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We all have defined expectations of how a relationship should operate.
We have preset beliefs and needs. We want this and that. We don’t accept less than the image we have created in our minds. We…we…we…
Pause for a second. Breathe.
There is no one definition of love.
There is no set rule to determine what a relationship should look like.
If we want our relationships to succeed, we must unlearn everything we know about love and intimacy. We must step into relationships willing to be stripped of our misconceptions and familiar patterns.
I’ve recently realized there are so many myths about love that are making us unhappy and miserable. They are killing our relationships and setting the bar so high that we’re no longer differentiating between what’s real and what’s unreasonable to attain.
Below are seven myths that we must stop entertaining:
1. “Wait for the right one.” Don’t wait for the right one because there is no “right” one. No one has one person out there who was created just for them. Anyone we meet could be a potential partner for us. What’s essential is for two people to have the same values and look in the same direction. Everything else is (hopefully) manageable. We don’t find the right person. We create him/her.
2. “You need to love yourself first.” Nope. You don’t need to love yourself before someone else can love you. Sometimes we need to be loved by another in order to learn how to love ourselves. You can love yourself and another simultaneously if you are serious about your healing journey. Wanting to be on your own is entirely different than needing to “love yourself first.”
3. “You don’t fight in a healthy relationship.” Wrong. Every single fight my partner and I ever had led to a deeper understanding of ourselves (and our relationship). Disagreements are part of every relationship, and it’s okay to have them. What’s not okay, though, is not resolving the conflict. But when there’s a takeaway and a lesson, know that fights are sometimes healthy and eye-opening.
4. “Love should be easy.” Sometimes it does feel easy. There are moments of bliss and comfort and gratitude. But other times, it’s not. Oftentimes, love can be painful, complicated, and uncomfortable—and it’s completely natural. Perfect love only exists in books and movies. In reality, it can be hard. Let me repeat that one more time: it can be hard. Relationships take work because every partner comes from a different background with different expectations and wants. But with effort and compromise, love gets easi-er with time.
5. “You can’t change someone.” That’s the biggest myth of all. I don’t believe any relationship works without two people meeting each other halfway and tweaking bits of themselves. I wouldn’t even call it a drastic change. I’d call it a healthy and needed transformation for the relationship to bloom. Trying to control someone (or being controlled by someone) is an entirely different issue, but change is necessary if it helps us (and our relationship) to grow.
6. “You need to talk about everything.” We should feel comfortable talking about everything with our partner, but we shouldn’t feel the need to. Not every passing thought or emotion contributes to our relationships in a good way. So it’s okay to keep something to ourselves if we feel it will hurt our partner (or the relationship). We should have tough conversations, but we shouldn’t feel obliged to discuss everything we think or feel.
7. “Don’t go to bed angry.” The only rational discussions I ever had with my partner were days after the conflict. We’d be both calm by then, rational, and detached from the conflict and its outcomes. Sometimes it feels too overwhelming to talk about what’s bothering us. That said, it’s okay to sleep on it—as long as it gets resolved later.