Dr. Judith Wright | March 3, 2016

Happily Never After:
Getting “Ogre”
Fairytale Romance

How many of us have these idyllic pictures of romance: frolicking together in the snow, playing on a sandy beach, living happily ever after? Society, movies, books, and even our social media accounts have set us up with expectations that are not only false, but potentially damaging.


When the bar is set at “living happily ever after,” meaning never engaging in any sort of conflict or deeper understanding, well, who can expect anything but failure? Almost all of us have this Cinderella perspective on our relationships. We think it’s up to our partner to make us happy, as if we only find “the one,” we’ll resolve all our problems and live perfect lives.

The truth is, no one has a perfect relationship. Romanticized and idealized versions we’ve seen in the media leave us feeling like our relationships are inadequate. We end up in a constant state of disappointment because we’ve walked in with ridiculous expectations. This “Disney love” leads to devastation and confusion when our real-life relationships don’t match up with our fantasy ideals.

Part of unlocking your relationship’s full potential is letting go of the myth of “fairytale romance.” (…and maybe even embracing our inner ogre.)

Embrace the Adventure of Romance

We have to dump these false ideas about fairytale romances and embrace the reality of what we have. Romance can be defined as: 1. A brief, intense love affair; or 2. A sexual love when another person or the relationship is idealized. Yikes!! That doesn’t sound like true and lasting love, does it?

The third definition, which speaks to the truth of romance, is: 3. Romance is an exciting adventure with the potential for heroic achievement. Now, doesn’t that sound a little more accurate…and much more exciting? Who wouldn’t want to be a brave hero or heroine who conquered their weaknesses, recognized their strengths, and embraced the adventure of relationships?!

We have to be brave to share our truths and allow ourselves to show who we really are. We have to be unafraid to allow our inner ogre to come out and say all the things we are afraid to say. Being our true selves is the real challenge in relationships. It’s all about honesty, making our yearnings known, and expressing our feelings openly and without reservation.

Life, just like romance, is an adventure. It’s fraught with conflict and ups and downs, but if we let go of the myth of the fairytale, we get to the real heart of the story. We start to fight together and work FOR the relationship. Love isn’t easy—and it shouldn’t be. Love is beautiful because it nurtures us and forges us into who we can become. We have to work for it, but engaging in a partnership with another person makes the adventure so much better.

Great Relationships Require Great Fights

We all know fights and conflict can be a little scary sometimes. We engage and express our yearnings and then we gauge our partner’s reaction. If it’s positive, we might keep moving forward, but if it’s not as positive, we might begin to withdraw and avoid conflict.

Relationships that encourage growth are going to have conflict. Rather than shutting down at the first sign of trouble and heading for the hills (or clamming up and giving the hidden middle finger), growth-focused relationships require us to keep fighting it out. We have to understand each other and express our feelings.

If you find yourself falling into a pattern where you avoid conflict or where your partner avoids it because it’s just easier, it’s time to step back and assess.

If he’s dissatisfied and she’s dissatisfied then there’s definitely conflict to be had. There are issues that need to be brought out into the open. It’s time to lay it all out on the table. Test the relationship and really push the limits to see if you can take it the distance. If you have reservations, explore what they are and bring them out into the light.

True Intimacy Comes from Conflict, Not Riding Off into the Sunset

In fairytales, no one ever discusses anything. When did Sleeping Beauty bring up her concerns? Fairytales tell us a story about the very beginning of a “magical” relationship, then you see the happy couple sail off into the sunset before it even gets started. In reality, the beginning of relationships, when you’re first starting to get to know each other, can be absolutely critical moments to put your honest self out there.

True intimacy is forged through conflict, not avoidance.

We often make relationship decisions out of convenience or because we’re at a time in our life where things feel like they’re in a natural pattern. However, whether a lease is up, your friends are getting married, or you’re afraid of being alone, that doesn’t mean you’re ready to fully jump in. Don’t slide into your relationship. Decide to move forward.

Get your truth out there. Engage in your relationship and examine the pieces. If you have reservations or concerns, address them and get everything out in the open.

Committing to expressing your truth is one of the biggest gifts you can give to your relationship. It keeps it real and viable. It keeps you both moving forward, looking to the future, and growing together. Great relationships require great fights. True intimacy comes from ongoing honesty and openness.

To continue the conversation on engaging with others and to discover ways to bring out your best self, click here to learn more about our next More Life Training.

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About the Author


Dr Judith Wright is a media favorite, sought-after inspirational speaker, respected leader, peerless educator, bestselling author, & world-class coach. She is a co-founder of Wright and the Wright Graduate University.

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