Many people live in relationships. Nevertheless, there are often myths about conflicts or phases of the relationship. I have listed 10 relationship myths for you. Feel free to test yourself if you believe in one or the other myth and check your relationship assumptions!
1. if my partner has a problem with me or us, then he should change. After all, I don't see a problem.
Wrong. Relationships are always dynamics. This means that both of you contribute to the way you communicate and conflict with your behavior. Therefore, it is important to work together on conflict and change.
2. If I no longer experience the initial rush of being in love, then that is a sign that I should end the relationship.
Not necessarily! It is quite normal for feelings to change over the course of a relationship. The initial rush of infatuation has also been researched from a scientific perspective by Helen Fisher (you can find the link to the TED Talk here). She compares the infatuation rush to processes similar to a drug rush. It's an exhausting state that our brains and bodies can't sustain in the long run. Therefore, an initial intoxication often changes into a deeper feeling of love. This feeling may be less exciting, but no less beautiful.
3. If after some time our relationship no longer feels as easy and harmonious as it did at the beginning, then something is going wrong.
Wrong. It is quite normal for (more) conflict to occur as the relationship progresses. This can be due to various factors. For example, a lower tolerance for your partner's quirks or greater familiarity. Dealing with conflict well is a skill that every couple can learn! Read more about couples conflict communication in my article here.
4. Relationships should just work out well, without any effort or conscious work on my part.
False. Just like friendships or other relationships, a relationship should be consciously nurtured. This can include, for example, regularly sharing how you are doing in the relationship. Also, you can work on changing things that bother the other person a lot.
5. Few conflicts in the relationship are a measure of a good relationship.
Wrong or not necessarily. The ratio of positive interaction (e.g., moments of connectedness) to negative interaction (e.g., arguments) is crucial. According to couple therapist and researcher John Gottman, a ratio of five positive interactions is necessary to outweigh one negative one. The way the couple deals with each other during conflicts is also crucial.
6. The more similar I am to my partner, the better for our relationship.
It certainly makes things easier when couples are more similar. However, relationship quality is not necessarily dependent on similarity or dissimilarity with the partner. Rather, it is dependent on communication and problem-solving skills of the couple.
7. My partner must meet all my needs if he or she loves me.
Wrong. It's important that you can also meet needs without your partner, for yourself. Don't forget that family and friends are also still there to fulfill your various needs and desires.
8. If my partner can't read my desires from my eyes and doesn't know what's going on inside me during an argument, he or she doesn't understand me.
Wrong. No one can read your mind. Of course, not even your partner, no matter how well he knows you. Therefore, the key to getting what you are looking for in a relationship is: communication! Talk about your wishes and worries so that your partner can understand you. My article on couple communication can also help you with this.
9. If my partner sometimes triggers me, e.g. makes me sad with his behavior, I should separate from him.
Not necessarily! It is quite normal that certain feelings or past hurts are triggered in couple relationships. We then react to this with sadness or anger. You can learn more about yourself by understanding why you feel that way in some situations. You can also learn together how to better deal with these trigger situations. This will make you less likely to get triggered!
10. There are generally valid assumptions about what is normal and how our relationship should be, and everyone should stick to them.
Wrong! Every couple is individual and different, so there is no right or wrong. There are no set norms for how to live as a couple. There are no rules about how often you see each other, how you communicate, etc. First find out for both of you what feels good. Then talk about it a lot!
I'm excited to hear from you about what you think about relationship myths. Have you recognized yourself in some of the relationship myths? Feel free to leave me a comment below!
If you want to understand your own patterns of behavior in your relationship or work on your assumptions about relationships, I'm happy to walk you through it!
Hahlweg, K., & Schröder, B. (2009). Partnerschafts- und Eheprobleme. [Relationship and marital problems.] In J. Margraf & S. Schneider (Hrsg.), Lehrbuch der Verhaltenstherapie: Band 2 (S. 563-581). Berlin: Springer.