Love Advice: Once Upon a Romance…

musacchia-comic-cinderella-                           Artwork by Vince Musacchia

Do you ever get the feeling that life isn’t turning out the way it’s supposed to? Especially when it comes to romance. You go on dates or commit to a relationship, but it’s not how you imagined it. Don’t worry, it’s not your fault! It’s how we grew up. Fairy tales, romance novels, and romantic comedies have given us certain expectations of our love lives. They inspire us, guide us, and ultimately disappoint us because that’s not how things work in the real world. Most people would tell you to give up and accept reality. Not me! If you want your romantic life to change, it’s up to you to change it. So here are a few suggestions on how to add a little magic to your everyday. Inspired, of course, by the stories that inspire us all.

A little fairy tale in your everyday…..

castle Image from Philmology

A dream is a wish your heart makes

The first thing you need is to be a heroine. It requires a pure heart, an optimistic attitude, and a strong belief in your dreams. In the fairy tale world evil and selfishness are ultimately punished, while innocence and goodness rewarded. How else will we ever learn? If your goal is surrounding yourself with loyal and loving friends, then you must be worthy of them. If you want to win the admiration of a true and noble hero, then you’d better be at your best, which means having good intentions, a giving nature, and a passion for doing what’s right. The people in our lives are a mirror we hold up to ourselves; a reflection of who we really are. So be sure to look your best, inside and out.

Be brave

Purity is not enough to make someone a fairy tale heroine, she must be brave as well. Without courage she would spend her days at home wishing, hoping, and getting nowhere with her life. When the opportunity comes, you must be willing to grab on tight and throw yourself into the path of adventure. Jump down the rabbit hole, climb into the carriage, flee through the woods, spring out of the ocean, and step inside spooky castle. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

In love with the idea of love

Cinderella’s prince searches desperately for the girl who fits the shoe, even though he can’t recognize her by sight. Ariel’s prince is in love with a voice, forcing her to compete with herself. In the original Beauty and the Beast, Belle dreams of the beast begging her to save him, but because he appears as a handsome prince in the dreams she never puts two and two together. Fairy tales are full of misunderstandings and mistaken identity, even when true love is in plain sight. Don’t be in love with a fantasy, and don’t assume you know what they look like. It can keep you from seeing the truth.

A chance to shine

Usually after a makeover scene, fairy tales give the heroine a chance to make a grand entrance. Then the prince will looks up in awe and wonder why he never noticed her before. We all know the importance of looking our best and making an impression, but the point is to find a place to display yourself and your talents. Who’s going to notice you sitting alone in a corner? Make sure you find an opportunity to shine and make the most of it.

Most fairy tales begin with a search for the right person and end with happily ever after. So if you’re already in a relationship and need some help giving it a boost, then you’re better off trying for…

A little romance novel in your every day….

romance novel    Image from Erica Lea Photography

Lose the baggage

First rule of romance novels is that everyone has a past. The leading characters are usually unhappy because of a tragic past, an unhappy childhood, or a past relationship. These emotional scars keep them from taking chances, trusting others, and believing in themselves. So the first step is to take a hard look at yourself and your own behavior. Maybe it’s you who’s keeping yourself from a happy ending. Every new relationship is a chance for a fresh start, and that is too wonderful of an opportunity to waste.

Find your balance

He’s a risk taker and she’s responsible, or they’re both loners who suddenly need a change. Romance novels are about two strong personalities that must work together, learn from each other, and teach each other before they can be their best. So instead of getting frustrated every time you disagree, try listening and looking at things from their perspective. You never know, you might like the view.

Out of the ordinary

Everyday life can be a distraction. People get so caught up in work, bills, school, or errands that they forget to make time for each other. Another common element of romance novels is an adventure. Being taken out of the ordinary world and thrown into a new place, with new sights, and a new purpose, where they must work together. It’s a bonding experience. Whether it be travel, surfing lessons, or a creative project, let go of the routine and face challenges with a partner by your side.

For the greater good

What really matters to you? What do you believe in, fight for, or sacrifice for? A lasting relationship is built on a strong foundation, and at the core is common morals and goals. In romance novels, characters are often forced to put aside their differences in pursuit of what’s right. Try to find something you both value or a way to make a difference, then go after it together. Try to make the world a better place and you (and your relationship) will be better for it.

Fairy tales might help you meet someone, and romance novels might bring you closer, but there is something else to to consider. What NOT to do. For that no guidebook is better than…

A little romantic comedy in your everyday…

prettyinpink         Pretty in Pink

Don’t let yourself get stuck

In every romantic comedy our heroine starts out as a stereotype that she must break free from before she can live life to the fullest. The ignored best friend, the uptight boss, the party girl, the overly serious student, or the innocent ingénue. In real life you can get stuck thinking of yourself one way and make choices based on that self-image. Don’t wait for some man to come along to show you your potential. Figure it out for yourself! Work hard, go out and have fun. Be supportive of others, but remember to focus on your life as well. Take more chances, but also think before you leap. A well-rounded person is ready for whatever life throws at them. Even love.

Fate intercedes

Romantic comedies are full of misunderstandings, missed opportunities, and accidental meetings. It’s a comedy after all. Even though our heroine is positive that her crush is the man of her dreams, we know better. The audience knows that the annoying guy at work, or the waiter at the coffee house, or the snobby next door neighbor is really her true love if she would just pay attention! So look around. For all you know, you’ve run into your future someone a thousand times a day. Don’t sit around waiting for fate to introduce you, go out there and make your own fate!

Don’t think you know what’s best for you

“I have to focus on my career right now”

“I have no time for romance”

“I’ll know my perfect man when I see him”

“I have a checklist for my perfect guy”

“I have to be married by the time I’m this age”

“I have to be successful by the time I’m this age”

“I have a five year plan and nothing can get in the way.”

Romantic comedy heroines are notorious for assuming they know exactly how they want their lives to work out, and refuse to consider the alternatives. Having goals is essential, making a plan for achieving them is practical, and not letting anything stop you is the only way to succeed! But life requires flexibility. Opportunities you never expected may come your way and you have to be ready to take them. Life has enough obstacles. Don’t let your plans get in the way of your dreams!

Don’t wait too long to say how you feel

The last, yet biggest mistake every romantic comedy girl makes. She’s finally found the love of her life, but does she tell him how she feels? No, she doesn’t! Maybe she’s insecure, thinks he’s dating somebody else, or doesn’t want to ruin the friendship. Sooner or later it has to be done, there’s no other way to get a happy ending. So if you want to avoid the worst case scenario, don’t object at his wedding to the wrong girl, or race to the airport before his flight leaves, or declare your feelings over a microphone in front of a room full of people. Do yourself a favor – tell him right now! It’s never too late to tell someone you love them. But the longer you wait, the more comically awkward and embarrassing it’s going to be.

From fairy tales to romantic comedies, the one thing all these love stories have in common is that the best is always yet to come. Only after you’ve hit rock bottom and survived, does everything work out the way it should. So no matter how bad things get just remember, your happy ending is right around the corner.

Hope is always Emma approved.