From almost birth, we are brought up with notions of what a relationship should look like. Unless you live a completely solitary life, it’s almost impossible to escape some of these ideas. Let’s take a look at some common relationship myths that are still pervasive in society today, and see how we can debunk them.
5 Common Relationship Myths to Stop Believing
Relationship Myth 1: If it’s “real” love, the relationship will be easy.
I know this isn’t romantic to say, but unfortunately love alone will not make a relationship succeed. The media often paints this picture that as long as you love one another, the relationship will work out beautifully and you’ll live happily ever after. While that would make life considerably easier, that’s not true nor realistic!
Relationships take work, and a lot of it. You have to make time for one another, be willing to compromise, work on open and honest communication, and that’s just the bare minimum. Love is an important factor in most relationships, but it will not save a partnership that lacks those basic components. If it did, we’d probably all end up with our high school or college sweethearts.
Relationship Myth 2: Platonic friendships can’t be unhealthy.
We’re all too familiar with the tale of an unhealthy heterosexual relationship, where one or both parties are totally toxic, controlling, and/or possessive. You’ve probably know someone who has been in an unhealthy dating relationship, and you may have even urged them to leave it.
However, a common relationship myth we don’t typically stop to consider is that friendships are always healthy and fulfilling. That couldn’t be farther from the truth! Platonic friendships can absolutely be unhealthy. Sometimes you befriend someone and later discover that they’re totally self-absorbed, make every situation about them, only contact you when they need something, etc.
Even friendships that were healthy at one point can turn sour later. Friendship break-ups are totally possible; you don’t have to keep anyone in your life who brings you down.
Relationship Myth 3: They aren’t doing X for me, so they don’t really love me.
It’s totally frustrating when you feel like your partner is not loving you the way you prefer. It can feel like they don’t actually care about you, and aren’t noticing what you need. But what’s likely happening is you and your partner simply have different love languages!
For example, in my own relationship of five years, my main love language is quality time but my boyfriend’s is words of affirmation. Compliments and affectionate words don’t come naturally to me; I typically subscribe to the belief that less is more in that area. I also always found myself confused that my boyfriend wasn’t eager to plan fun events with me every weekend or watch my favorite shows with me. But when I found out about love languages, a lot about our relationship started to make sense.
Another thing that has helped us out a lot is learning about our respective enneagram types. I’m a total sucker for personality tests, but the enneagram is one of the most helpful and useful tools I’ve found to help understand not only myself, but my boyfriend, family, and friends too! (Also, there are hilarious enneagram memes on instagram.)
Relationship Myth 4: Everyone’s relationship looks the same.
While the concept of the nuclear family is waning, we still overwhelmingly see a similar type of relationship represented in media; a heterosexual couple who eventually wants to get married (or is already married), owns or wants to own a home in suburbia, and have kids.
But relationships come in many different flavors! Some of them are long distance, some of them are polyamorous, some of them are are queer, and some people don’t want to get married at all… there’s no one single, correct way to have a relationship. We as a society need to stop assuming that everyone’s relationship looks the exact same as everyone else’s.
Relationship Myth 5: Healthy couples never argue.
I know that nobody actually enjoys arguing, but conflict that is resolved properly and healthily can actually help your relationship grow. No couple is going to have the exact same ideas, thoughts, and feelings at all times. Bottling up that conflict will only breed misunderstanding and resentment. One or both parties will likely end up hurt at some point.
It’s important to voice your thoughts and concerns if you feel dissatisfied or unhappy with any element of your relationship. Communication is a vital part of any relationship, and the earlier you can learn how to properly communicate anything you’re unhappy about, the better.
However, any relationship where arguments escalate to the point of abuse of any kind is 100% unhealthy. Conflict resolution does not involve threats, violence, manipulation, or gaslighting.
What are some common relationship myths you’ve encountered in your life that just aren’t true for you?
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Featured image by Nathan McBride on Unsplash.