A friend of mine said years ago, “Marriage is a battlefield” and every offense is obviously intentional. At that time I could definitely relate to feeling in an episode of Tom & Jerry.
Your partner may be out to get you.
Then again, we may just be foolish enough to believe this and other myths about love.
Love is not just nature’s way of tricking us to reproduce…
…but also to accept an imperfect human being as our teammate in life.
Or as MyLittlePwny so eloquently put it: Love is giving someone the power to destroy you, and trusting them not to.
So let’s reduce our chances of disappointment, shall we?
31 Myths About Love Debunked (based on reliable research):
1. Play hard to get: Will attract a specific kind of mate. Those that get bored after the chase. Watch Lucy’s video on “How to Play Hard to Get” to get the low-down.
2. Foreplay begins in the bedroom: According to Dr. Gottman, every positive thing you do is foreplay.
3. Bury the hatchet: When we sweep things under the rug we fail to notice and resolve major problems surfacing in our marriage and allow them to get worse.
4. Vent anger: Expressing anger while you feel angry makes you feel angrier. According to research, those who lash out, punch that pillow while picturing their partner’s face, often feel anger for longer and suffer from more cardiovascular stress. Destructive anger can be overcome with the use effective coping strategies (e.g. deep breaths, meditation).
5. Males needs to be a head of the house in a heterosexual relationship: Male partners who take influence from female partners enjoy happier and more stable marriages. Equal share of power makes for happier unions.
6. Forgive and forget: Avoid habitually sweeping conflict under the rug as it doesn’t magically disappear. It tends to accumulate and resurface over and over. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting the offense, or how else would you recall that thing that should be avoided from happening again?
7. Anger is a sign of an unhealthy relationship: Research says clear as day that anger doesn’t deteriorate a relationship, and couples remain happily together. This is more likely to deteriorate a relationship. If you feel comfortable to express anger with your partner, that’s generally a good sign, as long as you’re not destructive (see #4).
8. Cuddling is not good for passion: This has actually gotten popular coverage but scientific studies don’t support it. They support the opposite. You can cuddle with your partner and be erotic, no need to do that with separate people.
9. The past is in the past: Not true in intimate relationships. If a partner keeps bringing something up, nothing “is wrong” with them. They have a situation that has not been properly attended to.
10. Feminists are pushy and lousy in bed: Couples that avoid traditional gender roles report more satisfying relationships. Specifically, sex tends to be more satisfying for both.
11. Happy couples don’t fight: Some happy couples even have loud and heated discussions.
12. The good cancels out the bad: Nope, people remember bad events more easily than good ones. Research suggests a 5:1 ratio. You need to do/say 5 good things for every bad one.
13. You’re partner is not your friend: Lovebirds that have been together for long, are very much in love because of their friendship. Intimacy isn’t just sexual, it involves a deep friendship, as research can prove.
14. Time will fix it: Those who avoid issues either try to fix it on their own or wait it out, hoping time will fix it. But anything “unfinished” or “unresolved” is quite loud in our memory.
15. Happily ever after just needs a wedding: the love that makes you get married, isn’t the same that will keep you together. Those butterflies in your stomach may fade, but that doesn’t mean the fire is out. It does take intent. As Pat Ennis, author of The Third Option says, “you’re either building up or tearing down in your relationship.” Despite what the movies do to fascinate us with a happy end, there’s more to the story.
16. I can’t be happy if my relationship falls apart: Untrue. As Dr Sonja Lyubomirsky says, “A good marriage grants you wings and brings out the best person you can be. A troubled marriage imprisons you and brings out your worst nature.” As humans we are ninja survivors and have indestructible resilience. So if you’re in a troubled marriage, you have the choice to save it or step out (which both require your resourcefulness, lots of strength and adjustment).
17. Jealousy is a sign of insecurity: Jealousy is a feeling. Feelings are alarms (like smoke detectors) and a good rule of thumb is not to think of them as “right” or “wong.” A smoke detector tells you there’s smoke, not necessarily a fire.
18. Men aren’t biologically built for commitment: Many gender rules are socially created, not biological. For example, since women have entered the workforce, affairs by women have skyrocketed and slightly exceed men.
19. Don’t sweat the small stuff: When this saying was coined, it was probably intended for work relationships. This isn’t true about intimate relationship. These thrive on the small daily details: showing affection, practicing #12, and taking opportunities to build your relationship.
20. Marriage/love is a battlefield: Many people hold this philosophy about relationships. Be careful with perceptions, as social psychology research makes it clear that we actively filter what we expect to see.
21. Opposites attract: Science confirms “birds of a feather flock together.” We like those who are like us and we can have similaries of any kind. The differences are there to complement each other, not separate each other.
22. We’re already broken, nothing can fix us: This is surrendering to an easier way of life. Some things will of course not be able to change, but there’s always room for growth. What matters is: do you have the effort?
23. Forgiveness is always a good thing: If forgiveness will have positive consequences and not give the other person a free pass to hurt you again then it’s a good thing, but not when the other person feels no remorse.
24. Therapy is for people with big problems: Therapist often say that couples wait until things have gotten really out of hand to seek help, which can make things rather complicated.
25. “If he/she truly loved me, they would know my deepest desires without me having to say anything:” Yes, most romantic movies do communicate this but holding on to this belief in a real relationship can lead to a consistent degree of conflict.
26. Learning to communicate better is all you need for a happy marriage: Some fields have adopted this belief like penicillin for relationships, but Dr. Gottman points out that it can be a very tall order for couples and his research doesn’t support the notion that superb communication alone can fix everything.
27. Affairs are the reason for divorce: Emotional distance and lack of intimacy lead to losing interest and looking elsewhere, but here’s how to know if you should leave the relationship.
28. All our problems must be solved to be happy: Statiscally 69% of our problems are unresolvable, no matter who you end up. Yes, that even goes for your friend Brenda who says she has no problems with her husband.
29. “Speak” in your partner’s “love language” when they’re rude or hostile towards you: Best to ignore and let them cool off otherwise you’re rewarding a bully.
30. Being with the same partner is boring: People in monogamous, long-term relationships report higher relationship satisfaction than those who date. They enjoy more consistent and frequent sexual encounters.
31. We must be the only person feeling this way: It seems that for a good portion of couples, admitting that they have relationship challenges is something of a taboo. Having worked with hundreds of couples in group settings, too many couples said “I thought I was the only one going through this.”
These are narrow and simplified solutions, but at least demystify what you may have thought true (perhaps even make you feel relieved).
In any advice or “expert” opinion you read, don’t take it on face value. If it works, then no need to change what already works. Otherwise, keep a pinch of skepticism in your pocket, and throw away any gullibleness in the trash.
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