Missed Part 1 of the top 10 relationship myths of all time? Read it here.
Myth # 6: My childhood won’t affect my relationship
Some people believe that whatever kind of childhood they had, it has no bearing on the relationships they form in adulthood.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It is impossible to not bring the influences of your childhood into your relationship. It is in childhood that we develop a ‘blueprint’ for relating. We learn and internalise what we perceive love is and how it is expressed. This then plays out in our adult relationships.
If you find you keep repeating the same relationship mistakes over and over again, you may benefit from working with a trained counsellor to understand what your blueprint is and how it gets in the way of you forming a loving a respectful relationship.
Myth # 7: A great relationship means we have no unresolved issues
Interestingly, research says that over 80% of all issues that couples have never get resolved.
When you consider this statistic, it puts into perspective all the time and energy you may have put into trying to resolve issues that never shift. You may also recognise that you have expended a lot of energy trying to change your partner!
Often, I think the question is not how you deal with difference, but what are your differences in dealing. When you look at how you go about working with differences in your relationship, then new possibilities for change and relating can emerge.
Myth # 8: Sex has nothing to do with a good relationship
Sex has everything to do with a good relationship!
I think of sex as the melting pot of all the relationship issues. If you are distancing from each other, living parallel lives and working or raising kids with no time to invest in the relationship, it makes sense that the last thing you would want is to connect sexually.
If you struggle to be open and vulnerable with your partner and express your needs and longings, then it is very unlikely that you will be open and vulnerable in sex.
Have a look at what is happening between you in the way you connect and relate and then see how that connects to your sexual life. It may be an illuminating experience.
Myth # 9: The relationship won’t improve until my partner does
Most couples come into couples therapy thinking that it is their partner that is the problem and that the partner needs to change. This attitude will keep you stuck and unable to improve or deepen your relationship in any way.
Rather than focusing on your partner, think about how can you change. What do you aspire to be at the worst of times, or when you are not feeling your best? How do you want to be in the face of your partner not being his or her best?
A principle of systems theory is that when one element in a system changes, the whole system is affected. This means when you change yourself, the relationship changes.
Myth# 10: My partner should love me unconditionally at all times
Again, I think this myth is related to the symbiotic nature of romantic love. Just like a baby who bonds with its mother and feels as one, we sometimes think that one person should be everything for us and meet all our needs.
In the distant past, we had a whole village of people to connect with and meet our needs. Often today we expect one person to meet all our needs and love us and accept us unconditionally.
When you are aware of this belief, ask yourself, what do I need to give myself? How can I love myself more in this moment? What other relationships in my life can I go to and have this need met?
What myths are you aware of?
I hope you have found my top 10 relationship myths helpful in clarifying some of the negative beliefs that we are taught or internalise as we develop in our lives. These are the most common myths that I encounter in my clinical practice and are by no means the only ones.
Do you need relationship help?
Since 2003, Clinton Power has helped thousands of couples and individuals as a counsellor and psychotherapist in private practice in Sydney and online in Australia. Clinton regularly comments in the media on issues of relationships and has appeared on Channel 7, The Sydney Morning Herald, and ABC Radio. Clinton’s eBook, 31 Days to Build a Better Relationship is available through his website or Amazon. Click here to take Clinton’s relationship checkup quiz to find out how well you know your partner.