We’ve decided we want a primary partnership in our life, we are ready, we have some solid direction about choosing a partner. Even with this fabulous new understanding of ourselves, old societal conditioning and limiting beliefs can still mess us up as we’re forging our healthier new relationships (or equally, as we evaluate leaving a current relationship: coming in next post!) Best to have these ideas fresh in our mind, so that when archaic thinking rears, we can immediately recognize it as such – and dismiss it.
Before we go on, let’s get the whole issue of whether or not you believe in soulmates out of the way: bluntly, I DON’T CARE! The word “soulmate” is truly very innocuous, but somehow it has become a true or false debate, and in my opinion, you’d only debate the issue if you don’t know yourself very well; otherwise, you’d have a clear understanding of how relationships factor in your life and vocabulary wouldn’t mean a damn thing!! The word soulmate is just kind of a handy term to indicate those bearing deeper resonance in your being, as opposed to terms like “significant other” – which let’s face it, doesn’t make someone sound very significant at all! There’s no inference here that you can’t have more than one soulmate, or that they won’t change roles in your life as you grow. For the purposes of this article:
A soulmate (or soul mate) is a person with whom one has a feeling of deep or natural affinity more rare and unique than that of other relationships.
– Collins English Dictionary
Simple and generic as you can get. Now, onto an opinion by Dr. Phil regarding “relationships myths” to steer clear of, as per an O Magazine posting:
Ten Relationship Myths
If you are still romantically connected to someone who is not a soul mate, it’s important to discern when one particular relationship has run its course. Most of us know, but sometimes it is hard to let go. It is difficult to let go of a relationship that offers companionship, sex, fun, or financial security. But when you want a true soul mate, holding on to a relationship that only imitates love keeps us from the very thing we say we desire. Even the difficult aspects of romantic evolution can be considered “time served” in preparation for true love. Many of us get our best training in relationship boot camp. We may beat ourselves up for bad marriages, relationships, and dates–any time that seems wasted on Ms. or Mr. Wrong–but in truth, they are an important, instructive part of the journey. The grand awakening to what soul mate love is comes by discovering firsthand what it is not.
The quality of a relationship depends on how well it meets the needs of those involved. -Dr. Phil
Think your relationship is a failure because you and your partner aren’t following certain “rules” or meeting certain standards? Dr. Phil blows the whistle on 10 of the most common but dangerous relationship myths.
MYTH #1: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP DEPENDS ON A GREAT MEETING OF THE MINDS
- You will never see things through your partner’s eyes because you are two entirely different people. You are genetically, physiologically, psychologically and historically different.
- You will not solve your relationship problems by becoming more alike in your thinking. Men and women are wired differently. Attempting to blur your fundamentally different viewpoints is unnatural and even dangerous.
- Recognize that a relationship is far more enjoyable when you’re with someone who enriches your life, not simply reflects it. Appreciate your differences.
MYTH #2: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES A GREAT ROMANCE
- Yes, your life with your partner should include plenty of romance. But don’t kid yourself and expect an unrealistic Hollywood fairytale. The truth is that in the real world, being in love is not like falling in love.
- Falling in love is only the first stage of love. It’s impossible to remain in that stage. A mature relationship will shift from dizzying infatuation to a deeper, more secure love.
- Don’t make the common mistake of thinking that when the initial wild passion fades you aren’t in love anymore. The answer is not to start a new relationship so you can recapture that emotional high with someone else. The answer is to learn how to move on to the next stages of love for a different but richer experience.
MYTH #3: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES GREAT PROBLEM-SOLVING
- Don’t fall into the trap of believing that you and your partner can’t be happy if you can’t resolve your serious disagreements. Ninety percent of problems in a relationship are not solvable.
- There are things that you and your partner disagree about and will continue to disagree about. Why can’t you once and for all resolve these issues? Because in order to do so, one of you would have to sacrifice your values and beliefs.
- You can simply agree to disagree and reach “emotional closure” even though you haven’t reached closure on the issue.
MYTH #4: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP REQUIRES COMMON INTERESTS THAT BOND YOU TOGETHER FOREVER
There is nothing wrong with your relationship if you don’t share common interests and activities.
If you and your partner are forcing yourselves to engage in common activities but the results are stress, tension and conflict, don’t do it!
MYTH #5: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP IS A PEACEFUL ONE
- Don’t be afraid to argue because you think it’s a sign of weakness or relationship breakdown. Even the healthiest couples argue.
- If approached properly, arguing can actually help the relationship by (a) releasing tension and (b) instilling the sense of peace and trust that comes from knowing you can release feelings without being abandoned or humiliated.
- Instead of worrying about how many times you argue, worry about how you argue. Here are some guidelines:
- Don’t abandon the issue and attack the worth of your partner during an argument.
- Don’t seek conflict because it’s stimulating.
- Don’t pursue a take-no-prisoners approach in your arguments.
- Don’t avoid achieving emotional closure at the end of an argument.
MYTH #6: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP LETS YOU VENT ALL YOUR FEELINGS
- Getting things off your chest might feel good, but when you blurt something out in the heat of the moment, you risk damaging your relationship permanently. Many relationships are destroyed when one partner can’t forgive something that was said during uncensored venting.
- Before you say something you might regret, bite your tongue and give yourself a moment to consider how you really feel. The things we say while we’re letting loose often don’t represent how we really feel and shouldn’t be communicated — especially if they are potentially destructive.
MYTH #7: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH SEX
- The belief that sex is not important is a dangerous and intimacy-eroding myth. Sex provides an important time-out from the pressures of our daily lives and allows us to experience a quality level of closeness, vulnerability and sharing with our partners.
- Sex might not be everything but it registers higher (90 percent) on the “importance scale” if it’s a source of frustration in your relationship. If your sex life is unfulfilled, it becomes a gigantic issue. On the other hand, couples that have satisfying sex lives rate sex at only 10 percent on the “importance scale.”
- Don’t restrict your thinking by considering sex to be something that only consists of the actual physical act. Touching, caressing, holding hands and any means by which you provide physical comfort to your partner can all be viewed as part of a fulfilling sex life.
MYTH #8: A GREAT RELATIONSHIP CANNOT SURVIVE A FLAWED PARTNER
- Nobody’s perfect. As long as your partner’s quirks are non-abusive and non-destructive, you can learn to live with them.
- Instead of focusing on your partner’s shortcomings, remember the qualities that attracted you in the first place. Perhaps some of these idiosyncrasies were part of the attraction? Just because a behavior isn’t mainstream, doesn’t mean that it’s toxic to the relationship.
- Be careful to distinguish the difference between a partner with quirks and one with a serious problem. Serious problems that are destructive and abusive include substance abuse and mental/physical abuse. Unlike idiosyncrasies, these are not behaviors you should learn to live with.
- Nothing could be further from the truth. There is no definitive “right way” to be a good spouse, good parent, or to handle any relationship challenge that life throws you.
- Do what works for you rather than following some standards you might have read in a book or heard from a well-meaning friend. If what you and your partner are doing is generating the results you want, stick with it. If both of you are comfortable with the principles that work, you can write your own rules.
- Remember not to be rigid about the way in which you accept your partner’s expressions of love. There is no “right way” for someone to love you. The fact that your partner expresses feelings differently doesn’t make those feelings less genuine or of less value.
MYTH #10: YOUR RELATIONSHIP CAN BECOME GREAT ONLY WHEN YOU STRAIGHTEN YOUR PARTNER OUT
- Don’t fall into the trap of believing that if you could change your partner, your relationship would be better. You are, at the very least, jointly accountable for the relationship.
- Let go of the childlike notion that falling in love means finding someone who will be responsible for your happiness. You need to take responsibility for your own happiness.
- If your relationship is distressed, the most important person for you to change might be yourself. Once you identify the payoffs you are subconsciously seeking with destructive behavior, you can choose to remove them from your life.
Appreciate the relationships that have taught you what you don’t want. Honor those loves. Express gratitude for the lessons you have learned, even the toughest ones. Send a spiritual message to your old flame saying,
“I thank you, I bless you, I release you”
… and sayonara baby!