The 8 common relationship myths we need to unlearn, according to an expert

Written by Amber Sunner

If you’re willing to work on a relationship that may be breaking down, then this Instagram post about unlearning myths we may unknowingly take into a relationship may help you.

Relationships are rarely like the movies stereotype or as perfect as the stories we read growing up. They’re messy, hard work and require bouts of patience, unlike the heteronormative portrayals we see on our screens, where boy meets girl and a happily ever after is shortly followed.

Research by dating platform eharmony and the Imperial College Business School found a third (32%) of relationships started between 2015 and 2019 started online, compared to only 19% between 2005 and 2014. But with more online relationships transitioning into real life, how can we sustain this happiness? The answer applies to all relationships – unlearn the common relationship myths ingrained in how we view romance and love.

The “myths” we clutch so dearly when we enter a relationship often do more harm than good, as they often impose unrealistic expectations on our partner. An Instagram post demystifies relationships and strips it back to its bare bones – and we learnt a lot.

Todd Baratz, who wrote the hard-truths post and is a licensed mental health counselor, certified sex therapist and relationship expert. He goes by @yourdiagnonsense on Instagram and delivers some relationship pills that may be difficult to swallow directly to your feed.

His post ‘Relationship myths to unlearn ASAP’ indicates the urgency needed in this quest to find happiness in our partnerships. His caption reads: “Relationships are highly cultural… Expand your mind. Get rid of the black and white rules. Find nuance.”

“True love is unconditional – FALSE,” is what his first slide reads. Before delivering an extremely real truth in his statement of: “Unconditional love is between a parent and child, not adult partners.” He says this myth is “based on a fantasy” and continues that it is a recipe for disaster if you live in denial with unrealistic expectations. The first mythbuster did cause quite a stir in the comments after users said unconditional love between a parent and child is also idealistic.

According to Baratz, we shouldn’t solve all conflicts that arise in our relationships. “Not all conflicts are solvable, not should a relationship be thought of as a conflict solving machine,” his next slide reads. He says conflicts give importance to repairing, connecting, and feeling close in the pairing. These are “more important than finding solutions to the conflict,” Baratz says.

The timeline in traditional relationships is the next aspect to be rightfully picked apart. “Culture tells you that you should move in, get married and have kids,” Baratz tells his 273k Instagram followers. He advises focusing on “cultivating satisfying relationships rather than fulfilling relational milestones you inaccurately learned as being necessary during childhood”. Mic drop. Plus it confirms how imprecise the K-I-S-S-I-N-G song we all used to sing in the playground is.

One that may be controversial is his rebuttal of the ‘don’t go to bed angry’ rule many couples follow. “FALSE” Baratz writes in all caps, “Sleep is the best intervention for an overwhelming emotion or conflict.” He continues by saying sleep offers the opportunity to gain a clear and calm head.

Baratz, who hosts a relationship and sex podcast called Your Diagnonsense, goes on to his next myth buster. “Don’t lose yourself and don’t be codependent – FALSE”. Being dependent on a partner is usually seen as harmful to a relationship. Instead, Baratz says, “Relationships are fundamentally defined by an ongoing balancing act between independence, dependence and co-dependence.” He reassures his followers that these changes are normal and to be expected.

Largely, the comments on the post have been full of praise. One reads: “Very helpful right now, thank you.”

“This is wonderful. It totally challenges the traditional lessons we’ve learned about relationships and is purely realistic,” another reads.

Belgian psychotherapist and bestselling author Esther Perel said: “The quality of our relationships determines the quality of our lives.” A noteworthy quote to remember when we enter new relationships or work on the ones we already have.

Unlearning these myths could benefit our relationships, but the process requires time and patience – much like relationships do. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and take each day as it comes when you’re trying to unlearn something you may feel is deep-rooted in your beliefs. 

Image: Getty

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