By Allie Braun
When we were growing up, true love was thrown at us in almost every way possible. It was the power that held the world of princesses together, after all.
The power of love was the force that drew people together in every Disney movie. Fate and love always worked hand-in-hand, and our storybooks always ended with a handsome prince and a “happily ever after.”
Love was all that mattered. And it always correlated with happiness.
Did you notice that? The point of true love was to get the happily ever after. The characters in these stories fell in love and lived happily ever after. That was it.
Love equals happiness. If you have love, you have happiness, which meant love was all that mattered.
Finding your true love would fix all your problems and change your life for the better, right?
As we reached our teenage years, those stories of true love seemed to grow with us. They stopped being about fairytale dreams and far-off kingdoms; they related to everyday high school lives.
Don’t get me wrong, these were still far off from the reality of actual high school, but they weren’t as make believe as the tales about mermaids and talking animals. Still, though, love was all that mattered.
Love would always win, and the stars of the show would end up happy together.
As we have loved and fallen out of love ourselves, though, we’ve begun to realize that love doesn’t always equal happily ever after. Love doesn’t bring happiness along for the ride every time.
Actually, it’s quite possible that love isn’t all that matters, thanks to one small detail: You can love him with all your heart, but not be happy with him.
Maybe, he can’t give you the life you want. You might not be able to give him the life he wants.
You can love him for thousands of reasons, yet not be happy in the relationship. And, it f***ing sucks because nothing else matters if you aren’t happy. Not even love, because of one simple truth.
Love isn’t worth it if you aren’t happy.
Our childhood stories taught us that love and happiness go hand in hand, and that’s what’s screwing a lot of us now.
We think that if we love him, we can make it work. If we love him, we are happy being in a relationship with him. We’re convinced that if we love him, nothing else matters but that’s simply not true.
Your happiness still matters. What you want your life to look like still matters.
We need to figure out how to separate out love and happiness so that we can actually decide if we are happy in our relationships or if we love the other person so much that we just think we are happy.
It takes a lot of courage to tell someone that you still love them but you aren’t happy being with them anymore. It takes bravery to break up with someone you care deeply for but aren’t happy with.
But once you do it, it’ll be the best thing for both of you.
Once the relationship is over, you can both move on and try to find the happiness you each deserve in life. And, hopefully that happiness will be with someone you love… but the happiness must come first.
The happiness piece of every happily ever after is truly all that matters.
Allie Braun is a writer attending Furman University pursuing a degree in Sustainability Science. Her work focuses primarily on relationships, current events, and lifestyle topics. Visit her author profile on Unwritten for more.
This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.