Relationships are a major part of our lives and can bring us much happiness. Unfortunately, they are also responsible for much or our unhappiness. As a relationship specialist, I hear a lot of beliefs people hold about relationships.
We do not learn how to choose a partner or how to keep romantic relationships alive long term. Not only are we not learning what we need to know, we are learning relationship myths that can actually keep us from being happy.
What are some of these myths, and how can we learn to spot them so they do not ruin our chances for long-term happiness? I covered three common myths in my last blog, 3 Common Relationship Myths, but that blog only scratched the surface. Today we will continue that discussion.
Here are a few more common myths that I feel need to be debunked.
Happy marriages just happen.
Too many people believe that happy marriages just happen. They think that the happily married couples out there just got lucky. They think those relationships are easy. I admit that finding the right partner who shares your relationship values does make having a great relationship easier; however, even the best partnership takes attention, commitment, and the right attitude. Part of the problem is that we do not know what to do to make our relationships successful. We might be putting forth a great deal of effort and not getting results, which causes frustration. We need to learn how to communicate and how to give time to our relationships so that our efforts are successful.
Relationships should be 50/50.
Too many couples keep track of how much they give in the relationship compared to how much their partner gives. They are keeping score looking for that even break in effort. The truth is relationships are seldom equal, at least not at the same time. My suggestion is to give 100% to your partner as much of the time as you can. Put that effort into your relationship and make it a priority. There will be times when you cannot give 100%, and your partner will need to take up the slack. This is something you will do for each other because you are a team. The key is to make sure you are giving your all as often as you can. When your partner feels loved and cherished by you, they will be more motivated to give to you in return.
Expecting your partner to live up to your image of the perfect mate.
I see this myth played out frequently with couples and with singles looking for a partner. They have an image in their mind of what a perfect partner should be like. Sometimes this image is one they developed in childhood, or it could be they are comparing their partner to someone else. This might be a friend’s partner or even an ex. Comparisons are dangerous. Everyone is a unique individual with positive and negative qualities. If you are comparing your relationship to someone else’s, remember you only see what is on the outside. You may not be getting the whole picture. Learn to look for the best in your partner and appreciate all they have to offer.
Good relationships do not have conflict.
This is simply not true. Relationships are bound to have conflict from time to time. Couples who never argue, usually are holding back feelings. They are generally not sharing a close, intimate relationship. There is a difference between fighting that is detrimental to the relationship and conflict resolution. Name calling, yelling, threats, etc. are not good for a relationship. This is not conflict resolution. In a healthy relationship, you will not see eye to eye all the time. You are two unique people with different viewpoints and different ways of doing things. Part of the solution is to know how to have constructive conversations to solve problems and express feelings. The other part of the solution is to know when to agree to disagree. It is not necessary to have the last word or be right. The focus is really on the health of the relationship.
For more information on how to have a happier relationship, check out my book, Unmasking Secrets to Unstoppable Relationships: How to Find, Keep, and Renew Love and Passion in Your Life.
Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS
Certified Relationship Specialist