Most of us learn about relationships from books, movies, TV and magazines, family and friends. Without realizing it, we develop a set of ideas about what an ideal relationship looks like, based on the ideas we’ve picked up from these sources over time.
Things is, many of these ideas are detrimental to our search for a partner and our relationships as they boil down to misconceptions and myths about love and marriage.
It’s best to be alert to how these myths can sabotage your relationships by creating unrealistic expectations that will only lead to disappointment and heartbreak.
Let’s look at some of the more obvious ones that I believe most people believe but are actually wrong. Keep in mind that this is just my opinion. You might disagree with me.
1. There must be passion at the beginning.
Now don’t throw your arms in the air and click on the next story. Hear me out!
Pay attention to how you feel when you’re with the person. Do you feel at ease, is there a sense of security? Do you feel comfortable? Can you talk about anything?
Now, that’s a basis for a strong relationship that can go somewhere, and if you can make each other laugh, even more so.
2. Happy couples do everything together.
The idea that you are going to spend all your time with your partner and that that will make you happy, is a myth. Sooner or later everyone wants to spend some time alone and should.
This is why a lot of people think long distance relationships don’t work.
Actually, one of the best kept secrets of happy couples is prioritizing alone time alongside couple time. Couples that learn to cherish their own company and the alone time their partner needs, have stronger, longer lasting relationships.
Happy couples who stay infatuated with each other are those who don’t spend every minute together, but allow each other time to peruse hobbies and spend time with personal friends.
Personal time also allows each person to their recharge their battery. It gives you time to re-evaluate where you stand with yourself, where you’re going as a person, not a couple. If you don’t make time for self-reflection, you lose yourself in a nebulous “we” and “us” identity that does an injustice to who you are as an individual.
3. Happy couples never fight.
That may be your ideal, but sadly couples who don’t fight also don’t share. People who never fight are not happy; they are not dealing with issues in their relationship.
One long-term study of marriage by Dr Terri Orbuch found that couples who reported no tensions or differences about money, family, spouse’s family, leisure time, religious beliefs, or children were not very happy over time.
One of the most consistent and established research findings in all of psychology is that what matters is not if coupes argue but how they argue. There is such a thing as arguments that don’t deteriorate into a mud-slinging match, but allow each partner an opportunity to express their needs and wishes in a way that leads to productive outcomes.
Don’t expect there to be no conflict, that’s an unrealistic expectation. But work on doing battle in a productive, healthy and supportive way.
Arguments is how problems issues are sorted out, so don’t shy away from them, but fight as nice as you can.
4. Happy partners have the same interests.
If you spend your life looking for someone who shares the same interest as you, you might miss out on the perfect life partner. Although it’s great if a couple shares the same interests, you just can’t expect that to necessarily happen in real life.
Don’t think that if you love opera and your potential life partner would rather go to a karaoke bar, you will have nothing to talk about and will be unhappy together.
No, think of it this way: being with someone different from yourself will broadened your experience, and introduce novelty to your life.
The emotional connection you share is surely more significant than any interest you might share.
5. Happy partners always get along with each other’s relatives and friends.
Nope. Do not expect your partner to unconditionally love your family and friends. Just don’t. You will probably also not like all of your partner’s family and friends either. That’s just life.
You are in your relations for each other, not to be one big family with everyone in your separate circles. Make the best of the connections that work, and limit the ones that are award. Beyond that, the best you can do is to communicate your feelings to each other and work out strategies to navigate each situation as best you can.
6. He has to make the first move.
In a heterosexual relationship dynamic, women still tend to think that men have to make the first move.
This is one area where men have progressed more than women: men are not afraid to let women make the first move, but women are not always up for it.
If you are a woman looking to get with a guy, make sure you take the situation into your own hands.
Gone are the days when girls get to play the damsel in distress. Step up and tell him what you want. You’ll be glad you did.
7. You need to be honest with each other.
A good relationship is built on honesty, but there are some times when it is better to keep the truth close to your chest.
For example, if your ex-boyfriend is a better kisser than your new boyfriend, he doesn’t need to know that. It might be killing you to think about it, but trust us, it’s better for everyone if your new beau doesn’t know how he stacks up against the old competition.
Honesty is important but in the right places.
8. You need to be best friends.
Your boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t need to be your best friend. In fact, you probably already have a best friend when you met this person so why does your current best friend get the shaft just because you have someone to love now?
It’s not fair and it’s not a burden your new love wants to have. Friends are different than lovers. Don’t mix the two of them and you’ll be happier for it.
9. Don’t end the day angry with each other.
There’s an unwritten rule, more of an internet meme really, that says you shouldn’t go to bed angry if you love each other.
The truth is that sometimes you need a little time and space to process your thoughts and feelings and if you keep kicking that dead horse because someone on the internet said you have to resolve issues before going to bed so you can have a fresh start in the morning, you’ll grow tired of that expectations.
Instead, focus on dealing with things as they come up and be honest about when you need time and space to resolve your own issues before moving on.
Sometimes you’ll sleep on it and sometimes you won’t.
10. Say you are sorry.
Another rule that makes people unhappy is the idea that you have to say you are sorry, no matter what, in a relationship.
Trying to repair something that is broken might not be your responsibility. If you didn’t do anything wrong, you don’t need to apologize.
Don’t assume something is wrong if it isn’t. Don’t let your ego get in your way either, but if you have no reason to apologize, don’t create one.
Relationships are complicated and getting more complicated by the day.
People are different now than they used to be and we all have such high expectations of how we should be in the world that many of us just end up disappointed in the end.
Focus on how you can make yourself happy and what you can bring to the table instead of what others might have to offer you and you’ll have an easier time finding someone you can share your life with, instead of looking for someone who can make you happy in the end.