I remember back in high school when my greatest desire – next to the closure of high schools all over the world – was being in a relationship.
It had to be one straight out of the movies, preferably with a tall, drop-dead gorgeous hunk that would whisk me away into the sunset while Bruno Mars’ Grenade played in the background. Bliss.
Few years down the line and I’m singing a different tune; because frankly, there is no such thing as a “relationship straight out of the movies”. It just does not exist. While such movies might be great for a Saturday movie night, they do perpetuate certain misconceptions and myths that tend to create, especially for young people, unrealistic expectations that are bound to lead to disappointment and frustration. Many of us have been down that road; we can all agree that it sucks…very much.
Below, are 5 common relationship myths/misconceptions that have been and continue to be perpetuated. I have also included facts to counter these misconceptions; by learning the real facts about relationships and what they entail, you can be assured that you won’t be running for the hills when you do enter into one. Feel free to drop your own misconceptions and facts in the comments.
1. Relationships are a walk in the park and if it’s meant to be it will be – This is probably the most common misconception that is perpetuated, thanks largely to chick flicks and romantic comedies.
Fact: While the requirement for a healthy relationship is not that it is like a hike up Mt. Everest – torturous and stressful – it is important to note that it is not all fun and games. A strong, sound relationship demands work and certain investments; some of which include time, energy and commitment. So when things do not work out as expected, don’t conclude that it wasn’t meant to be – it was simply a lack of effort of any kind that ruined that one.
2. A perfect relationship is without conflict
Fact: First, there is nothing like a perfect relationship. Why? Because it only exists in our heads. We usually have a long list of impossible requirements that we want to be met and when that doesn’t happen, we conclude that it’s not “perfect”. The absence of conflict is not necessarily an indication of a healthy relationship; in fact, it usually shows that you may not be addressing important issues. The bottom line is this: Do not avoid difficult conversations; the most important thing is understanding how to handle such situations in a mature and productive way.
3. Opposites attract and make for healthier relationships
Fact: Now before you quote the widely-known law that “Unlike poles attract and like poles repel”, let me just say this: that’s Physics; it doesn’t hold much water in matters of the heart. Secondly, while it is easier to choose an activity for date night or what music to listen to on the drive home from work when you both share similar interests, it is not a deal breaker. The most important question to ask is “Do you share similar basic life values?” Values such as family, friendship, self-education – whatever you deem most important. This is what really matters and what guarantees a healthy relationship.
4. He/she will change when things get serious
Fact: This is a trap.
Many people find themselves in toxic relationships because of this singular belief. It is true that people change; it is also true that people don’t. There is no point taking that gamble especially when whatever it is you’re hoping will magically disappear is a serious issue.
5. You will always be “in love”
Fact: What most people view as love usually turns out to be infatuation, and this is never enough to sustain a relationship. While this stage is important for creating that initial bond, it is more important that as the relationship progresses and matures, other things – such as mutual respect, understanding, and shared responsibilities – are prioritized in order to maintain a healthy relationship.
Relationships in the real world may be a far-cry from those we see in the movies but they aren’t any less enjoyable or beautiful; neither do they require a degree in rocket science. The key to a healthy and enjoyable relationship is understanding the basic facts upon which it should be built and knowing that there is no “one size fits all” in this situation – what works for someone else’s relationship might not necessarily work for yours.
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