As a culture, we have many strong beliefs about love and relationships. Many of which we do not recognize to be utterly flawed! False beliefs about love get in the way of our relationship’s, threatening the love they are meant to support!
Identify these beliefs, and learn to change them, with Capital Choice Counselling.
1. Couples Are Supposed To Know Each Other Entirely
Popular culture promotes a belief that couples and spouses are supposed to know each other with an almost telepathic understanding of the others thoughts and feelings.
When one comes home upset from work, the other immediately and intimately understands without any need for explicit communication.
While we know our spouse better than anyone else, this level of understanding is not always within our grasp, though we’re prone to believing it should be anyways.
Examine whether or not that belief is a rational one to hold, and you might see that often our expectation of what our relationship should get in the way of realizing what it can be. We grow resentful of our partner for not understanding our deep emotional states, despite intentionally depriving them of any understanding of them.
The foundation of any strong relationship is strong communication. The belief that a partner should know how we feel without us having to communicate with them undermines communication in a relationship, and thus undermines a relationship’s foundation.
Maybe its something small like doing the dishes. Your partner doesn’t like to do them, and you’ve fallen into a pattern of bearing the majority of the load for that particular task. You don’t like doing them either, and being expected to do so frustrates you. You expect your partner to understand this, but they never do, and frustration builds until a breaking point is reached.
When fights break out like this, one partner feels like they are in justified in their frustration (which is true), and the other feels like they are under attack (which is true). But neither know that this fight has little to do with dishes. It has to do with the fact that they believed that couples are supposed to understand each other’s intimate mental states without any need for communication.
2. Love Comes Naturally
Attraction comes naturally, but Love is more than simple attraction.
There are many lessons we force ourselves to learn ‘the hard way’ when it comes to our relationships because we believe that ‘relationships’ are not something that can be taught.
We think that relationships are something we all must experience on our own, with perhaps a little advice from family, friends, and popular culture.
Problematically; family, friends, and especially popular culture are not always the best guides. What worked for one relationship is not guaranteed (or even likely) to work for ours, and what worked in stories only did because storytellers wanted it to!
Many couples end up splitting because their relationship could not endure some event or upset that, had they sought different guidance, they may have otherwise endured.
There is something to be said for learning from personal experience, but we are mistaken when we believe it is the only or even the most important way to learn!
Family and friends can tell you what worked for their relationship, but couples counsellors, therapists, and psychologists can tell you what works for relationships in general. Both forms of advice are valuable, but it is important to recognize that often we neglect to seek the latter!
3. Sex Ought To Be Frequent
In the west, sex is considered to be the heartbeat of a relationship, it’s frequency considered a direct indicator of the health of a couple’s bond. When sex is frequent, a relationship is healthy. When it is infrequent, a relationship is unhealthy.
This is a misguided belief.
Sex addicts do not have healthy relationships. Conversely, sexually inactive senior citizens have not fallen out of love.
Though sex is an important aspect of what it means to be a romantic couple, often our romantic expectations of sex fall out of line with what we should expect from reality, and thus cause undue stress and anxiety.
Having full-time jobs, children, a mortgage, and adult responsibilities is a massive burden on anyone. To add to this burden by also believing that sex should be frequent, we run the risk of adding unnecessary stress to our lives. More importantly, we run the risk of ruining sex by turning it into yet another one of life’s obligation.
There is nothing intimate about paying the bills, nor is there anything deeply emotional about one’s Monday-to-Friday morning routine. By expecting frequent sex to become yet another task on the endless lists of no-fun jobs that defines much of domestic life.
Sex should be something we do to feel like connected human beings, not something we do to feel connected to a story we tell ourselves about how our lives should look.
If you are feeling stress and anxiety because of the lack of sex in your relationship, it is worth asking yourself is sex is a problem in your life, or if your life is preventing you from having sex.
4. We Must Entirely Accept Our Lovers
We hear all the time that we must love each other ‘just the way we are’.
This is a valuable belief but does not apply as absolutely as we believe it does.
You may love the care and compassion your partner is capable of, but if they are an addict (for example), it is unhealthy to yourself and your relationship to love and accept that aspect of them unconditionally.
Strong relationships are about more than two people recognizing the beauty of who the other is. They are also about recognizing the beauty of who they are capable of being.
The best relationships occur when people are better together than they are apart. When a couple, simply by consistent exposure to each other are motivated to become better people, good things happen for them and all those around them.
When you prohibit yourself from being honest about the flaws of your partner (and yourself) by believing that love requires total and unconditional acceptance, you deny your relationship the ability to promote the growth of yourself and your partner.
5. Practicalities are Unimportant
Romantic love is unconcerned with non-romantic concerns like financial planning and how to properly fold laundry.
Strong, mature relationships, very much are concerned with these things.
Strong feelings of love, attraction, and attachment are critical to a relationship; but only so long as they can survive on a strong and healthy foundation.
This foundation can crack when a couple does not share compatible beliefs on common practical matters. Marrying a big spender to a big saver is a recipe for chaos that can threaten the emotional bond of a couple over time, no matter how strong.
This is why it is important not to dismiss, as so many of us do, the central place of common practical discussions into the fabric of our relationships. While not particularly romantic, these discussions are an important part of any relationship!
Learning When ‘Should Be’ Beliefs Get In The Way Of ‘Can Be’ Realities
These are just five of a long list of beliefs we commonly hold that feel like they help love, but often get in the way of it.
To learn more about the thoughts and beliefs you hold about what your relationship should be that are preventing it from becoming what it truly can be, it’s critical to connect yourself with a competent guide.
To find one in Ottawa that works for your life, get in touch with Capital Choice Counselling.