10 Relationship Myths That Can Negatively Affect Your Relationship
We all enter our own relationship with certain beliefs about what a “good” relationship is and how we’re supposed to feel when we’re in one. These beliefs and assumptions not only determine our behavior in the relationship, but they also form the basis for assessing our relationship satisfaction. This includes our views about the long-term compatibility of our partners.
Most of us base our assumptions on the relationships we see around us. For example, those of our parents, relatives and friends, or what we see depicted in the media. Needless to say, such information can be quite misleading and fail to reflect decades of research about relationship satisfaction and longevity.
Here are 10 common relationship myths that can interfere with your relationship satisfaction.
Remember: the following statements are NOT true, that’s why we call them relationship myths.
1. If I left this relationship, I would find Mr. or Ms. Right
Surely, there are couples that really don’t belong together. However, the majority of these not-the-right-person complaints are rooted in unrealistic expectations, in anxiety about differences, and in a common inability to negotiate and compromise.
2. Two people in a good relationship will automatically grow closer with time
How do people stay physically fit? A healthy body takes constant attention and work. The same is true for a healthy relationship. It’s not automatic. Any long-term relationship requires vigilance, attention, forethought and planning.
3. When couples argue, it destroys the relationship
Arguments are a sign the couple is working on making the relationship better. Couples who don’t recognize and confront their problems can distance themselves from each other. Fighting fair can be a positive force in a relationship. You can learn to argue in a kind way to get your point across and hear your partner’s point.
Additional Resource: Take the Fighting Fair Assessment to see how you and your partner deal with conflict.
4. Pursuing your own individual needs is incompatible with making a couple or marriage relationship work
Happy couples have learned to maintain a certain amount of balance between togetherness and separateness, autonomy and dependence. If things get skewed over time, they can be re-balanced, the way you rebalance your portfolio every year.
5. For couples with children, the primary caretaker’s marital satisfaction is higher when they are full-time homemakers, rather than when they are employed
Research has consistently shown that there is no difference in marital satisfaction based on the employment status of the partner. The satisfaction comes from the attention paid to the relationship, rather than from the employment status of a partner.
6. The more couples communicate verbally, the better their relationship.
In fact, only positive communication increases couples’ satisfaction. The quality of the interactions is far more predictive of satisfaction in the relationship than the frequency.
7. Sex should be spontaneous to be good. Planning for sex kills desire.
Spontaneity may be desirable, but reality demands planning. Planning, in fact, implies intentionality and intentionality conveys value. Additionally, remember that you planned sex at the beginning of your relationship.
8. Talking is the only communication that can fix problems in a relationship.
Talking can also make things worse. Sometimes not talking about something is the best course of action. Other “non-talking” approaches can also be valuable.
9. Happy couples don’t fantasize about having sex with other people
Sexual fantasy has a bad reputation. Many people believe only the dissatisfied or the immature fantasize, but, in reality, it is a natural and imaginative component of healthy adult sexuality.
10. If you are in a good relationship, you will receive as much love as the love you give
This is true only if you give according to the love language of your spouse or partner, not yours. If you continually give in your own love language, your emotional tank will not stay full for long. Giving when it’s easy is not real giving. Giving when it’s hard is real giving.