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This lesson about relationships will change the way you watch Disney movies
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Disney movies often promote "happily ever after" relationships, promoting perfection. Here's why that may be a problem for relationships. - photo by Herb Scribner
Can Disney ruin your relationship?

For Claudia Prothero, a therapist and mother, it did.

Prothero wrote for The Huffington Post back in March that Disney had a negative affect on her relationship with her partner, one that she eventually had to fix to save her relationship.

An avid viewer of Disney movies as a child, Prothero wrote she was always searching for her Prince Charming a perfect partner who would make her life a Happily Ever After story. But she eventually realized seeking perfection in her partner wasnt a good idea, since she was unlikely to find a partner who was completely perfect in every way she wanted.

Perfectionism encourages us to want someone to be 100 percent our prefect person, and when they are not to focus too much on the 20 percent or so that may not be right, rather than the 80 percent that is good, Prothero wrote. These belief systems seem to be laid down in childhood based upon our experiences and the things that we are exposed to.

Prothero wrote that relationships are often hard work and far from the perfect story that Disney films promote. Rather, relationships go through constant ups and downs, Prothero wrote. Realizing that fact helped her feel more satisfied with her relationships because she was more willing to love someone in spite of their imperfections.

When part of me believed that the person I loved needed to be perfect, the flip side of that was for me to be truly loved I too would need to be perfect, Prothero wrote. Learning that love can cope with imperfection has meant that I can feel loved and loveable despite all my fallibilities. As after all, I am no Disney princess.

Finding a perfect partner is no easy feat. In fact, one professor in the UK calculated that people have a 1 in 285,000 chance of meeting a perfect partner, according to BBC. That means its less likely to find a perfect partner than it is to find alien life.

But there may be a formula to help you find your perfect partner, BBC reported. If you reject the potential suitors for the first 37 percent of your dating experiences, everyone you meet afterward will likely surpass the ones before leaving you more open to find a perfect spouse, according to BBC.

Still, some research has indicated that the perfect partner one who checks off all the boxes on a list of desirable qualities in a partner doesnt exist, at least not in the way we think.

For example, research published in 2014 in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that finding the perfect partner is virtually impossible to find since everyone feels differently about what makes a partner perfect, according to Time magazine.

The research, which included three studies from the University of Texas Austin, also found that people often change their perception of what a perfect partner is when they spend more time with someone theyre attracted to.

The findings show that who we ultimately determine to be an ideal mate is unique, and we can greatly differ in our opinions of who is attractive, intelligent, popular, and who would make a good relationship partner, Time magazine reported.

To find this, the researchers conducted three studies. The first had participants rate people they never met, the second had people rate people theyd known for a few months, and the third asked participants to rate people they knew for at least three years.

When people ranked individuals they didnt know, people tended to agree on who was a catch and who wasnt it came down to superficial markers like good looks and likability, according to Time magazine. But researchers also found that as people got to know each other, perceptions changed and people tended to disagree about who seemed like a good partner and who didnt.

In fact, the best marriages and relationships dont include partners who find each other perfect. Rather, as Aaron Ben-Zeev, Ph.D., of Psychology Today explained, relationships flourish when partners help make each other more complete.

Profound loving relationships are those involving harmonious relationships in which both partners feel that they are personally flourishing within the relationship, Ben-Zeev wrote.

Ben-Zeev suggests that relationship seekers find a partner who will help them be a better person, which will allow the couple to be in a harmonious relationship, in which both partners provide the necessary characteristics to help the other succeed and grow as a person.

Love is wonderful, but if love obstructs personal flourishing, the relationship will not last long, according to Ben-Zeev. Romantic profundity is not just a subjective pleasant feeling or a matter of intellectual admiration; rather, it is a profound satisfaction that comes from the increasing flourishing of the partners, both separately and together.
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