Myths and misunderstandings that block lasting love.
“Cheers to the perfect couple!”
Heart-felt words like these can actually doom a relationship. Did you know that your well-meaning congratulations to a new couple could solidify dangerous myths about love?
Beliefs about relationships were the focus of a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto and the results could not only change how you give a wedding toast, but make a positive difference in your own love relationship or marriage as well. What researchers discovered was a correlation between relationship satisfaction and the words used to describe relationships.
Study participants who were flooded with phrases like, “we are one,” “made for each other” and “better half,” tended to be have a more negative view of their own relationship. These concepts play into the myth that soulmates meet, sparks fly and their relationship is immediately and irrevocably perfect.
It’s this instantly blissful, always in love and happily ever after view of relationships that causes all kinds of trouble for real people.
They’ve unknowingly bought into a fairy tale and then become anxious, resentful and angry when their reality doesn’t match up. What at first seemed to be “meant to be,” quickly feels like a fraud or dismal failure.
What’s most unfortunate about this is that there could be a wonderful relationship developing, but it’s not given the chance to grow and evolve. Instead, it’s rejected as a huge mistake because it doesn’t fit a stereotype that’s unrealistic and maybe even impossible.
These three relationship myths and misunderstandings can stand in the way of your happiness:
1. Everything has to be perfect.
Any bump or difficulty in your relationship feels bigger than it actually is when you’re operating under the assumption that good relationships start out and stay perfect. It would probably be to your benefit to banish the word “perfect” from your vocabulary because it’s rarely helpful and usually harmful.
When you believe that your relationship always has to be perfect, you amp up stress, anxiety, judgment and blame. Problems are that much harder to resolve because you’re so caught up in “what it means” that you’re having a problem in the first place.
2. A “meant to be” relationship will take care of itself.
The classic image of a perfect relationship is that it’s self-sustaining and no upkeep is needed to keep it amazing. Maybe you know a couple who seem to be so in love and never appear to break a sweat to keep their relationship healthy and blissful. We assure you that this is NOT what’s happening. Either this couple has become adept at denying their problems or they don’t let anyone see the effort they put into staying connected.
3. You can’t be happy until everything is just right.
The ramifications of believing in myths about soulmates or a couple “meant to be” together are distressing for real people (meaning everyone, including you). When you notice that your relationship is not perfect because you and your partner have an argument or one of you lies, not only do you feel disappointed and anxious, you also don’t allow yourself to be happy where you are right now.
You only see what you perceive as the weaknesses and flaws and you overlook what’s actually going well (or improved). This stands in the way of effectively changing bad relationship habits as well as your overall happiness now. This myth also doesn’t let you build on momentum that’s taking your relationship in the direction you want it to go.
Here’s the truth as we’ve come to know it:
Love relationships–even soulmate relationships–are always always in process. This is the take-away from the University of Toronto study we mentioned above. When you stop holding your relationship up to a measuring stick that isn’t even possible, you can start to attract and experience more connection, closeness and happiness than ever before.
Does this mean you have to be okay with hurtful talk, emotional distance, flirting with others, lying, infidelity or other painful and unwanted problems? Absolutely NOT!
You can maintain an expectation that you and your partner will always be moving toward the healthy, loving and passionate relationship you’ve always wanted AND you can relish and appreciate along the way those moments where you’re in alignment and experiencing what you want.
Along the way is where the potential resides for happiness and fulfillment. These aren’t all or nothing, they’re what you’re working toward and what you can get a taste of … but only if you let go of the myths and only if you’re open to the whole journey.
The relationship journey isn’t always an easy one.
This guest article originally appeared on YourTango.com: 3 Ways Your ‘Better Half’ Is Ruining Your Relationship.