Approximately 51 million Americans read romance novels. That number increases daily. The allures of the romance novel are many. We, as a society, are in love with love. Often the heroine early in the novel meets a rogue male who initially is wealthy, handsome, fit and virile, but in need of reform in some way. That improvement comes in the transformative love he finds in the heroine. By the end of the novel, the couple is in flawless love. A happily-ever-after state where the hero has developed a lifelong commitment, become the perfect husband and father, and has shed whatever undesirable traits he has developed over a lifetime to that point.
Scientists believe that this premise is so popular because it embodies what women most want in a lifetime partner, developed over centuries of evolution.
The problem is that the flawless love we women seek lies solely within the pages of a paperback book. In the real world, life is never flawless. The perfection state we desire falls far short of its ideal.
The average woman has enough trouble with this realization. We HSP women struggle even more with the challenges this premise presents.
We notice subtleties in behavior and mood more often and sooner than a non-HSP. Every flaw is magnified. They can get under our skin more often and sooner also. Disappointment, sadness and even depression can follow.
We tend to be idealists. We look for the beauty in everything. We demand perfection of ourselves and expect it in others. It can be disheartening when the ideal is shattered.
We are vulnerable to put-downs, verbal barbs, and other attacks that a man who does not fight fair may use during inevitable disagreements. These wound, sometimes to the point of incapacitation. If a partner is not self-reflective or desirous of changing damaging habits, the relationship suffers.
Our empathy is strong. We come to know the past hurts and difficulties someone else has gone through. We feel them as though they were are own. We do not want to inflict more pain on someone who has been injured like this. Our conscience tells us we can not leave a man who has suffered as much as our partner has. The trouble comes when this loyalty to another’s needs conflicts with fulfilling our own needs.
Flawless love is as elusive as a four-leaf clover. There are relationships that come close and these should be our goal. But the above HSP traits compound the sticky issue of when to “do the work” on a relationship and when to abandon it for a shot at something more tenable.
To help us answer that question, we must:
- be aware of these differences and face those challenges with courage and knowledge;
- look for guidance and support from other HSPs;
- trust our intuition and ourselves;
- rise above guilt and shame foisted on use by others or ourselves; and
- gather our wits from solitude and introspection.
Flawless love is a myth, but HSPs can find love. The key is to honor yourself in the process.
Copyright 2021, Monica Nelson