Guest writer for Wake Up World
“Though fairy tales end after ten pages, our lives do not. We are multi-volume sets. In our lives, even though one episode amounts to a crash and burn, there is always another episode awaiting us and then another. There are always more opportunities to get it right, to fashion our lives in the ways we deserve to have them. Don’t waste your time hating a failure. Failure is a greater teacher than success.” ~ Clarissa Pinkola Estes
Hollywood perpetuates lots of myths and fantasies about relationships.
So much so that it’s difficult to tell what’s real anymore. Photos are retouched, porn shows sex in an unrealistic light and movies make over-the-top romance seem the norm.
The clarity gained from examining these myths helps us define what we want from our relationships and reduce or eliminate a lot of false expectations, assumptions, projections and fantasies so that we may connect with our partner in an authentic, loving way.
According to Webster’s, a myth is “a popular belief or story that has become associated with a person, institution, or occurrence, especially one considered to illustrate a cultural ideal.“
Let’s look at some common myths many of us have:
1. If partners really love each other, they know each other’s needs and feelings.
No one is a mind reader. Good communication is necessary to stay connected and tuned in to your partner.
2. If you’re truly in love, passion will never fade.
Passion isn’t passive; it requires attention and fresh energy to keep it alive. It evolves, changes and mirrors the rhythm of the relationship as it moves from romance to deeper levels of intimacy.
3. Jealousy is a sign of true love and caring.
Jealousy is a sign of possessiveness and insecurity. Trust is the foundation of a healthy relationship, along with making your partner a priority.
4. In order for a relationship to be successful, the other partner must change.
People change in their own time when they’re ready, but it’s foolish to base your happiness or the success of your relationship on someone changing to suit your needs.
5. You complete me.
You’re already complete. People are not in your life to fill you or take away your feelings of emptiness.
6. If I love you enough, you’ll feel better. If you love me enough, I’ll feel better.
People are not in our lives to alter our moods or fix us. Rather, we are sharing our journey and ourselves with them.
7. You need to feel in love all the time.
As with anything in life, there is an ebb and flow to the intensity of feelings for another. At first, when the relationship is new, feelings tend to be intense; however, it is possible to keep the flame of excitement alive if both partners are authentically expressing the highest joy in their lives.
8. You’ll realize right away when you’ve met the one.
People can surprise us; good relationships take time. Getting to know someone is a lifelong process. Welcoming the adventure of this discovery is a sign that you’ve found someone who might ultimately end up being the one.
9. Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Having personal space is good for any relationship; however, too much can cause partners to drift away from each other and disconnect. A nice flow between aloneness and togetherness, between self-focused time and other-focused time keeps the energy alive and the other person interesting.
10. Love is enough.
Love is a river, not a lake. It needs movement and freshness. Loving a person is beautiful. With this comes the investment and work of cultivating a connection. Time and activities that foster creative expression, vulnerable sharing and affection as well as deep intimacy all enhance the expression of love between two people.
11. Meeting my partner halfway is enough.
Sometimes halfway is enough and sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes we need to reach further and give more because the situation requires it, just as sometimes our partner needs to reach further and give more because we need it. Giving and receiving in an intimate relationship is a dance, and it’s necessary to be tuned in to know what is needed in the present moment.
12. Love and romance are the same.
Love is who we are. Romance is the early stage of a relationship that’s supercharged with possibility and promise as well as a testing ground for intimacy with a partner. Romantic expectations often create the most tension between two people because it’s often assumed by one or both parties that “If someone really loves me, they will do ______.” Right there we’ve put a condition on love.
Again, communication can remedy this issue very quickly. Consider telling your partner what would make you feel loved and asking your partner what makes them feel loved. Then you will at least have some foundation upon which to build loving gestures and actions.
13. Love is not worth the pain of rejection.
This is a myth people perpetuate with themselves and others after a particularly painful heartbreak. It can also be a myth people use to hold back and stay disengaged in a relationship.
14. You either love someone or you don’t.
We change; our partners change. No one and nothing is static and, therefore, as we evolve our feelings change. Sometimes we grow together and sometimes we grow apart. There are hundreds of stories of people divorcing and remarrying the same partner again.
With any relationship, we need to ride the tides of changing circumstances and feelings and rise above them enough to stay connected with the person we love. Sometimes, we simply need to move in separate directions for the highest good for both people.
Myths create concepts we believe we need to follow and live by. This makes our relationships unnecessarily difficult. Conforming to an outer ideal is a setup that puts pressure on a relationship to live up to a certain standard. It’s also a setup that leads to feeling disappointed and let down.
The myths you see about relationships portrayed in the movies, while entertaining to watch, are constructed in the mind of a writer, not on the fluid, day-to-day spontaneous movements of two individuals in relationship.
No two couples will ever relate in the same way, so it behooves us to immerse ourselves in the true flavors and colors of our partner, and not what the outside world tells us.
Make a simple shift. Step away from the outer noise and tune into what’s authentic for the two of you, not what you think you “should” be doing or feeling. Then, learn to navigate from within the sacred space that the two of you co-create. Using internal cues as your guide, really listen to each other and really express your needs and vision of the relationship.
Beyond this, you can also examine what false beliefs and concepts you bring into the relationship from your childhood and from previous relationships. This sounds daunting, but mostly it requires bringing the light of awareness to old habits and patterns that arise and making corrections to those destructive attitudes and behaviors.
This paves the way for a strong foundation built on what’s real and not pie-in-the-sky fantasies about the perfect partner.
Originally published at Elephant Journal and reproduced here with permission.
Also by Victoria Fann:
- Are Your Beliefs Your Own?
- Relationships – The Four Golden Threads
- Turning Down the Volume of the External World
- The Alchemy of Groups
- Why We Keep Ourselves ‘Small’
- Finding Comfort in Uncertain Times
About the author:
Victoria Fann is a writer, transformational coach, community builder and practical mystic. The foundation of her work was inspired by her time at Esalen as well as her training and inner work with many of the early founders and teachers of the human potential movement. She has been writing essays, short stories, plays and screenplays for over three decades. Her writing has been published in numerous publications and anthologies including Wake Up World, Women of Wisdom, Newsweek, Thought Catalog, Elephant Journal, Snapping Twig, Medium, BioStories. Her book, Creative Alchemy: Accessing the Extraordinary Power of the Muse to Transform Your Art and Your Life will be published this year.