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10 Myths About “Healthy” Relationships

As originally published on MindBodyGreen.

Each one of us carries ideas around about what a healthy relationship looks like or “should” look like. This typically comes from our upbringing, the relationships we see around us, and more. Yet these common beliefs about “healthy” relationships often create and reinforce stereotypes, many of which can do more harm than good.

While maintaining standards for what you want a “healthy relationship” to look like is a totally OK thing to do, many of these thoughts are just cultural myths that oversimplify issues most relationships inevitably face.

Identifying the relationship myths that we hold can be beneficial to the overall health and longevity of our relationships, as it frees us from making assumptions and helps us to live more in the present moment.

Here are 10 myths about so-called “healthy” relationships that many of us may have.

#1 – “Conflict means the relationship isn’t healthy.”

This is quite the opposite actually. The total absence of conflict in a relationship is more a red flag that problems are being repressed rather than discussed. By allowing conflicts to happen, both partners openly acknowledge and work through issues, which, by the way, are basically unavoidable in any relationship, romantic or not. In doing so, the relationship deepens and becomes stronger.

#2 – “We both have to have the same views on everything.”

Do we need to accommodate all of our partner’s needs 24/7 in order to be with them? Sure, but only to some degree. That is, we don’t have to agree or be on the same page about every single thing in order to have a healthy relationship.

Two people can have wildly different view points on things and still have a healthy relationship. After all, there are people in this world who have healthy relationships despite differing religious/spiritual views, cultural backgrounds, and political views. It boils down to a matter of both people accepting and respecting one another.

#3 – “A happy and fulfilling relationship requires having common interests.”

Though having some common interests can make it easier on what to do on a Saturday night date, it’s not an absolute deal breaker. What matters more is that there is a lively dynamic between you two, and one characterized by feelings of love and support.

#4 – “There is a certain criteria that all must follow in order to have a healthy relationship.”

This myth is the paramount myth: the mere idea that there is one ideal of a “healthy” relationship.

But when you think about it more carefully, doesn’t it seem obvious that there’s no “one size fits all” criteria? Everybody is different, and very complicated, so why shouldn’t our relationships be that way, too? Each of us has our own fears, desires, neuroses, needs, past experiences and more. That’s why we have to do what works for us and our particular relationship.

#5 – “As long as I really try to not do what my parents did, I will have a healthy relationship.”

The problem with heavily focusing on not doing what our parents did is this: We may end up trying so hard to not be like our parents that we end up causing other problems. So we must focus more on healing ourselves rather than to simply avoid doing what our parents did.

#6 – “There will always be romance.”

The romance may last a few years, but the truth is that it’s going to calm down at some point or another. It’s not something that is just going to always be there automatically.

#7 – “If I’m with the right person, I won’t have to really work that hard at it.”

Any one individual is incredibly complicated. So once you put two people together, everything becomes so much more so. I like to think that our relationships are assignments to help us grow and evolve. The challenges that come up during our relationships invite us to examine ourselves, and undergo some personal growth every single day.


Click to Tweet: The challenges that emerge in our relationships invite us to examine ourselves & undergo personal growth every day. via @jenilyn8705

#8 – “In order for this relationship to work, my partner must change.”

The reality is that we have no control over our partner or anyone else in our life. The only person that we have control over is ourselves.

#9 –  “Being in a healthy relationship means my partner is going to know my needs and meet them all the time.”

It is not anybody else’s responsibility to take care of you and your needs. Only you are responsible for that — just as your partner is responsible for their own needs as well.

#10 –  “All we need is love to make a marriage work.”

When it comes to marriage, there are a lot of things to deal with: finding a place to live, working with finances, deciding whether to have kids and, if so, deciding on how they are going to be raised.

Sure, love can be a motivator to get us to work through these things together but we can’t just say, “Oh, all we need is love” and brush the rest under the rug thinking it will just “work itself out.” All these factors need to be openly talked about and agreements need to be made.

What are some myths about healthy relationships that you can think of? Share them in the comments below!

3 Things to Remember When You’re Trying to Fix Your Breakup

Breakups are rough. Trust me, I’ve been through plenty of them. Some are easier than others, but they still hurt.

When breakups happen we have the tendency to go into a mode where we obsess over all of our mistakes and wish that we would’ve done things differently.

We start thinking of all the things:

“I shouldn’t have said…”

“I shouldn’t have done…”

“I should have…”

“I wish I…”

Thought after thought after thought – all wishing that we could change the past in some way in a hope that our present situation is what it isn’t. We just with that somehow we could fix everything and our relationship could be back the way it was.

Though obsessing and focusing on all the “should haves” is a normal stage of the grief that we have to allow ourselves to go through, we have to be mindful about going too far with it. Meaning: Are you obsessing so much that you’re trying to control everything in your current situation?

Are you trying to force your ex to talk to you? Are you trying to force yourself to forgive? Are you trying to force the two of you to “figure things out” just so you can go back to dating again?

Admittedly, I’ve probably been one of the worst possible people at this. I’m a total recovering Ms. Fix-it. It was very hard for me in the past to simply accept the breakup for what it was and let go from a place of love and respect for the other person.

Though it can be extremely difficult to fully heal from heartbreak, there are things that we can keep in mind that help us release this urge to try to fix our broken relationship.

Regardless of what “technically” happened – it’s still not completely your fault and it’s not completely their fault either.

Typically when we start feeling the urge to control and fix our broken relationship its because we are beating ourselves up. It’s because we’re thinking in our heads “I messed this up, I’m not good enough, and I need to change”.

While its true that we do have areas where we need to grow and become better, its never completely our fault. After all, it takes two to tango. The other person’s imperfections certainly didn’t make things any easier.

That being said, its also good to keep in mind that its never fully the other person’s fault either. So we want to avoid the urge to point the finger at the other person as well. It’s both people together that create conflicts.


Click to Tweet: A breakup is never one person’s fault. So be easy on yourself — AND your partner. @jenilyn8705

Focus on your own well-being.

When we have most of our energy focused on trying to fix our breakup, we completely forget to focus on one of the most important things of all: ourselves. Try to take time to rest, eat, and talk to a loved one. Allow yourself to grieve and process what you’re going through.

There’s always other fish in the sea.

For years I cringed every time someone would say these words to me, but now I actually find joy in the truth of it. There is so many potential lessons and experiences out there in the dating world.

Trouble, however, is that we can never fully see our possibilities if we are too focused on what we have lost. Sure, allow yourself to grieve – your soul deserves the time to do that – but be mindful about focusing too much on what you have lost. You don’t want to end up in a rut and miss out on noticing the gold that’s in front of you.

Take our a sheet of paper or a journal and write a letter to your ex.  All the things you enjoyed about the person and the things you will miss.  Write down the lessons you’ve learned by being with this person.  Allow this time of writing to be a way of really honoring the relationship that you had with this person.  But don’t actually send it!

Now, on a separate sheet of paper write down all the not-so-great things about being in a relationship with this person.  Try to be mindful about not going on a tangent over how terrible the person was — keep it reasonable.  Focus on the things that you can do, learn, and experience now that you are not with this person.  Imagine the possibilities.