Before I started to write this post, the book, Lies My Teacher Told Me rushed to the forefront of my brain. While I have never read that book, the title seems apt as I will try to dispel popular relationship myths that are learned and thought throughout society. While I cannot pinpoint where I learned these myths, I did. And now have spent the last few years trying to unlearn them. Once again, this week is not about advice, but rather about my thoughts and ideas about relationships. Yesterday, there were a few great comments and I sincerely hope that we can continue the dialogue today.
3. You need to spend every moment with your partner.
Wrong! I briefly touched on this idea in an earlier post. I have “lost” multiple friends to this myth; friends who “disappear” once their enter a relationship. In my earlier dating life, I too fell victim to this belief. I remember my first year of college when I was in love and realized that the majority of my time was spent with my partner; not my books, not my friends, not my passions, but with one person. My friends stopped inviting me out because they already knew my answer. However, I would still get mad at them for not inviting me, even though I too knew that I was not going on whatever random adventure they had concocted.
A few Halloweens ago, I went to Miami to hang out with a couple friends. Coincidentally, a college friend also got married that weekend, and the pastor who officiated her wedding shared the following nugget that has stuck with me since I initially heard his message: Relationships are like two trees. They need to be nourished with love and care in order to grow healthy and tall. However, the two trees’ roots cannot be planted too closely together because undoubtedly both trees will fail to garner their necessary nutrients. As a result, each tree will unknowingly stunt the others’ growth. All the love and care cannot correct this failure. However, if you move the roots apart a few more inches, the trees will grow parallel and reach their potential. He ended his message by encouraging my soon-to-be married friends to continue to live their lives. I realize that you need to spend time with your partner, but I think it healthy and wise to maintain your own life as well. You still need time to hang with your friends, and grow in your relationship with you. Continue to develop and learn and be.
2. You need to know what you want.
Incorrect! It is absolutely important and understandable to know what qualities and characteristics you would like to have in your partner, but it also acceptable if you do not know. I have spoken with some friends who have a laundry list of what their potential partner will have. While I do not knock them for wanting what they want, I do think there needs to be some flexibility allowed. There is power in not knowing. While you may not know exactly what you want, you should know what you do not want. For example, I do not know what I want in a relationship (partly because I do not want to develop tunnel vision and miss potentially amazing people) but I do know what I do not want. And in doing so, I am starting to figure out the qualities that I do want.
1. You need a 50/50 relationship.
Blasphemy! I do not believe in finding someone that will complete me. That’s a load of horse manure. My Aunt taught me while I was in my early twenties that I need to be 100 by myself. She encouraged her nephew to be whole by himself. Thus, if the relationship ends, I will still be 100, not the lonely and dissatisfied 50 that American society encourages us to be. Additionally, she suggested that I change the kind of people I dated, avoiding those who believe in the 50/50 lie. Instead, search for others who are 100 on their own because then we come together we are a mighty 200! [200>100] And if by chance, we break up, each of us is still whole.
Seemingly, each myth interconnects with the other myths.
Seemingly, each myth returns to the relationship that one has with oneself.
Do you agree? What are some other popular relationship myths?