5 Lies You’ve Been Told About Healthy Relationships
Relationships, in order to be successful, must be reminiscent of fairy tales or movies. Pause. I’m just kidding. Men, like women, have preconceived notions of what makes a good, successful relationship or at least a few general checks from the romantic checklist that need to be met before believing that they’re in the “right” relationship. Every relationship is different, and there shouldn’t be specific rules that every couple must adhere to. You have to have open discussions to figure out what works best for the both of you.
Here are some relationship myths that we all need to stop believing:
1. Myth: A good relationship means you don’t have to work at it
Fact: Not true. Clinical psychologist Lisa Blum, Psy.D who specializes in emotionally-focused therapy with couples says, “The strongest most enduring relationships take lots of hard work.” Our relationships don’t magically work out the way we think they’re “supposed to.”
Blum says that our culture, educational system, and parenting styles don’t prepare us for the fact that even good relationships take effort. Your partner is not going to magically love you forever — you both have to work at it, keep the spark alive, try new things, allow yourselves to miss each other, do things for each other, surprise each other with romantic gestures, and always keep your line of communication open.
2. Myth: Jealously is a sign of true love and caring
Fact: Jealousy is the stuff of court cases and crimes of passion, so no, it shouldn’t be taken as a sign of true love. Jealously is more about how secure you feel within the relationship and how confident you are with both yourself and your partner. Jealously is all about insecurity.
Although you can be supportive, a jealous partner needs to deal with and work on his or her insecurity issues on their own. While both men and women experience jealousy, their reactions differ; men are more likely to get defensive or angry, believing that the relationship isn’t worth it, while women try to improve the relationship or themselves. Either way, if you experience jealousy or have jealousy issues, it’s best to not put the blame on your partner. Instead, openly discuss how you feel.
3. Myth: Fights are never good and signify that the relationship is on its last legs
Fact: Fights or arguments can actually be a good thing; however, not resolving them can ruin your relationship. Blum says, “Fights can be really healthy, and an important form of communication and clearing the air.” Best not to fight dirty though. Nasty, scornful, or condescending fights can be explosive for the relationship, resolution-less, and just horrible all around. Your fights should be productive conflicts that end with “some mutual decision about how to manage this disagreement,” Blum says.
4. Myth: If you experience doubt, you must be with the wrong person
Fact: Committing to anything long term will instill doubt even in the most confident person, especially when you’re thinking about committing to one person for the long term or for the rest of your life. It is much more likely that your doubts have more to do with personal fears, such as fear of commitment, rather than your fears about your partner. Make sure though, or at least realize, that feeling doubt or uncertainty is very different than feeling unhappy in the relationship.
5. Myth: True love means that passion never fades
Fact: Wrong, oh-so wrong. Damn those movies like The Notebook. It’s not true that if you really love someone the passion never fades. It’s called the honeymoon phase, and passion naturally diminishes in all relationships. That doesn’t mean it’s not the right relationship. Daily routines are just one culprit, but as couples’ responsibilities grow sometimes they have less time and energy for each other.
It happens, but it doesn’t mean it’s gone; you just have to switch it up a little and make time for each other in and out of the bedroom. “Passionate sex is a byproduct of sustained emotional intimacy along with a continuing sense of adventure and exploration and sense of playfulness,” says Blum. You need to explore your sexual lives together; if you don’t, you’ll never fully realize how connected you truly are as a couple.