you to experience the affection that someone else has for you – warts and all, it is wise to cherish yourself fully. That means choosing to see yourself in 360 degrees with your unique expression of every character trait. When you embrace your dark and light, your supposed duality, then you are ready to experience unity. Remember, if you can’t love yourself and if you don’t value yourself then how can you expect someone else to?


HERE are the 10 most destructive relationship myths, adapted from The Heart of Love by Dr John Demartini. He says if you agree with any of the following statements, this generally indicates you are living a fantasy.

  1. A new relationship will make me happy
  2. When I find my soul mate I will feel complete
  3. The right relationship will last forever
  4. Once we get past these rough waters, it will be smooth sailing
  5. A good relationship requires sacrifice
  6. Great sex only happens at the beginning a relationship
  7. In the right relationship, I won’t have to work at it
  8. If I’m not involved with someone, I’ll be lonely
  9. Children complete a marriage
  10. Opposites attract

Dr. John Demartini is an international educator specializing in human behavior and social dynamics. He is the founder of the Demartini Institute, author of over 40 books and creator of The Demartini Method™. For more information regarding Dr John Demartini, his live events and products, contact the Demartini Institute: info@drdemartini.co.za or visit www.drdemartini.com

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