Lessons Learned - Real relationships are not a fairy tale

Welcome back to a brand new Lessons Learned week! Where I share magical tidbits from the ever-evolving tapestry of my life and try to share what I've learned from it. 

I grew up on Disney, Puccini operas, classic musicals and romance novels. (Okay there was some other stuff mixed in as well) But those four things plus my inherent nature, skewed me towards being a die-hard romantic. Of both head and heart. Even when I saw real relationships struggle in real life, I assumed it was because they stopped believing in the power of their love.

Due to BougieDad's unrelenting high standards, I had very few dates in junior high or high school unless I snuck out. Left up to him, I would have gone to Homecoming, Winter Formal and Prom and called it a wrap. Of course, we employed a lot of "group dates" and I did (on occasion) sneak out. Those poor dudes I dated in my teens. There they were just trying to put smooth sentences together and I was waiting on music to play in the background. 

My poor prom date trying to cop a feel and me lecturing him on the virtues of waiting for your one true love... classic. Especially since I now know dude was a professional street pharmaceutical salesman who had chicks lined up across the county? No wonder he looked at me like "They still make you?" Bless his heart, he's still in jail. [Can't tell you how proud I am that my prom date is incarcerated! Oooh wait, does that give me street cred?]

Moving on. It wasn't until my sophomore year of college when the guy I thought I was getting engaged to married someone else over Thanksgiving break that relationships lost their Disneyesque bright shininess. Talk about Icarus flying to close to the sun with wax wings and falling to earth? That was me. To go from thinking love was a sun-drenched Swiss Alps adventure to thinking men weren't bout shiggity was quite a reversal.

It took years (years I say) before I found any sort of solid footing in the relationship game. My twenties were shot. And it wasn't until my early thirties that I figured out that even though I no longer believed in the fairy tale, I was waiting for it and judging men against that standard in my head. Like a child who no longer believes in Santa Claus but can't help checking out the chimney? Yep, that was me. 

It wasn't until my mid-thirties that I even understood how to disagree in relationships without it turning catastrophic. I learned how to communicate in a way that wasn't either overly conciliatory or retaliatory. I understand that for a relationship to work, you actually have to work. And no magical being is going to wave a wand and make it all better. And most importantly, not every relationship is meant to be.

Bless my heart, I'm still such a believer in signs and destiny. I think people come into your life for a reason. It didn't occur to me until a few years ago that that reason is not always the one you think it is. Anywho before I get maudlin let me shout out MGM studios, Harlequin and Disney for the excellent imagery of happy, dancing Caucasian folks forever etched into my brain. 

BougieLand, do we all carry preconceived notions about relationships from childhood into adulthood? Good, bad and ugly? What were yours? What have you learned? And what would you tell someone just starting to date about what to expect? Do share. The floor is yours...