Building a stable and lasting relationship is not a simple task. In fact you don’t just get one – you create one. It might start from a physical attraction but that stage doesn’t last very long. Soon after, it becomes all about effective communication, respect and crucial down time. Love is in us and all around us, yet there are so many misconceptions about it.
Most people’s idea of love is based on what films they have watched as a kid. Based on my experience the biggest myths about love are:
1. Once you find ”THE ONE” your job is done
When you are young and easy to influence, you absorb information first (from books, films and interactions with others) and form our opinions as second – exactly in this order. And so, it’s only natural that you form the basis of you relationships on the experience acquired over the years. When you are single you are likely to feel lonely at times. You might think that your life is so miserable, it can’t get any worse. You think that finding the right person is the solution/a magic formula to all your life problems. It will change everything and give you eternal happiness. Sadly it doesn’t work like that. Finding your partner is the beginning, not the end. This is where the work starts. And it will take work to make it survive. Many of us learn that later in life when experiencing relationship problems.
2. Your partner’s role is to make you happy
Another common myth. You are responsible to make yourself happy as nobody else is able to. You can’t rely on external people for your happiness as you can’t control them. As soon as they are gone, your happiness is too! So, (and this is a very important bit) be happy before you get in a relationship. If you are unhappy you will attract unhappy people. We all need to learn to love and respect ourselves so we can love and respect others. By understanding our dreams, fears and needs, we are able to build a healthy set of expectations. Only when you become happy and acceptant of yourself you can contribute positive things to your relationship. Knowing, accepting and loving yourself is the first step. Getting to know your partner is the second one. Once you do, meeting each others expectations will be easier. But don’t be lazy, don’t expect them to make you happy and be angry when they don’t.
3. Good relationships don’t take work
Healthy and good relationship will naturally and most of the time make you feel good. However, all relationships take work. Check the quality of your relationship by asking yourself the question: does this relation make me more joyful and healthy mentally and physically? If that is not the case improve your situation by getting to know yourself first. Find your own happiness by doing things you love. Once you are happier you are more likely to understand your partner and their perspective. Once you are clear on what they need from you – you can evaluate and decide on next steps. You will get there through effective communication. Whether or not you stay with your partner, you will become much wiser and stronger.
4. Once in a relationship you should be inseparable
Another huge lie. A mistake I’ve made number of times, and despite the fact I knew deep inside we were spending far too much time together and grown very reliant on each other, I didn’t know how to un-do it. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings and say ‘’I think you should get a life’’ : -) Now, I wish I said it much sooner. I became too many things to my partner and as a result had less time for myself. So the resentment has creeped in and we argued a lot. I felt like I have lost myself in the relationship. I’ve allowed myself to be too reliant upon and hardly ever found time to do what I love. Most people don’t realise that having your own circle of friends, own career path and hobbies is what will keep your relationship healthy and balanced. In fact it is as important as having love, respect and strong physical attraction. Distance is required for love to thrive so allow the space between you to make your connection stronger.
5. Things often get better on their own
Many of us have suffered from a heartache. Relationships problems are a common thing. That’s primarily because you are getting together with someone who is completely different to you and can’t control them. Don’t try either, it’s pointless. They will not change unless they want to change. Trying to change your partner or the way they think can cause frustration and even anger. The only way to resolve this is through calm, loving, open communication. Don’t criticise or patronise each other. Put yourself in their shoes and try to understand what they are trying to tell you. If you are upset, let go of your anger first. Go for a walk, a run or take few deep breaths. Continue talking when you are calmer.
If you feel you have grown apart, reserve some time for the two of you to go away and reconnect. This should remind you how things used to be at the start. If that doesn’t help try something else – like couple therapy or a more reliable childcare. Productive communication is the only way to understand your partner. Without that contempt and resentment settles in and it becomes very difficult to respect, love and appreciate each other.
Stay positive and love yourself x