It does not — unless you're Snow White or Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Even then, we don’t know if they lived happily ever after. In fact, come to think of it, the only fairytale romance we get a glimpse of how they lived in the future is Shrek.
Here are five simple warning signs and lessons I've learned to help you realize when it’s time to let go of the fairytale and come back to your senses.
1. Feeling like every other day, week or month is like the flick Groundhog Day
You might say you’re done more than three times in the course of a year and then go back to him. If each time ends with you dealing with broken promises and no forward motion, once again, you're at the point where nothing is going to change.
Lesson: Wake up and smell the coffee... time to move on and stop living in Groundhog Day.
2. Celebrating more than three birthdays without any form of commitment
As Beyoncé sings, “If you liked it, then you should've put a ring on it." Heed her advice! I wish I had: After three years and counting, I'd hoped — at the very least — he’d give me an old-fashioned promise ring. That would have shown some commitment. Instead, he gave me a plastic one from a bubble gum machine.
Lesson: Do as I say, not as I did.
3. Experiencing musical discord
In the beginning, Jason Mraz’s song “Lucky,” Matt Nathanson’s "Higher” and Colbie Caillat’s “Bubbly” filled me with joy, my heart jumping with pit-a-pats and thinking about happily ever after. Then, a shift occurred. I began relating to songs like Lee Brice’s “Hard to Love” and an oldie-but-goodie tune from Patti Austin and James Ingram, “How Do You Keep the Music Playing?"
Lesson: If the music you're connecting with begins to shift from joy and love to feelings of angst and hurt, listen to your gut.
4. Checking his smart devices for clues
He would check mine all the time thinking I was cheating on him. I shared with him — continually — that there was no one else, but he chose not to hear me. Then, I did the same one night and checked his. That's when realized I had hit rock bottom. I despised the person I was turning into, which was like him.
Lesson: If you need to check his phone — or visa versa— realize your relationship is in serious trouble and needs a smarter way to communicate, such as talking instead of being clueless about where you both are.
5. Feeling more alone with him than without him
This one's self-explanatory.
Lesson: Time to let go.