It is nonsense is that perfect love can happen for everyone. Some will find it, some won’t. There just aren’t that many loving and lovable people to go around. Now that marriage is a matter of choice and not survival nor a social mandate nor even a requirement for raising children, we can take time and explore options. Accept that you may have to kiss many frogs before finding a prince or princess. And that there may not even be a winner out there for you.
It may be possible for some to enjoy frog kissing as a hobby. But avoid the brightly colored tree frogs. They are poisonous.
Young people easily confuse intense crushes, passion, sexual arousal and explosive orgasms for lasting love. The endorphins flood your system and they are a lot of fun. I wish kids could treat it as a learning experience for later in life. It would hurt less when things go sour. But for our paleolithic ancestors who didn’t live very long, it was probably very important to start pairing up the instant we could. The intensity of adolescent romance is probably hard-wired into us. Once in a blue moon, high school sweethearts will stay together, so who am I to object?
Likewise, many boys and girls will develop crushes on much older men and women. Experience, trust, and authority are a potent aphrodisiac mixture for the inexperienced. There are some amoral older people who will take potentially cruel advantage of this. I don’t see a way to easily change that. Laws can only scratch the surface where emotions run deep. Life may later teach you of your mistake (or not). Hope it isn’t too painful a lesson.
A very adult look at a relationship.
Even if you find that Great Love, people change. How do you adapt when what you fell in love with initially morphs into something else? Even the longest-term relationships are not continuous love stories. There will inevitably be times when you stick together because you have become accustomed to one another and heading back into that mating game is a PITA and offers no promise of finding something better.
You need a definition of love that includes times when the apple of your eye looks bruised and soft. Maybe even a patch of mold. Because:
Or because of a sense of duty. Duty gets really short shrift these days. Duty is based on the idea that there are more important things than you in this world. It can carry you thru a bad spot to a better place when all else fails. As an example, IMHO, you have a duty to your children that supersedes all others. It isn’t about you, it is about what is best for them. Living in an abusive relationship is entirely unacceptable but finding a way to stay together thru a rough spot might be the better course for them.
We are all hedgehogs to different degrees. Everyone has things about them that are unloveable. Hedgehogs have a difficult time getting close, trying to find that point where they can share some warmth without hurting each other too much.
And if you are willing, you can learn to tolerate, if not love, that which seems prickly initially. Obnoxiousness can be viewed as amusing eccentricity, it is all a matter of one’s POV. If you are really clever you can learn to love the other’s faults and flaws as what makes them unique, not just their shiny spots. Think of it as the Wabi-Sabi of love.
Be very careful in trying to change those perceived flaws. The other party may not perceive them as such. Save those efforts for self-destructive behaviors and even then keep the pressure gentle and loving.
Being aggressive about changing personality quirks and prickles will only alienate the other person and if you succeed you may end up destroying what you liked about them initially. We are all complex networks of interactive behaviors. You cannot start selectively cutting strands of a spider’s web and expect it to continue to catch flies.
Or to expect the spider to stick around.