A lot of people believe relationship myths and this is partly Hollywood’s doing. Movies, TVs, and books tell us certain storylines about love, and we want to believe them. It’s comforting to think someone is out there waiting to complete you and fulfill all your wants and needs. But is it realistic? Not so much.
There’s also a feeling of individuality behind modern relationship myths. In centuries past, children were strategically married off by their families for economic and status reasons. Now, in the Western world, people choose their mates. But this doesn’t mean that relationship myths actually help anyone. In some ways, they make dating and coupling harder. To find true love, stop believing in these four relationship myths.
1. There’s only one soul mate in the world for me.
As tragically pleasing as this idea may seem, if you fervently believe there is only one soul mate in the entire world — who is waiting just to meet you — you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. First of all, you’ll miss out on anyone else who wants to date you (because they’re not this mythical figure), and the potential joy of that relationship.
Keeping yourself closed off and pining for a soul mate is like being in a state of perpetual adolescence – you can’t learn how to be in an intimate relationship with another person if you never try. And then suddenly you find yourself actually wanting to put down the soul mate fantasy and start a real relationship, but you have no practice or no aptitude. Plus, you may still carry that idealized soul mate image in your heart, which will doom a new partner. How can they possibly measure up?
2. If we truly love each other we should never fight.
Conflict in a relationship is normal in all relationships and a sign that growth is trying to happen. It’s a way to express strong emotions, and the hope is, as we become older and wiser we fight fair and with awareness.
If you find anger rises up fast for you (you may even feel physical sensation before you can name it as anger), bringing conscious awareness to your anger by taking a few breaths before it overwhelms you is a good start. Also saying internally, “anger is present” can help turn your anger into a useful tool for communicating and strengthening a relationship.
If you believe being truly in love means never fighting, you’re denying reality in a way that’s going to come back and haunt you. When something needs to be expressed between people but is forced down and suppressed, it comes out in other ways—usually passive aggression, or depression. Anger that is subverted manifests in the body, as digestive problems, headaches, and poor sleep. Accept that in any relationship, you will fight with the other person at some point. Learning to fight respectfully and fairly actually generates new energy between people.
3. My partner will never be attracted to anyone else.
Monogamy is a fairly recent concept in human evolution. Think about all the times in your life, even in a single day, that you feel attracted to other people, be them people on the street or faces in TV commercials. You might not even be aware that you’re attracted to these people, just that a pleasant feeling that arises — and it’s human nature, there’s nothing wrong with this.
In the course of your relationship, it’s highly possible your partner will attracted to someone else, whether they tell you this or not. There are entire pornography markets devoted to married audiences, and these are a positive development, because they admit reality — people are attracted to others, outside of their monogamous relationships.
But if your partner is not acting on their attractions, then what’s the problem, really? Insecurities (about body image, wealth, status, intelligence) are part of having an ego. Chances are your partner has their own list of fears and insecurities too. Make sure you’re communicating about them with each other as a way of going through this human dilemma together.
4. My partner needs to meet all my relationship needs.
This myth persists despite all evidence to the contrary including centuries of divorce, murder and adultery. No one person can meet all of your relationship needs — your needs change over time, and you might not even know what they are at first.
Asking someone else to “complete” you is not going to work for either of you. If you told someone every possible thing you needed from them, and then, through some hidden superhuman ability they were able to give it to you, you’d probably be bored with that in a month or two, or think they were trying too hard.
All you can do in a relationship is bring your best self forward, over and over. If you’re lucky, your partner will do the same, and the relationship will get what it needs — and give back to you both.