Relationships are not easy! I am always amazed how people spend so much time, money and energy studying, training and applying themselves in their professions to become the best they can be. Yet, when it come to relationships, many people think they will just happen and take care of themselves without much investment of time or effort.
Relationships do take work, commitment, time and energy! To create a truly rewarding relationship, you may need to make sacrifices in other areas. You may need to work less, earn less money or invest more energy into spending time with your partner. Your relationship is like a garden. You need to attend to it, spend time in it and water it frequently. The result will be you will see it bloom and it will provide you with ongoing joy and happiness.
Myth # 2: Great relationships don’t have conflict
This is a very common myth. If you have been in the early stages of romantic love with your partner, it can come as quite a shock the first time you experience some conflict. Some couples think that it is a sign that the relationship is doomed and will not survive.
Conflict is a normal and healthy part of all relationships. Think of conflict as growth trying to happen. It is an opportunity to look at your differences and understand a perspective other than your own. It is also a time when you can look at your own values and beliefs and understand your partner’s values and beliefs. When conflict is used as an opportunity for you to grow as a couple, it can actually facilitate a greater emotional intimacy between you.
Myth # 3: Romantic love lasts forever
This is one of the most common relationship myths. Hollywood movies have a lot to answer to for sustaining this myth for so long.
In most relationships, it is a normal part of couple development that when you fall in love you often experience a symbiosis. This means that you and your lover will feel like ‘one’. The brain releases chemicals that facilitate this process and help in the bonding between two people. However, it is a stage of couple development and not one that can be sustained indefinitely.
Romantic love and the ‘honeymoon stage’ does not and cannot last forever. Thinking in this way can actually cause you distress and place your relationship under enormous stress.
Myth # 4: My partner should think the same as me
Again, this relationship myth seems to relate to the magical thinking of the symbiotic or bonding stage of couple development. Sometimes the thinking is ‘if my partner and I are one, then we must think, feel, want and need the same things.’
When you consider that a couple in this stage are feeling euphoric feelings towards each other, it makes sense that they might think this. However, this is a dangerous myth to believe. It is important to accept that your partner is a separate individual to you with different likes, dislikes, wants, needs and interests.
Myth # 5: It’s good to vent all my feelings in the relationship
This myth is a dangerous one because you may think it is ok to vent all your feelings and thoughts, positive and negative, on to your partner. Taking such an approach to your relationship is potentially destructive and will impair the longevity of your connection.
It is important to consider what you share and how you share with your partner. Think about how you treat your best friend. That will give you some indication of the attitude you will want to bring to your relationship. When you aspire to be your best and treat your partner in a similar way, the dividends will be high and long-lasting.
View my next post to read part 2 of the top 10 relationships myths of all time.
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Clinton Power is a relationship counsellor and Gestalt therapist with over a decade of experience helping individuals and couples move out of relationship pain and create great relationships. Get Clinton’s FREE report: 10 Tips for Moving Out of Relationship Pain, by clicking the button below.
photo credit: Emery Co Photo