We often turn to our friends and family for relationship advice, particularly when we’re dealing with issues in our relationships. Sometimes, they share their opinions with such passion and certainty that it’s hard to doubt what they’re saying. While the intentions of our loved ones are generally good, their advice can be really off base. We often spend so much time communicating about our relationships with them, and not enough time communicating with our partners that we end up sabotaging our relationships and our personal happiness. Here are six pieces of advice we hear too often that we should all stop listening to.
As You Get Older, You Should Lower Your Relationship Expectations: Just because you’re growing in age doesn’t mean you have to lower your relationship expectations. So many singles get lost in the “I’ll take what I can get at my age” mentality that they think they’re not worthy of a partner who meets their standards. Contrary to the belief that you have to compromise your desires with age, relationship partners get better with age. Why? Because they’re generally more established, comfortable in their own skin and know exactly what they’re looking for (and not looking for) in a relationship too. This doesn’t mean that you should have an overwhelming list of unrealistic expectations, but you shouldn’t lower your standards just to be with someone.
You Should Follow the Rules of Dating: How many of us have hesitated to pick up the phone and call or text someone because we think we’re supposed to wait until they hit us up first? How many of us pretend to be busy to seem less interested so that the person can wonder about us? If you think with dating comes rules, you’re probably allowing conventional dating expectations dictate your actions in the relationship. As much as we think men and women play relationship games, we’re often the game players and culprits of our own demise. If you want to be the first person to reach out, go ahead. If you want to go out on the second date the next night, go ahead. We get in the way of our own happiness when we limit our actions in an effort to not look pressed or needy. Show the person that you’re with that you really care.
Your Partner Should Be Your Soulmate: So many people get lost in the idea of soulmates and prince charmings sweeping us off our feet that they miss out on the beautiful relationship opportunities right in front of them. Strong relationships require work and build over time. When you buy into the soulmate notion, it can leave you discontent and wondering if you are dating or married to the wrong person because you believe there’s someone better out there. These thoughts can and will cause you to drift from your partner and can ultimately eat away at your relationship. Yes, you and the person you’re with should connect on a soul level, but the idea that every person has a “soulmate” who completes them…They just don’t exist.
Having a Baby Will Bring You Closer: If I had a dollar for every friend who thought a baby would make their relationship better, I’d have a fully-packed wallet. So many women and men get lost in the idea of having children, and those children saving a failing relationship or bringing you closer together but all a child will do when you’re having issues is complicate things. You may feel like the baby is bringing you closer in the beginning, but after the honeymoon stage of pregnancy, reality kicks back in. Babies shouldn’t be used as tools to manipulate our relationships. When you decide to have children, make sure it’s not for selfish reasons.
Once a Cheater, Always A Cheater: This is one of the most common expressions used by those who have been betrayed in their relationships. For many, this response eliminates trust and the potential to get hurt again. While some people demonstrate patterns of cheating in their relationships, this expression oversimplifies the complexity of why people cheat and whether or not they are capable of cheating again. It’s easy to write off a person who has cheated in their past, or has cheated on you, but the potential to get hurt or hurt someone else exists in all relationships. Cheating doesn’t define the person. With all relationships, you should be cautious, but you shouldn’t let fear of the unknown stop you from moving forward with someone.
You Should Stay Together for the Kids: How many times have we heard this from family and friends? You may even be subscribing to this advice yourself. Staying together for the kids is one of the most common reasons people stay in unhealthy relationships. Instead of giving up on their relationship or marriage, they try to keep face for the children’s sake, often compromising their own well-being in an effort to not disrupt their child (or children’s) “world”. When you’re dealing with the complex and serious realities of potential divorce, it makes sense that you would want to give your relationship your all before giving up on it. However, if you’re in a relationship that’s completely unhealthy and dysfunctional, there’s nothing worse for your kids than to stay together. As much as you want to keep your kids away from these unfortunate realities, they can see right through it. It’s not good to stay with someone when it’s compromising the physical, mental and emotional well-being of your children.