I first talked about the impact of Hollywood Fairy-tale Brainwash in my blog, 'Hollywood I've Got a Bone to Pick With You'. I explored how the influence of Hollywood's romantic comedies and fairytales can lead us to have unrealistic expectations in relationships. But as well as believing Mr Right is just going to come along and that he will be a certain type of person, some women can hold the belief that they are just going to " know" he's the one. They believe that they'll recognise Mr Right the moment they lay eyes on him, without knowing anything about his personality.
One of my clients had a kind, loving, sexy boyfriend, yet she couldn't work out if they should be together. She expected a Disney moment - they would look at each other, the sun would set at that moment and then she would just know that he was 'the one'.
Dr Bjarne Holmes, in his research study on the influence of rom coms on relationships, said; "The problem is that while most of us know that the idea of a perfect relationship is unrealistic, some of us are still more influenced by media portrayals than we realise."
So whilst some women believe that they'll intuitively recognise Mr. Right, the reality is that most of us won't know straightaway, we won't know at one glance. Dating is like starting a new job, where you need to spend some time working and getting to know your colleagues before you know you'll enjoy it. Fortunately, my client eventually realised what a great guy she was dating and I recently heard that they are getting married.
Some people also think that Mr Right will come to the recue and solve all their problems. This very damaging and pervasive belief can be all the more powerful because it can play out without people even being aware of it. We know that this scenario isn't realistic, but the movies, the fairy-tales, and the love songs constantly tell us otherwise, raising our expectations.
As well as just showing up, Mr (or Miss) Right is expected to look and act in a certain way - they'll be able to fulfil all your needs. We go on a date and expect everything to be perfect; we have all these rules about what needs to happen for this to be the "right person", what they need to provide for us emotionally or physically. Whereas when we were children it was different, we made friends, hung out and sometimes a really great friendship developed naturally, without any preconceived expectations.
One of my clients was upset because her boyfriend never told her he loved her. He finally uttered these three words after she'd had an accident and was bleeding all over the floor. It wasn't the romantic declaration of his love that she wanted, it was a real life love story rather than the idealised fairy-tale version...
In successful relationships partners offer mutual support. Rather than focusing on how he or she can help you; think about how you can add to his or her life. Find support from your family and friends or perhaps find an independent person like a coach; your partner shouldn't carry the full emotional burden on their shoulders.
Actress Jacqueline Bisset admitted recently; "I read fairy-tales for a bit too long. I think it messed up my life just waiting for the happy ending." Don't make the same mistake - your real life treasure might be right under your nose.