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October 29, 2010

You have been lied to! (By Michael Myerscough)


NOTE to Readers: I’ve asked a colleague of mine, Michael Myerscough, to write a guest blog post on dating and relationships.  Michael is an expert on dating relationships and owner of The Relationship Gym, a website filled with dating tips and advice for both men and women.  Enjoy his post…
You have been lied to! (By Michael Myerscough)

When Lisa asked me to put together some blog posts around dating for grown-ups I thought I should start at the beginning. I run a course called Finding Mr Right. At some point during the classes or workshop I like to check out people’s understanding of what love really is. I do this by asking them what their favourite love stories, books or movies are. It’s a really useful exercise so I’d ask you to think about it right now. This isn’t just for people seeking dating advice, it’s also very helpful as relationship help because it could assist you to become a little more forgiving.

What are your five favourite love stories? No cheating by looking at my list, come up with your own.

Now the ones that generally come up, in no particular order, are:

Romeo and Juliet
The Bridges in Madison County
Bridget Jones’s Diary
Jerry Maguire
The Titanic
Sleepless in Seattle
Message in a Bottle
City of Angels
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Pretty Woman
Notting Hill
Moulin Rouge
Betty Blue
Pride and Prejudice
Shakespeare in Love
Donnie Darko
Gone with the Wind
Love Story
When Harry Met Sally
Before Sunset

So here comes the first mind blowing distinction. There is a world of difference between love and romance. All we are ever shown in movies and through the media is romance, people love a good romance but none of us really have the stomach for a love story. You’ve been getting very poor dating advice from the media.

There are 20 films listed above:

95% of them deal with an infatuation,
10 of them include an actual death as the end of the relationship,
13 of them set up a relationship that would have to overcome impossible challenges to survive,
In 15 of these films the couple spend less than a week together before we’re led to believe that they would live happily ever after,
One of them ends with the guy suffocating the gal beneath a pillow after she’s taken her own eyes out.

Given what I know about the nature of relationships I’d give 7 out of the 20 a 50% chance of success and the others next to no chance.

Well, if that’s love my dating advice will always be in demand. At the very best they are films about infatuation, they’ve got very little to do with love and the reality of living in love with a person. I know several actors and we joke about the roles they play, it seems that no sooner are two people happily in love than the script writers are figuring out a way of killing one of them for dramatic effect. It seems the public don’t actually want a love story, most people prefer a tragedy. Romeo and Juliet is not the greatest love story every told, it’s a tragedy about a couple of fairly messed up teenagers. The only thing that makes it seem like a love story is that so many of the love stories around us, and maybe even our own, appear to be tragedies. It’s time to grow up and get real around this stuff, we’ve been lied to and misled most of our lives about love.

We’ve been led to believe that when we meet ‘the one’ we’ll know him instantly, a spark will fly across the room and we’ll ‘just know’. Well I don’t know about you, but I’ve had that feeling so often that I’ve almost lost count and some of those soul mates became cell mates I can no longer bring myself to talk to. We’ve also been told that if it’s the right person then it will be easy. There will be no struggles or difficulties that we can’t laugh our way through. Not only that but it’s going to be the best sex we’ve ever had, it will all be totally new and we’ll both want to do it all the time. Most of all though it’s important that we both believe that we’ve never felt this way before and it will always feel this good. If you start from this position I guarantee you’re going to need relationship help at some point.

One of the biggest revelations I hold out is that we really need to give up on looking for someone perfect and start looking for someone perfect for us. Stop looking for Mr. or Ms. Perfect and find someone to love. Get some dating advice that might actually help.


Try to generate a list of healthy relationships that have been portrayed in the media. Two of my favourite shows are Six Feet Under and Brothers and Sisters. If you know any others please let me know.

Those of us who are fixated on beautiful media personalities need to know that level of beauty isn’t real. You would be horrified just how much work goes into tweaking publicity photos and those movie close ups.

Start to focus on learning some of the skills you need for getting along with a person, not just attracting one. It’s really never going to be plain sailing. We all need relationship help when it comes to communicating with the people we love as they can be the most painful fall outs. Get a copy of The New Rules of Marriage by Terrence Real. Terry is a genius and that book is the best I’ve read on relationships in the past 20 years. Or you can continue to read Lisa’s articles as she’s a genius too and I continue to learn a lot from her.

Watch your favourite movies and then take some time to work out whether that love was real. Would it look or feel the same without the clever lighting, the expensive sets and that beautiful music?

Michael Myerscough is the head coach for The Relationship Gym, the biggest relationship coaching website in the world. Feel free to get a hold of a fr** copy of ‘The Seven Secrets To Finding Mr Right’.


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I am so glad that you pointed out that there isn't an instant spark or "you just know" and it definitely isn't smooth sailing. I started to doubt all my decisions because based on the love stories my friends tell, I definitely don't get sparks and relationships have been the hardest struggle in my life! thank you for sharing

This is very useful for me to write the comment on the blog..
and then I can proudly say that, this is the first blog comment in my life..
thanks a lot...

Dear Dating Sites: I feel honored to be your first blog comment. Thanks for taking the time to write in.
Take Care-Lisa

Thank you for this article! My "love story" model happens to be my parents even though I grew up watching those movies listed. I feel like I have a pretty good grasp of the reality of love and relationships. As for examples in the media these days of healthy relationships, I have been impressed with the TV show Parenthood. It deals with a lot of relationship issues that are true to life, not just glossing over them.

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