MIAMI (CBSMiami) — Could “happily ever after” be the stuff of fairy tales?
A new study shows many people have not ended up with the true love of their life. But can you learn to love the one you’re with, as the old Stephen Stills song advised, instead of being head-over-heels?
Some people say they don’t have that problem. Nicci Schock and Rich Bean are among them.
“We started out as friends, which I think was a good thing for us in the end,” said Schock.
Schock said Bean is the love of her life, and he says the same is true for her.
“I am definitely with the love of my life,” said Bean.
But according to the new study, Schock and Bean are in the minority. The study conducted by Siemens Festival Nights found that as many as 73 percent of people surveyed say they are “making do” in their relationship because their true love got away.
“The ‘making do’ part is sad, in the sense of, we’re not really tapped into, ‘Why are we in this, what are we looking for long term, and what do I really desire?’” said relationship expert Kavita Patel.
Patel said people settle for many reasons, from fear of being alone to wanting security and comfort with another person—anyone.
“Well, it’s better to be with somebody than nobody. I think that comes up for people,” said Patel.
What’s worse, 17 percent of respondents said they met their soul mates when it was too late — after they were already paired-off or married.
And 46 percent say they’d leave their spouse or partner to be with their true love.
“I would hope that people would fight for their one true love,” said one woman.
“The grass is always greener,” said another woman.
“There are no guarantees. You know, that could be unrequited in the end, but I think it’s brave of them, and I think that they should. I’m for it,” said a man.
A clinical psychologist said the couples are focusing on what they have–not what might have been–might not be the best idea.
“They consider the good reasons for staying and not necessarily the fact that you’re enduring and the things you thought that you were missing,” he said.
And once you’ve made an investment, some say it might be better to stick it out.
“There is always a way to make it better,” said Patel.
Patel said communication is key, even if it’s talking about tough subjects such as feelings of unhappiness within the relationship.
“It requires you letting them in on those deeper secrets, or deeper thoughts that are going on for you that you’re scared to reveal, that will allow you to connect further,” said Patel.
Schock said she is glad she held out for happily ever after.
“I’ve always kind of had it in my mind, though, that I wouldn’t settle,” said she.
“We’re really fortunate to have found each other,” said Bean.
The study, of 2,000 people in London, also found that 75 percent of adults say their definition of love changes as they get older.