Realist vs Idealist in relationships (Which one?)

In this guide, we will discuss Realist vs Idealist in relationships and some things to consider when determining which one you are when it comes to romantic relationships. As we will see, each has strengths and points of improvement but we don’t consider one to be better than the other.

Realist vs Idealist in relationships

You may be wondering what is the difference between Realist vs Idealist in relationships. For most of us, who grew up believing in fairy tales and happy endings, we are accustomed to the way the stories end. Usually, their happy ending consists of the princess marrying the handsome prince and they lived happily ever after.

However, this is the idealist in us, happy endings everywhere but the realist sometimes speaks louder and tells us there is no such thing as happy endings, only real people falling in love and out of love. Subsequently, our idea of relationships will depend on how we perceive love, meaning as an idealist with perfect happy endings or realists where we are just people falling in love but may eventually suffer deeply. 

The question may be, what is better? To be an Idealist or Realist? Well, some people believe it is a matter of personality traits that characterize each point of view. However, we don’t think one is better than the other, it is just a different way to perceive the world, life and interact with others.

Realist vs Idealist in relationships (Which one?)

According to leonoudejans.blogspot.com, “Both idealism and realism have a Time dimension, which is represented by our age. This diagram may apply to any of our beliefs, at least to Love and Politics”. This argument may indicate how with age, our idealistic view seems to change or shift to a more realistic view. In other words, age seems to bring realism into love and relationships when we become aware that not everything is perfect or that our soulmate is out there also looking for us.

The ugly truth

Sometimes we think we know everything about relationships or at least we have the certainty ‘we do’. If you have been in a serious relationship, even if it is the first time, you start to realize that successful (and healthy) relationships take a lot of work so it is very far away from the idealist point of view where everything is perfect.

However, being ‘too realistic’ takes most of the romantic perspective out of relationships. We can have a balance when wanting a fairy tale ending but we may need to stop thinking people are predestined to be together and how the choice of partner is not even your own since it is meant to be. Also, some relationships won’t have a ‘happily ever after’ ending nor they will keep being together ‘forever’ when they get married but the truth is there are few depictions of what married life entails. 

Marriage and life

If we think about it, most Disney movies end with the prince and princess getting married and living happily ever after but is it? Married life is not easy and it certainly requires a lot of work and effort so we need to avoid being blinded by idealism. Problems will always arise either when having a relationship or when being married. 

Everything could seem perfect when you are in a relationship with someone because you still don’t know if they will leave the kitchen sink full of dirty dishes or if they have the habit of leaving their clothes on the floor. Additionally, you may experience financial problems or even disagreeing in the house chores. Life can become boring and monotonous but only if we let it be like that. 

Realist vs Idealist in relationships (Which one?)

Are you a Realist or a Romantic?

We have talked about how some people are generally either realists or romanticists and sometimes somewhere in between when talking about romantic relationships. But what are the characteristics of realists?

Realists accept people (or try to) without expecting them to change or improve. They may focus on making their relationship run as smoothly as possible. As a result, their romantic love life may become predictable but also stable. Some realists may even say their relationships become dull, lack spontaneity and excitement. 

In contrast, Romantics (or idealists) value and pursue what realists lack, spontaneity and excitement. Some romantics are even afraid of boredom and repetition. For some, this means they are not able to commit to just one person since they believe they are ‘incorrigible romantics’ and they easily fall in love just with the idea of love. 

Reality and Fantasy

It is always tempting to look for someone whose personality is just similar to yours, this means a romantic or a realist. However, having the same traits seem to be attractive at first but later, they can become the source of conflict and tension as time passes. But what if we could find a balance between reality and fantasy? Personally, we believe idealists get a bad reputation over realists. 

Well, you may think it is not possible but if we analyze in detail our personality, we may even find traits from both realistic and idealist types of personality. But it is important to look for strengths and also potential limitations. For instance, idealizing your partner like the idea of ‘perfection’ will only mask those behaviours that will arise as red flags letting us know that they are not as perfect as we might think.

Moreover, romantic or realistic traits at the beginning of a relationship can become very attractive but later on, they can become bothersome. However, try to cultivate those traits that

May not come as natural such as a desire to be spontaneous or adventurous in the case of realists but we can also think about how idealists are frequently disappointed due to their high (unrealistic) expectations about people and the world

 In contrast, let’s think about some of the strengths of your personality traits. For instance, idealists are said to be the most creative problem solvers and they are constantly trying to improve themselves. 

Idealists and romanticism

Idealists are believed to be one of the most romantic people in the world. Since idealists seem to always want to see the best in everyone, it is easy for them to fall in love, at times too often since they won’t detect people’s flaws at first but will only see perfection. As the word says, idealists tend to ‘idealize’ people and sometimes idolize. 

In the first stages of a relationship, idealists are said to be wildly romantic but struggle with commitment and long-term relationships. Being an idealist and a romantic is not a bad thing but it is very useful when we understand why we think the way we do and what things need to be changed. Finally, being an idealist and a romantic doesn’t necessarily mean we come to this world to suffer so it is really about our mindset.

Why is this blog about Realist vs Idealist in relationships important?

As we have discussed on Realists vs Idealists in relationships, idealists believe there is a happily ever after ending and they are romantics. In contrast, realists look for stability and lack of romance and spontaneity. Which one is better? Personally, we believe that each one has its strengths and points of improvement. However, we need to remember that being an idealist or a realist is just a matter of how we perceive life and relate to the people around us. 

If we were to combine the idealists’ point of view where they have what it takes to make the world a better place, expecting the best of people (even if there is a disappointment) and the realists view of stability and having their feet on earth at times, then we could have a very interesting combination of personality traits and sort of a balance that can become advantageous when it comes to relationships. 

Please feel free to leave any comments or thoughts about the content of this article!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Realist vs Idealist in relationships

What is the difference between an idealist and a realist?

Idealists envision or see things in a perfect or ‘deal’ manner. In contrast, realism tends to refer to a more pragmatic and actual view of the situation. For realists, reality has an absolute existence independent from our thoughts or ideas. 

What is an idealistic relationship?

It is believed that idealists love to be in love, they yearn to find their soulmate, their other half, the person that is meant solely for them. They believe in destiny, signs, romance and true love. They also love to date because they love others so they hope to feel a certain way when they meet ‘the one’, and when they do, they usually feel in love. 

What is the difference between a realist and a romantic?

The difference between a realist and a romantic relies on the fact that realism doesn’t beautify or make things more appealing. Romantics usually show fantastical situations, whereas realism uses facts to depict normal and ordinary life’s experiences without ‘filters’. 

Is it good to be idealistic?

An idealistic attitude can be considered a good thing because it can spur one on to pursue the best path or way, rather than the one that seems more accessible, ‘real’ or with least risks or problems. Subsequently, idealism as a concept is considered positive but should not be a substitute for realism.

Do idealists believe in God?

Idealists (a form associated with the theology of Christian Science) argues that only God and God’s ideas exist. Moreover, the world that appears to the senses is a distortion of the underlying spiritual reality.

References 

Wise, A. (2019, Jan.) Realism vs. Idealism in Relationships. Retrieved from blog.loveawake.com.

Oudejans, L. (2017, Oct.) Idealism vs Realism in Love. Retrieved from leonoudejans.blogspot.com.

Belkin, M. (2017, Feb.) Are You a Realist or a Romantic? Retrieved from psychologytoday.com.

Juanita Agboola

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behavior, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.