Six Lies That Ruin Relationships
There’s no simple recipe for a successful relationship, but we all know there’s plenty of advice to go around. Parents, friends, nosy relatives, strangers… almost anyone is ready to hear your relationship issues and offer their perspectives.
But how good is their advice? (Six Lies That Ruin Relationships)
Many common adages about love and relationships, though well-intended, are thoroughly misguided. Indeed, in American culture, certain relationship myths are heard so often that they become internalized, and work as guiding principles, despite their inaccuracy.
Whether you’re searching for love or maintaining a current relationship, don’t be caught up by these common misconceptions.
Always have high expectations for your relationship. Having high expectations predicts satisfaction if your relationship is on solid footing, but if you’re going through a tough time (e.g., long-distance; a new baby; managing a job change or unemployment), consider lowering your expectations.
McNulty’s (2016) longitudinal study on newlyweds showed that individuals in stable marriages benefited when they had high standards for their relationship, but when couples had more severe problems or habitually engaged in more destructive behaviors, high standard predicted lower satisfaction.
Focus on yourself, your partner will be there. You’re busy juggling multiple responsibilities and pursuing your own goals, but to have a healthy relationship, you need to give that relationship your attention. Little gestures that show you care might seem well, little; but, they have a surprisingly positive effect on relationship happiness.
These thoughtful gestures produce gratitude, and gratitude promotes feelings of connection and relationship satisfaction (Algoe, Gable, & Maisel, 2010); big wins from minimal effort.
Love is all you need. Love – be it defined as intimacy or passion – is an important component of a satisfying romantic relationship, but it’s not everything. A relationship without commitment will not last (Rusbult, 1980). Commitment is a decision, and, while love might factor into the equation, so too do overall investment in and need for the relationship, as well as the availability of alternatives to the relationship.
If long-term goals aren’t aligned, for example, and someone could find a more suitable option elsewhere, feelings may not carry the day. In other words, research shows that being “in love” is not a sufficient foundation, by itself, for predicting relationship stability – commitment is a necessary component.