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Is One of These Myths 
Killing Your Relationship?

 Laurie Weiss, Ph.D.

1. You should give up yourself to be in a relationship, or you have to give up the relationship in order to be yourself.
These twin myths are like opposite sides of the same coin. They leave out the possibility of being yourself in a relationship. The truth is that the only way to have a great relationship is when you give up trying to please your partner at all costs. Then you have a lot more room to be yourself.

2. If a relationship is right, you shouldn't have to work at it.
Actually, all relationships take work to grow and flourish. That's because relationships are like living things. If they are not cared for they tend to whither and die.

3. My soul mate is out there waiting for me, and unless I find him/her, I am doomed to never have the kind of relationship I want.
The truth is that there are many different people with whom you can build a wonderful, loving relationship. Your soul mate isn't someone out there waiting for you; it's someone you find when you devote time to becoming friends and getting to know each other first.
4. Falling out of love means that the relationship is in trouble.
Many people think that being in love is all it takes to have a great relationship, but that is sometimes the worst predictor of success. That's because being in love is temporary insanity, designed by selfish genes in order to make babies.

5. If you really loved me, I wouldn't have to tell you what I want.

You may think that you shouldn't have to ask for what you want. The problem is that mind- reading is an inexact science. If you ask for something, you dramatically increase your chances of getting it.

6. You should always act on your feelings.

Many things influence your feelings in a relationship. Some of them have much more connection to things that happened in past than with how your partner is acting. You'll make better choices if you think about the reason for your feelings and other relevant information before deciding how to act.

7. My partner and I feel the same way about everything.
This is only true when you are blinded by falling in love and neither of you is paying attention to your deep feeling. Later you may think that anybody else in your situation would feel the same way you do. Actually, that is not the case. How people feel depends on lots of things: their personality type, their life experience, what other kinds of stress they are experiencing, etc.

8. You should avoid hurting your partner's feelings at all costs to preserve your relationship.

Many people think that avoiding hurting someone's feelings is more important than telling the truth about an irritating problem, but that actually perpetuates the problem, and often leads to the destruction of a relationship. You get much better results by focusing on how to solve the problem without blaming anyone for causing it.
9. Your partner is responsible for how you feel.
You may think that other people can make you feel bad, but the truth is that when you realize they can't do this without your cooperation, you won't get hooked by their criticism or lack of respect. People often feel angry because a life partner is treating them badly, but usually it's because they have let accumulated small resentments build walls between them when all they really want is to be close to each other
10. You and your partner should never argue.
People sometimes think that never arguing with each other will maker relationships strong. What usually happens is that because we're human we have different needs and wants. If we pretend those don't exist and don't ask that they be taken into consideration, we feel disappointed and angry and hide our feelings. The pressure of those hidden feelings leads to the conclusion that the relationship is not right for us, and we leave. The truth is that when people learn to argue in healthy ways they tend to stay together.

More Articles by Laurie Weiss, Ph.D. 

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