We all know the ancient Greek myths are fun. They’re full of romance, fighting, and magic. But did you know they can also help you chart the murky waters of modern dating? It’s true! Okay, so maybe you don’t have worry about getting turned into a cow or a tree or being abandoned on an island by an insufficiently thankful significant other. (See if I ever help you out of a jam again, bub.) Still, there are plenty of time-tested lessons to be learned from these trysting gods, demigods, and mortals.
A good relationship is all about faithfulness. If you don’t think you can swing it, don’t get involved. Definitely don’t get involved with your husband’s brother, Aphrodite. That’s just begging for the most awkward of family reunions. Not recommended when your father-in-law can hurl lightening bolts.
You gotta have faith.
Psyche was in love with her husband, who only came to her in the dark of night, or all invisible in stealth-mode. Her sisters, jealous of Psyche’s clearly powerful BF, convinced her to sneak a lamp into her chamber and sneak a peek of her hubby as he slept. When she lit the lamp, she saw that she was married to Eros (better known as Cupid). But the lamp dripped oil, and Eros woke up, and then he flew out the window cause he can do that, and then Psyche has to quest to reclaim her love, blahblahblah, and I mean, it all worked out in the end, but who needs that kind of trouble?
Reach for the stars, but not the married ones.
Affairs should be a no-no from the get-go, but you should especially avoid trying to home in on a powerful man or woman’s partner. Take Semele. Nice girl, by all accounts. But then Zeus is like, “Wanna go?” And she’s like, “Sure thang!” And Hera, Zeus’s wife, is like, “Oh, hey Smelly. Oh! It’s ‘Semele’? My bad. Listen: you want a real show? Make Zeus promise to grant you one wish, then wish to see him in his true form.” And Semele is like, “Sure thang!” And she asks and Zeus is like, “Crap.” But he promised and his true form is so powerful that Semele dies from, I dunno, the burny beams of light that Zeus’s true self is made of. So . . . learn from this.
It takes two to tango.
You’re a great person. We’re sure that you are. Attractive, intelligent, funny—an absolute catch. Just because you’re so fabulous, though, doesn’t mean that no one else could measure up. Take a lesson from Narcissus—the guy who fell in love with his own reflection: find someone who loves you for you who isn’t . . . you know . . . you.
It’s okay to get nervous, angry, jealous, or scared . . .
But eating your spouse and/or your offspring is never a viable solution. Looking at you, Cronus. And you, Zeus.
Want more love advice from the Greek gods? Check out Goddess Interrupted by Aimée Carter, now on Figment. The Greek gods aren’t gone, just forgotten, and one ex-mortal may hold the key to their salvation.
Image Credits: Detail from “Venus and Mars,” Sandro Botticelli, c. 1483; Detail from “Amor and Psyche,” Károly Lotz, 1902; Detail from “Death of Semele,” Peter Paul Rubens, before 1640; Detail from “Echo and Narcissus,” John William Waterhouse, 1903; Detail from “Jupiter,” by Hans Thoma, date unknown. Thumbnail credit: Aster-oid via Flickr.