We all know that relationships can be complicated and that maintaining a positive connection with the people we care about is not always easy. On top of the natural difficulty, many of us have ideas or myths about how relationships ‘should’ be conducted.
Unfortunately, when we don’t root out these myths, they can lead to more significant problems down the line in our relationships in terms of communication, conflict, and, ultimately, happiness.
So, we must learn to spot these relationship myths and how to free ourselves from them.
What Are Relationship Myths?
When we say relationship myths, we mean any beliefs you’ve picked up throughout your life about love and relationship. We often misassociate these myths with relationship truths and pass them on to friends and future generations as “solid advice.”
Recognizing that certain myths may prevent you from reaching your desired level of positive connection allows you to take action steps towards dismantling those assumptions.
Some of the more common myths people fall into believing about relationships:
- Having conflicts is bad
- You need to spend as much time together as possible
- If you have a good relationship, you don’t need anyone else
- There’s a set timeline for when milestones should occur
- Your feelings will never change/you should always have that “spark”
This list is by no means exhaustive. There are no shortage of different ways we’re told or taught how romance and love should play out during our lives. We absorb and learn various myths unique to our situations and upbringing that will impact how we function in relationships throughout our lives – often without realizing it.
Debunking These Relationship Myths
Myth #1: Conflicts are bad
Most people don’t enjoy arguing with their significant other. So, they avoid conflict and view any argument as a sign of the end times for their relationship. Thankfully, in recent years many are beginning to understand that disputes and disagreements are normal and could even be a healthy part of a relationship. Having the same arguments repeatedly or fighting dirty will, of course, ruin any relationship. However, learning to see conflict as an opportunity to learn something new about your partner, your relationship, or the situation you created together as well as working jointly towards resolutions can lead to a sense of even greater closeness and deeper intimacy. You will both also learn that you can weather storms together. Being able to navigate conflict effectively doesn’t come naturally for most of us, though. So, it’s best to learn techniques from a trained couples counsellor.
Myth #2: You need to spend as much time together as possible
Couples often fall into the trap of believing that a strong relationship requires the couple to be together 24/7. If you don’t want to be together all the time, it must mean you don’t belong together, right? But there is a lot to be gained by time alone or apart. Sometimes we need time to develop on our own to have more to bring into our relationship. Like they always say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Some time apart can help us miss our partners more. Also, it’s crucial to note the difference between quality and quantity of time together. You can spend every minute near each other, and that isn’t the same as having time set aside where we’re giving our partners undivided attention.
Myth #3: If you have a good relationship, you don’t need anyone else
Many believe their partner should be their one and only, fulfilling every need and aspect of their lives. But no person alive is capable of meeting your every need. Sometimes your family, community, coworkers, spiritual leaders, or others might be able to meet some of your needs better than your partner. And that’s OK! It doesn’t mean that your partner isn’t enough, just that they can’t and shouldn’t be expected to take care of every part of your life. Having a close network of friends and family in our lives helps us establish a healthy balance and relieves the burden of needing to be everything to our partners.
Myth #4: There’s a set timeline for when milestones should occur
Historically, young people have had tons of pressure from their parents, family, and society about the “proper” way to go about their lives. You should go to school, then get married and start a family. But many people don’t want or need that path in their lives. Worrying too much about when things are “supposed” to happen places unneeded pressure on you to rush into decisions or force something earlier than you feel comfortable with. Every person and relationship is unique and should progress as they are ready. You might not even want some milestones at all, which is perfectly acceptable too!
Myth #5: You should always have that spark
Of course, everyone wants to feel loved. And when relationships are new, there’s that special spark that just makes everything glow and somehow feel more magical. But that early spark and excitement will change. Usually, it deepens and develops into something even more profound. But, if you’re lost chasing that initial feeling, you’ll miss out on all the growth you’ve experienced. The spark can be reignited over the years, but pursuing that new relationship glow or energy keeps many people from going into deeper relationship waters.
Why A Couples Counsellor is Vital for Dealing with Relationship Myths
Many of these myths become so ingrained in us that it can be hard to spot how they affect us. That’s why it’s crucial to meet with a trained couples counsellor to help you find what myths have guided your viewpoint and equip you to move forward.
Couples counsellors are specially trained professionals who can help address the myths and misunderstandings that could hinder your ability to experience a happy relationship. With relationship counselling, couples can learn to spot the myths they’ve been believing in their lives and navigate challenging issues and identify solutions to improve their relationship.
The ultimate goal of relationship counselling and marriage counselling is to help two people understand one another better by focusing on communication and how they interact with each other in different situations or conflicts that arise over time. It may also involve helping partners modify behaviours that do not reflect positively on their relationship as a whole or working toward establishing trust between the two parties involved in the counselling process.
Couples counselling is explicitly tailored to meet each couple’s unique needs. Since no two relationships are exactly alike, understanding what techniques work best for particular dynamics will help ensure success. A professional relationship counsellor can guide you through complex topics like deepening your intimacy, managing difficult conversations, and planning your future together.
Free Yourself From Myths Today
If you feel like relationship myths are holding you back in your relationship, please get outside assistance from a trained couples counsellor. They can help you identify any negative patterns that might have crept in, keeping you from reaching full relationship growth.
Please reach out to me or anyone else trained in couples therapy if you feel like you need the assistance of a couples counsellor. The important thing is that you’re active, engaged, and working to make your relationship the best it can be!
Maha Elias is a Registered Clinical Counsellor (RCC), Canadian Certified Counsellor (CCC), Comprehensive Family Mediator (FMC), and sexual health and trauma-informed couples therapist with a private counselling practice in Victoria, British Columbia.