Let’s Get Real: Busting Three Common Dating and Relationship Myths
In the real world, love is quite different from what we see in Hollywood romances. Unfortunately, many individuals mistakenly believe that these movies represent how love "should" be, only to discover later that it's mere entertainment, not reality.
From a young age, we are exposed to movies that portray love in a superficial manner. I vividly recall watching a popular Disney film with my young son when he was around six years old. In that movie, two animals spotted each other across a lake and immediately fell in love, with hearts floating in the air. At the time, I couldn't help but ask my son, "Do you think this is a solid foundation for a long-term relationship?" It brings a smile to my face now, but as a parent, one of my goals was to nurture critical thinking skills in my child, and I believe I succeeded!
Now, let's dive into three common myths about love.
1. Myth: Relationships should be effortless.
Many people believe that everything would be smooth and easy if they found the right person. They envision a life with no disagreements, a perpetual "spark," and simplicity that surpasses their single days. However, I hate to burst your bubble, but no relationship is effortless unless you're in denial!
I once coached a woman who would become extremely anxious whenever she and her boyfriend had any conflict. She would immediately assume that it signaled the end of their relationship. As we worked together, she gradually learned how to navigate conflicts and discovered that they could actually bring people closer. Reflecting on my own past, I recall a time when my partner and I "never" had any conflicts. However, that was simply because neither of us was afraid to express ourselves honestly and rock the boat when necessary. Regrettably, there were instances when we chose the "safe" route instead of being courageous and speaking up about important matters. We ended up living a lie, and our relationship eventually fell apart.
In this context, the concept of "spiritual bypassing" becomes relevant. It refers to the idea that religious or spiritual beliefs somehow elevate a person above negative emotions like anger or jealousy. I strongly believe that it's crucial to acknowledge and work through these challenging feelings instead of denying their existence.
Recently, I met a friend who is married with a toddler. Their marriage dynamics have changed as they now prioritize caring for their young child over shared activities and intimacy. They might wonder, "What happened to the spark? Did I choose the wrong person?" It's important to understand that relationships go through different phases, and the "honeymoon" stage typically lasts around two years. I'll delve deeper into this topic in an upcoming blog post because I believe it's crucial to comprehend. We must be prepared to navigate all the stages, including the power struggle, as we strive to deepen emotional intimacy without losing ourselves for the sake of peace.
Does life become simpler when you're in a relationship? Well, some might argue that it does, especially when responsibilities like laundry, grocery shopping, cooking, and cleaning are shared. However, there's no guarantee that life will feel simpler because you now have someone else's needs to consider alongside your own. Many single individuals cherish the freedom to do things their way, whenever they want, but they may also miss the closeness and companionship that a partner can provide. It's a tradeoff, but believing that life automatically becomes simpler once you're in a relationship is not necessarily accurate.
2. Myth: Being mysterious and playing hard to get will make the other person want you more.
This strategy may work in movies and novels, but it rarely translates well into real life. The foundation of a healthy relationship should be built on trust, and playing mind games or withholding information won't serve you well. Keep in mind that someone who is dating consciously, paying attention to red flags and inconsistencies between words and actions, will likely perceive these games and walk away. Attempting to make others jealous is a low-level tactic that reflects poorly on your character. If you truly believe in your own worth, you won't resort to these manipulative techniques. Instead of being mysterious, I encourage you to be open and authentic, gradually revealing more about yourself as time progresses. Of course, you don't have to disclose your entire life history on the first date, but as you get to know someone better, sharing appropriate details is important. Playing hard to get only adds confusion and uncertainty to the equation. Have the courage to speak your truth, so there's no ambiguity. Dating is already challenging enough without adding unnecessary games.
3. Myth: Opposites attract
While it's true that finding someone who is exactly like you is unlikely, it doesn't mean that you should seek a complete opposite either. Differences in perspectives, priorities, and interests are natural in any relationship. Understanding another person's viewpoint can be enlightening and enriching, broadening your own horizons in unexpected ways.
That being said, consider whether you genuinely desire an "opposite." How would it work if you're vegan and your partner is a carnivore? Some couples manage to make it work, but is it ideal for you? What about political beliefs? Can one person lean left while the other leans right? Would you be okay with that? And in terms of religion, how would it work if one person is an atheist and the other is a religious fundamentalist? I'm not suggesting that these scenarios are doomed to fail, but they are worth careful consideration. To provide a less extreme example, I identify as a J on the Myers-Briggs personality test, which means I am a planner and scheduler. I like to think ahead and plan important events, even weeks in advance. On the other hand, I have a friend who is a P on the Myers-Briggs test and prefers spontaneity. This can create challenges because I've already structured my day! It's possible to find solutions, but it exemplifies the different ways individuals approach life.
Perhaps opposites do attract, but I wouldn't dismiss someone who shares your priorities and values!
Numerous myths surround love and relationships, and I encourage you to approach them with caution to avoid inadvertently adopting them. Romantic movies are enjoyable to watch, but building a healthy relationship requires much more than chemistry sparked by a glance.
Relationships are a significant aspect of our human experience, but they demand effort, energy, time, and commitment. Being open and authentic will serve you far better than playing games, and I invite you to contemplate how it would be to be with someone who seems like your "opposite." Can you envision yourself in that scenario? Perhaps we should seek a "complement" rather than an "opposite."
If you're seeking support in your dating and relationship journey, I'm here for you! Book a free 30-minute Discovery Session here::