Know what can chip away at a perfectly healthy, solid relationship? Believing myths about what other “happy” couples are or do. Take off your rose-colored glasses and stop thinking your relationship doesn’t measure up, as Dr. Phil reveals 9 myths — and the realities.
1. MYTH: Happy couples can see things through each other’s eyes.
REALITY: You can’t possibly see things the same way as your mate, because you’re just not the same people. You’re different genetically, physically and psychologically, and you’ve had different experiences in the world. Besides, men and women aren’t wired the same.
2. MYTH: Happy couples always have lots of romance.
REALITY: Most people confuse that giddy, dizzy feeling you have early on in your relationship with romance. Nope. That’s called “infatuation,” and it will pass. It’s novelty, excitement and newness, but it doesn’t sustain a relationship. Romantic love is emotionally driven.
3. MYTH: Happy couples can resolve all their disagreements.
REALITY: There are some basic issues you will always disagree about. You each have your own opinions on these things that won’t change. Just agree to disagree.
4. MYTH: Happy couples need to have common interests.
REALITY: It’s a bonus if you do, but there’s nothing wrong with your relationship if you don’t do the same activities. If you and your partner are forcing yourself to engage in common activities but the results are stress, tension and conflict, don’t do it!
5. MYTH: Happy couples don’t fight.
REALITY: Conflict is a fact of life in most relationships, and arguing — as long as it’s not destructive and doesn’t turn into character assassination — isn’t a negative thing. Arguing can actually help the relationship by releasing tension and instilling the sense of peace and trust that comes from knowing you can express feelings without being abandoned or humiliated.
6. MYTH: Happy couples vent all their feelings to each other.
REALITY: Getting things off your chest might feel good, but when you blurt something out in the heat of the moment, you risk damaging the relationship permanently. Many relationships are destroyed when one partner can’t forgive something that was said during uncensored venting. Think before you say something you might regret.
7. MYTH: Being a happy couple has nothing to do with sex.
REALITY: If you want a good sexual relationship, it needs to be embedded in a good overall relationship. That being said, a good sexual relationship is important, because it can make you feel closer, more relaxed, more accepted and more involved with your partner. The intimacy that comes from sexual interaction takes the relationship to a completely different level. Keep sex on your list of priorities.
8. MYTH: Happy couples are always in sync sexually.
REALITY: Except maybe in the beginning when you can’t keep your hands off each other, it’s totally normal for you to be in the mood at different times. Partners rarely have the same level of sex drive at the same time. Negotiate for some middle ground that you can both be happy with. Relationships are about negotiation and compromise — and it never stops.
9. MYTH: Happy couples know the right and wrong way to make their relationships great.
REALITY: There’s no cookie-cutter way to be in a relationship, and no handbook on the proper way to love each other, fight, relate to each other or do anything else that has to do with being in a relationship. What is important is that your ways work for the two of you.
Adapted from Love Smart: Find the One You Want — Fix the One You Got.