“A healthy relationship is a feast of affection/giving for both people; not one receiving crumbs and trying to convince themselves its enough.” ~ Shannon Thomas
Relationships are intriguing and fascinating.
Every relationship has its own dynamic and needs to be understood and appreciated in its own way because when two people come together, they bring in their own thoughts, ideas, past baggage, dreams, hopes, and visions; when these blend in together, a relationship is formed.
Along with these, we also enter relationships with certain faulty beliefs and misconceptions about ourselves, others, and the relationship itself.
When we don’t align our beliefs and expectations with the relationship and the person we’re with, we set ourselves up for repeated experiences of turmoil and chaos.
Most of us don’t even know that we have beliefs in these areas that are leading the way. I’ve heard a lot of people say that “relationships are like this,” especially when it comes to troubled and toxic relationships.
Our own beliefs about ourselves also make us prone to choosing people who are not aligned with us at a deeper level and we end up settling.
For instance, if you believe that you’re not good enough, won’t ever find a potential partner, or don’t deserve a good relationship, then you might find yourself grappling with dysfunctional relationships.
But when you tell yourself “I deserve better,” your mind begins to create a picture of what better is. Until that happens, it’s all about going by what people say because you have no idea what you really want from a partner or a relationship.
“A healthy relationship is one where you can’t wait to see that person. You love to be around that person. You can’t get enough of that person. You’re at your best when you’re with that person.” ~ Germany Kent
And then, we tend to normalize certain unacceptable behaviors in relationships in the name of “relationships are like this” or “oh, this happens a lot; it’s okay” because we don’t know anything else or don’t have the courage to take another route.
Everything has a cost. What matters is the one we are willing to pay, and more often than not, the biggest cost we end up paying is the loss of our own self and the vision of our own life.
Therefore, it’s important to understand that just because some things have been going on for eons doesn’t mean it’s workable in the present.
Here are some misconceptions and faulty beliefs about love that we need to give up:
1. You should get married because of your age or your biological clock. Well, those are legitimate practical and emotional concerns. However, when we make marriage or kids the end goal, we lose sight of the relationship. That’s why so many individuals don’t end up in good relationships or marriages because their focus is not on building a connection or relationship with their partners. In fact, so many people don’t even know or understand what a partnership is really about. For them, it’s about finding someone, ticking off some parameters in their list, and it’s done.
2. To love someone means to tolerate crap. When you love someone, you do need to adjust a bit, compromise, and sacrifice at times in the larger interest of the well-being of the person and relationship. But if sacrificing becomes the norm for only one person and leaves them feeling angry, frustrated, depleted, or with a loss of personal power, then it might not be healthy.
Loving someone does not mean tolerating crap. It doesn’t mean that we have to compromise our own happiness, dignity, and respect for the sake of the relationship. Genuine love and partnership enables us to grow together and individually. It gives us the strength to tide over personal and relationship difficulties. It’s not about tolerance. It’s about being strong, resilient, yet vulnerable together.
3. Time heals everything. No. Time doesn’t heal everything. Some issues need time, patience, and space. For persistent issues and conflicts, something needs to be done. The people involved in a relationship need to take responsibility for their own and the relationship’s happiness. Brushing issues under the carpet, distracting ourselves, losing ourselves in work, friends, or other things will not resolve anything. We just keep collecting more dirt under the carpet until we trip and fall over it one day.
4. Your partner is responsible for fulfilling your needs. Sadly, no. You are responsible for your own needs, which means that it is your responsibility to choose the kind of partner you think can fulfill your needs. If your partner cannot, then fighting, arguing, and blaming will not work. If they could have, they would have. If they’re not being able to or don’t want to, it’s a message for you to take action. You can either adjust your expectations, let go of some things, or take a stand. Those are your needs.
“As long as you leave to others the responsibility to make you happy, you will always be miserable, because that is actually your job.” ~ Linda Alfiori
5. Your partner needs to be perfect. There is no perfect relationship and there is no perfect partner! We all have our imperfections. We need to learn to observe, understand, and accept people for who they are. Every person we meet or are in a relationship with brings their own uniqueness with them. There could be some aspects of their personality that we love, yet there could be others that we might struggle to come to terms with and we may not be able to stand some at all!
What matters is how we feel around them: Do we feel loved, heard, and understood? Despite the difficulties that they come with, do we still want to be with them? Can we manage and accept their imperfections? When we focus on finding or making our partners perfect, we end up dissatisfied and disgruntled and think that our partner needs to change or transform. If we feel this way, maybe we are not with the right person i.e. a person who is right for us.
6. Once we get together, the relationship will take care of itself. A lot of people end up becoming complacent in relationships, leaving their partners with a feeling of being taken for granted, dissatisfied, and exhausted. Being in a relationship needs conscious effort, patience, and perseverance. Yes, there are some aspects of the relationship that might be easy, free flowing, and comfortable, but there are others that might take time, effort, and patience.
7. If a relationship hasn’t reached the predetermined milestones, then something is wrong. There are no set timelines for anything in life—especially in relationships. A relationship is a journey that two individuals decide to get on together, and where they want to go and when they want to reach a particular destination is up to them. Trying to bind one another in timelines only creates pressure.
8. Your partner will complete you. Umm…no. When we are with our partners, we should be able to feel fulfilled. This sense of fulfillment is a by-product of a healthy relationship. But to say that our partners are supposed to complete us means that something in us needs fixing! We are enough. You are a whole, complete individual within yourself and so is your partner. You are equals.
Yes, our partners play an important role in our healing and fulfillment. They enable us to fill certain cracks and dark spots. However, their sole purpose is not to fix us. Our life may be missing something, but we aren’t. Thus, it is our responsibility to keep working on ourselves and remind ourselves of our enoughness. A partner adds to us but is not the source; we are.
“Two halves do not make a whole when it comes to a healthy relationship: it takes two wholes.” ~ Patricia L. Fry
9. A baby will fix your issues. If your relationship is unsatisfactory and unhealthy, adding a baby to the mix will ensure that now you have another human who will be suffering with you. A child needs and deserves a healthy family. As adults, it is our duty and responsibility to ensure that we give a healthy, nurturing environment to the child instead of making the child our savior.
10. Your worlds need to revolve around each other. You need to take care of life and choices as an individual along with being a part of the relationship. When we revolve around anything or anyone, we move away from our own self and life, which doesn’t fare well for our partners and the relationship in the long run. For a relationship to be balanced, it needs a healthy dose of me, you, and us. When we take care of ourselves, personal choices, and visions, we are able to pour more into the relationship (that’s how we also know how we feel in the relationship and what needs to change). Remember, we are always growing and outgrowing—either by default or by choice.
“A healthy relationship will never require you to sacrifice your friends, your dreams, or your dignity.” ~ Dinkar Kalotra
A relationship needs conscious effort. It needs observation, understanding, acceptance, boundaries, nurturance, holding on to certain things, and letting go of others. It is built on reasonable, workable expectations and not on ideals of perfection.
It needs space to breathe and grow, and it is the responsibility of the individuals in it to ensure that it not only survives but thrives too.
And most importantly, it needs self-awareness and intentionality so that you can choose what aligns with you instead of just settling.
“Make sure of this one thing: that the person you choose to stay with is someone you do not have to shrink yourself for, cut yourself into smaller pieces for, minimize yourself for. Do not ever, ever, ever stay with someone for whom you need to be less than! The person who is meant for you will call you into higher parts of yourself, encouraging you to rise, to soar higher.” ~ C. JoyBell C.