Relationship Myths that Keep You Single
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Relationship Myths that Keep You Single
As a dating coach, I know that we all have certain fairytale myths about love and romance lodged deep in our psyches. Unfortunately, these unrealistic expectations can set you up to fail when you’re dating and even when you’re in a committed relationship. I’ve met with many single clients who have bought into these relationship myths and are feeling totally disillusioned with the dating process. I’ve also met with many long-term couples in counseling who feel their relationships are missing some magic ingredient because they don’t measure up to our culture’s myths about love.
To find true love, and to keep it, you don’t need fairy tales. You need both feet planted firmly in reality — that’s where the real magic happens. So, let’s bust some of these relationship myths and move you one step closer to finding the one.
(Pssst…. If you’d prefer to listen to this one, I’ve also recorded an episode of the Love, Happiness and Success podcast on this topic, featuring dating expert Damona Hoffman. You can find it on this page (player below), or on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you get your podcasts.)
Relationship Myth #1 — Love Is a Feeling
The Fairy Tale: Love is an intense emotion that strikes us like a bolt of lightning. It makes us do crazy things in a fever of ecstasy and excitement, like making out in the middle of a hurricane or crawling across the desert on our knees. The more passionately you feel about someone (and the more disruption and drama those feelings create in your life), the more you love them.
Reality: True love is a commitment to the wellbeing of another person. It is often quite pleasant, but it’s not a wild roller coaster filled with peak moments from start to finish. The measure of your love for someone is not the chemistry you feel in their presence. Just like you still love your children even when you’re totally frustrated with them, you can love your partner, no matter what emotional state you happen to be in at any given moment.
Feelings always come and go; love is sustainable because it is an action and a choice. But when people believe love is a feeling, they often end up on my couples counseling couch saying things like, “I love you, but I’m not in love with you” after three or four years of marriage, when the excitement has inevitably died down and they’re left with the reality of daily life with a flawed human being. And if they don’t develop more mature expectations of love, they are likely to divorce and to repeat this cycle with future partners.
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Relationship Myth #2 — You Should Follow Your Heart
The Fairy Tale: Your heart holds the compass to true love; follow its desires without reservation. Even if that means leaving a stable relationship for a sexy stranger who makes you feel fluttery inside, the heart wants what it wants. So go for it!
Reality: Sometimes your heart wants things that would ruin your life! You need to use your head when you’re dating to assess potential partners with clear eyes and to choose healthy relationships with healthy people. There is a time and a place for following your emotional guidance system, but dating is a time for reigning it in. Especially if you have a history of choosing toxic relationships, take what your heart wants with a grain of salt.
Relationship Myth #3 — Relationships Should Be Easy
The Fairy Tale: Once the star-crossed lovers overcome the external circumstances keeping them apart, everything is great forever. They literally live happily ever after. The book ends and we can all go to bed.
Reality: Dating is the easy part. When you throw commitment and responsibility into the mix, that’s when the work begins. And the fact that a relationship requires work does not mean it’s a bad relationship. The best relationships are between people who are willing to do things that are hard, and that don’t always feel good, because they love each other that much. That means being vulnerable for the sake of building emotional intimacy, making compromises, saying you’re sorry, initiating courageous conversations, and even being willing to have conflict when necessary, rather than avoiding it for the sake of short-term comfort. None of these things feel easy in the moment, but they create a loving relationship that is worth it in the long run.
Myth #4 — You Just Haven’t Met the Right Person Yet
The Fairy Tale: Finding love has been a struggle, but once you meet your special someone, everything will be different. If you’re running into the same issues and frustrations, that’s a sign you’re with the wrong person.
Reality: You have probably met a dozen or so people already who you could have created a healthy, loving relationship with. That’s not to say that you missed your chance — only that there are more opportunities than you think. That’s because love is not induced by another person. It is co-created in relationships between people who are committed to being good partners for each other. When you’re dating, it’s much more productive to focus on your relationship patterns, emotional availability, relationship skills, and emotional intelligence, than to pin all of your hopes on meeting a special person.
Myth #5 — Relationships should be a “hell yes, or a no”
The Fairy Tale: When you’re with the right person, you’ll just know it, probably from the first few moments of your acquaintance. You’ll lock eyes across the room, exchange a few sentences, and then you’ll be overcome by this rock solid conviction that you want to spend the rest of your life with them. Anything short of that is settling!
Reality: “Hell yes or no” is a phrase that caught on a few years ago thanks to self-help guru Tim Ferriss. It’s a useful framework for time management, but it doesn’t work when you apply it to dating and relationships. As a couples counselor, I can tell you that many of the strongest, happiest couples begin with a “hmmm…potentially.” And as these couples continue spending time together, their love grows, until they’re ready to take the next step.
Taking your time to get to know someone and letting your feelings grow organically is a mark of emotional maturity. It does not mean that you’re settling for something less than true love.
Support for Dating with Intention
I hope you found this article on relationship myths helpful, and that it brings you one step closer to finding a fulfilling, healthy relationship that can stand the test of time. If you would like support from a dating coach and relationship expert on my team, I invite you to schedule a free consultation.
Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
P.S. — You can find more free articles and podcast episodes in my dating advice content collection. I hope you’ll check it out!