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What kind of standards do you hold your relationship up to? Generally we have instincts that tell us whether we're in a positive relationship or not, but a lot of people live by some rather misguided perceptions of what a healthy relationship is.
These relationship myths are quite pervasive in our culture and have been passed down for years. Let's take this opportunity to clear the air and do some relationship 'myth busting'.
Love is enough
Oooh, we're starting with a biggie.
I'm a hopeless (helpless / hapless) romantic myself. It would be really nice if this one were true. We'd like to think that the love between two people can surmount all kinds of odds and obstacles, but there are severe limitations to that kind of thinking.
In the real world, where I sometimes live, differences about things like: money, family, long-term goals, kids (the list could go on a lot longer) can be deal-breakers.
External forces have a huge impact on our lives. To dismiss them is to be naive. While love can definitely help you get through some things, it's not enough in and of itself.
Your partner should be your best friend
One question - WHY?
Your best friend should be your best friend; your DOG should be your best friend. Your partner should be your partner.
That doesn't mean that there's no intimacy between the two of you. It doesn't mean that you can't share. It just means that you have a different relationship than you do with everyone else. That's a good thing.
Best friends exist so you can complain to them about your partner. If your best friend and partner are the same person, you've got a bit of a problem on your hands.
A healthy couple doesn't fight
Show me a couple that doesn't fight and I'll show you a ticking time bomb.
Fighting is healthy. Remember, it's not IF you fight - it's HOW you fight that is important. Arguments are differences of opinion. These differences make us unique and resolving a fight is how we continue to learn about each other.
And let's not forget about make-up sex. Although, don't do what I once did and tell your partner that you're "really looking forward to the make-up sex" in the middle of an argument.
If you're in love, you won't find others attractive
This one makes me howl with laughter, but it's amazing how many people believe it - or at least say that they believe it.
Look, being in love with someone doesn't mean that you suddenly go blind to beauty. Appreciating someone else's beauty does not equal wanting to be with them. As long as you're not making your partner feel inadequate, there's nothing wrong with pointing out someone else's attractiveness.
A healthy relationship has nothing to do with sex
Sex is incredibly important in a relationship. While the frequency of sex does tend to dwindle over time in a long-term relationship, the intimacy that comes from sex is hard to match.
In this case, we don't have to limit the term 'sex' to mean 'intercourse'. A display of affection in the form of kissing, touching, etc. is matchless in making us feel loved and secure.
Also, sex is fun - you heard it here first!
A good couple should be interested in the same things
It's important to have some similar interests. But, it's just as important to have different interests that you can take part in separately.
Don't try to make yourself like something just because your partner likes it. Faking it will lead to resentment and problems down the line. Personally, I can't help but think about all the money I wasted on those ballroom dancing lessons - yeesh!
I'll be happy once he/she changes
This is one of the biggest relationship myths around. A partner is NOT a project. The only thing you can change is yourself. Being involved with someone you would like to fundamentally change is a dead end street. Ask yourself this: "If I want this person to change who they are, then why am I with them in the first place?"
No one is perfect. You should make a point of accepting your partner's flaws and focus instead on celebrating what you admire and respect about them.
Keep myth busting
It takes courage and commitment to be involved in a relationship. Don't go jeopardizing a good thing by adhering to a false set of hand-me-down standards.