As a therapist I hear all kinds of crazy myths. The problem is, oftentimes you don’t know they are myths and just assume that the myth is true. You perceive your entire relationship based off the assumption that the myth is a fact – and it puts your relationship in danger. Here are 5 relationship myths that could make you think you are headed for disaster, when in reality, you are probably in a perfectly functional relationship.
If you believe this myth, you think that you are in a bad relationship because you have arguments and problems arise. Welcome to living as two different human beings! That is how relationships work – problems happen, and arguments happen. It does not mean that you are not “meant to be” or that you should get rid of this person. It simply means that you have disagreements – which are completely healthy.
There are several ways to resolve conflicts easier that don’t require a complete overhaul; possibly just some simple skill building.
I hear this complaint often with couples in sex therapy. If you believe this myth, you think that your sex life may be suffering, and you need to make a change – quickly! The truth is, there are plenty of false assumptions out there about how often couples have sex.
Couples frequently don’t know how often they would like to have sex because they get mixed messages from society’s norms. If this is your issue, genuinely think about how often you would prefer to have sex and also think if it is realistic. Maybe you want sex every day but you have no time in the morning, you work all day, and there are rare moments at night that make sense to have sex; but weekends actually work well. You may find that, realistically 1-3 times a week sounds better for your relationship and that would make you just as happy as if you had it any other amount.
#3 My Partner Needs to Make Me Feel Better
This one is truly a relationship killer. It seems like couples tend to think this is a make-it or break-it kind of myth where, if their partner is not making them feel good, then the relationship must end. The truth is uncomfortable, but it needs to be said – you need to be able to make yourself happy. Do not rely on your partner for your own happiness. That belief only leads to negativity and co-dependence. Learn what makes you happy and create a habit out of doing those things. Absolutely – it is a plus when your partner is able to comfort you, validate you, and brighten your day but establishing that as a daily expectation is dangerous territory (and a relationship no-go). Aren’t they allowed to have off days too?
When you have an expectation that your partner does not know about, you are secretly setting them up for failure. No, your partner does not know that they “should not do that” unless you tell them not to. The biggest complaint I hear in this area is that the partner does not want to seem “mean” or like a “nag.” In reality, your partner would much rather hear your expectations than hear that you are resentful of them months or years later. Speak up about your expectations and know that sometimes your partner may forget or not completely understand how important it is until you discuss it more.
There are many relationship myths that could mislead your relationship. Don’t believe that happy relationships don’t have arguments – everyone argues (and if they don’t, they should). Amount or quality of sex shouldn’t be decided upon by social norms, instead create what works for you and your partner and be happy with that. Your partner’s responsibility is not to make sure you are happy 24/7. Take the reigns on your own happiness and create positive habits. Lastly, express your expectations and don’t expect your partner to know what you are thinking. Otherwise, you are looking to a long path of resentment.
About The Author
Chris Cummins is a couples counselor at The Marriage and Family Clinic in Denver, Colorado. He focuses on working with with couples in high conflict and couples who are experiencing substance abuse. Living in Colorado, Chris enjoys hiking traveling and anything else outdoors.