Real Love Doesn't Always Have A Spark, So Stop Waiting For One

Photo: Megan Betteridge / Shutterstock
couple holding sparklers

We were raised on Disney princesses. Some day, our prince would come and we'd see him across a ballroom, and it would be love at first sight. Or he'd kiss us out of our enchanted sleep, and it would be love at first sight. Or he'd fly upon his magic carpet and it would get the point.

Basically, a prince would come as Snow White says, the only one for me and he'd be so romantic we couldn't resist. Of course, we're not dreaming of Prince William (maybe some of us are), and we're not thinking of magic carpets and enchanted sleep. Substitute "Ferrari" for a magic carpet, and "barstool" for enchanted sleep, and maybe you're closer to our truth.

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But what we believe in is just as much a fairy tale as those things. We think real love has to have a spark  that there's this magic meeting of souls when we see each other, and a wild something thereafter. Maybe a few relationships have that, but they're few and far between.

Actually, real love doesn't always have a spark. So stop waiting for one.

Real love comes quietly. It's built up in a series of small gestures, none as grand as waking you from an enchanted sleep. It's the coffee pot turned on in the morning, the car washed for you. It's driving you to Urgent Care when you have the flu and making you chicken soup when you get home.

It's putting up with your dog, who hates him. It's a grocery run for nacho fixings, a drive-thru trip where you don't have to pay. It's buying your favorite beer, or picking up your favorite wine not just picking it up, but knowing what it is. This is real love. This is the true love you're waiting for.

True love doesn't announce itself. There might be a spark of mutual interest but that's not true love. Of course, when you meet someone you might like, there's a spark of lust, of intrigue.

You're interested in a person; you might want to take them home and take their clothes off. You want to talk to them all night. But you don't want to run off and get married. You don't want to move in with them and have their babies. You might think he's hot or you might think she's interesting. But you don't feel true love.

True love takes time. It takes getting to know a person. And once you get to know them, true love might be quiet. It might not announce itself in a fanfare of trumpets and fairy dust. It's a quiet, mutual caring for one another. It takes time to build up that type of relationship, and once you do, you need to keep it, spark or not. Real love is hard to find. Real love is precious.

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While true love doesn't always have a spark, it should have a spark in one place: the bedroom. You should want your significant other. You should desire them, want to become one with them.

You should like their body. You shouldn't be ambivalent or ho-hum about that part of the relationship. True love doesn't always have a spark, but good sex does. And good sex is part of any decent relationship.

So stop waiting for your prince. He's not coming, honey  on a flying carpet or a Ferrari. He won't arrive and sweep you off your barstool with a kiss. If you're waiting for that perfect spark, you're missing out on tons of guys, many of whom you could share real love with, and a great spark in the bedroom.

Don't discount a man just because you don't feel some kind of chemistry. You should want to bang each other. But you shouldn't necessarily feel what we call "chemistry," or the desire to be with each other above all things. You don't need a man who refuses to eat because he's pining for you. That's creepy.

Stop waiting. Get out there and look. Tinder makes it easy to find hotties. But don't discount the guy that doesn't strike your eye right away. He might be the one to fix your fridge or watch Stranger Things with you, even though he's seen it already.

True love doesn't need a spark. It just needs what love does: caring, engagement, and self-sacrifice. And guys like that are worth their weight in Rapunzel's gold.

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Alissa Scully is a freelance writer who writes about political activism, relationships, and media work. Follow her on Instagram.