Is optimism the right call for love? Alexia DeFata checks out the details.
“The power of positive thinking” is hardly a complex idea. Positive thinking helps us look on the bright side, which motivates us, gives us confidence in ourselves and lets us radiate happiness to others — all of which are great things.
Sometimes, however, optimism can be a bad thing, especially when it comes to matters of the heart. Often, the romance spectrum consists of people who are either cynical about love or are emotionally available for everyone.
Rare are those who have found the perfect middle ground: who can walk away from a heart-wrenching breakup unscathed and OK, who can listen to their hearts and theirs head equally, who remain the ideal level of attached and unattached in messy situations.
We can’t help whether we are cynics or hopefuls when it comes to romance; it’s just our natural disposition.
And the rom-com of the century, “He’s Just Not That Into You,” tells us that — spoiler for all rom-coms coming! — it’s the hopeful romantics who win in the end. But reality, plagued with actual emotions and consequences, tells us it’s the opposite.
The cynics are more careful with whom they open up to, and the hopefuls open up dangerously frequently.
Cynics are wary of giving their hearts to just anyone. You have to earn the trust of a cynic. Until they give you an inclination that you’ve been let in, you have to continue to prove yourself worthy of their emotions.
Cynics put a lot of work into figuring this out, which ensures that only the best and most reliable people are trusted. Cynics only trust people of high quality.
Hopeful romantics are able to feel emotional towards anyone, at any time. Their feelings hit them without warning, sending them spiraling and approaching obsession in the mere days after an initial meeting.
Hopefuls are emotionally reckless, fully opening themselves up to anyone, even those who might hurt them. The hopeful is frequently exhausted with his or her own emotions.
The cynics are always looking to protect themselves from romance, and the hopefuls are always running around without armor.
In romantic pursuits, cynics know that it’s far easier to protect themselves than it is to be vulnerable, so they don’t place such a high value on romance at all.
If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t. The cynic is fine either way.
Hopefuls are addicted to being vulnerable. Their constant spewing of their innermost self, deepest emotions and private thoughts allows them to run around without any level of protection from themselves.
This vulnerability makes them get attached easily and feel distraught if things don’t work out. The hopeful is not fine with an ending he or she thinks is unfinished.
The cynics close off easily, and the hopefuls always try to give the benefit of the doubt.
If you’re romantically involved with a cynic and you mess up, prepare to feel the wrath of your decision for days, weeks or even months. Cynics are convinced that you’ll do it again, so they close off very easily to prevent further hurt.
Cynics can easily run away in the face of complicated situations to successfully avoid pain. This ability is truly invaluable.
Hopeful romantics, however, will forgive you over and over again. Contrary to cynics, hopefuls are convinced that you’ll never do that terrible thing again, even if you’ve proven that you will.
Because hopefuls aim to see the good in everyone, they continue to give chances to people who hurt them in the past. Hopefuls don’t know when to say no, which only further hurts them.
The cynics are better prepared for heartbreak, and the hopefuls are always shocked by it.
Cynics are always prepared for the worst. They enter into relationships cautiously, taking very careful steps to avoid pain and even anticipating there to be pain.
This allows cynics to maintain a distance from their partners, which, in the event of a breakup or fight, means cynics will probably come out OK. After all, the pain would come eventually.
Hopefuls are never prepared for the worst. They enter into relationships with full force, spewing every detail about their personal lives and doing whatever they can to get close as quickly as possible.
From the get-go, this run toward intimacy only makes expectations in the relationship skyrocket, which, in the event of a breakup or fight, means hopefuls will be shocked that something bad could happen. This unexpected pain deeply jolts hopefuls.
The cynics are aware of real problems in a relationship, and the hopefuls look past them to a fault.
Cynics are able to look past their emotions to recognize problems in a relationship, which means they can make rational decisions about how to handle issues that may arise before they get worse.
Because, well, if they do get worse, the cynic can run away to protect him/herself.
Hopefuls are so focused on the idea that everything will be OK that they tend to ignore important problems, which, obviously, will just catch up with them later.
The cynics get hurt less frequently, and the hopefuls are always getting hurt.
Every time cynics play out romantic scenarios in their head, they see them ending with tears, pain and rejection. To avoid that inevitable, soul-crushing pain, cynics simply disengage emotionally. This causes less frequent pain.
Every time hopefuls play out romantic scenarios in their heads, they see them ending with wedding bells and last name changes.
To reach that beautiful, electrifying finale, hopefuls constantly catapult themselves toward love. Pain is a defining factor of the hopeful’s life.
The cynics, at their worst, are called “distant,” and the hopefuls, at their worst, are called “crazy.”
It’s pretty clear which one you don’t ever want to be.
About the author
Alexia LaFata is a Writer covering culture and lifestyle for Elite Daily. She’s a proud New Jersey native and soon-to-be Boston College graduate, and her work is featured on Thought Catalog and VentureBeat. Stalk her at alexialafata.com.
This article originally appeared on Elite Daily.
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