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As a former “hopeless romantic” I used to have ridiculous relationship expectations.
I had a certain idea of what a “perfect” relationship would look like. There would be no fights, and everything would fall into place as soon as I finally met “the one.”
I jumped into relationship after relationship, and wondered why no matter who I dated, something was always missing. Oh don’t get me wrong, the honeymoon phase was great. But when the glitter settled into dust, I never liked what remained.
Finally, I realized that I would never have a successful and healthy relationship if I didn’t let go of my unrealistic beliefs.
#1. You believe your partner should know what you are thinking.
I was in a relationship that didn’t work out, but my ex was extremely sweet, and he said something after we got into a fight that has always resonated with me.
“You can’t expect me to read your mind … that’s not fair.”
He couldn’t have been more accurate — even though I didn’t like being called out.
The truth is that I would sulk and want him to do things like cook dinner or do the dishes or surprise me with cute little romantic gestures because that’s what I love. However, I didn’t tell him. How on earth was he supposed to know?
If you don’t communicate with your partner, you will never get what you need/want in your relationship.
#2. You believe that you will never have a conflict.
Now, what’s insane is that I have had relationships that had almost no conflict.
Do you know why? Because I kept everything bottled inside until it burst to the surface and I just seemingly “abruptly” ended the relationship. The reality is that I was upset for months but I just didn’t say anything so it completely blindsided my partner.
Now I’m in a great relationship, but we have moments of conflict all the damn time. We had a moment of conflict last night because he ate the leftover salmon and I thought that he was leaving it for me. Yes, ridiculous — but little moments of conflict arise all the time and you have to expect them or else you are going to be constantly frustrated.
#3. You believe that your relationship won’t change.
When I first started dating my current partner, it wasn’t all roses. Within a couple of months of dating, one of his family members passed, and then he took a huge financial hit.
Our little honeymoon phase bubble was quickly burst because we had to deal with real issues and pain very early on in our relationship.
There also was a time when I didn’t get as much time from my partner due to his work schedule, and that changed our dynamic as I had to adjust to seeing him less.
The reality is that your relationship is going to go through changes and it would be completely naive to believe otherwise.
#4. You believe they shouldn’t have friends of the opposite sex.
Now, this is a tricky one and it is one that I have struggled with. For a long time, I believed that guys and girls simply couldn’t be platonic friends.
However, I have learned that it completely depends on the relationship dynamic. For example, I have a great guy friend who is extremely respectful of my relationship and has never crossed any boundaries.
I had another guy friend who would text me let’s get wine and hang out. He always would exclude my partner and deny my attempts for us to do something as a group.
Both of these were “friends” but I quickly realized that one relationship was appropriate whereas the other wasn’t. You and your partner can have friends of the opposite sex but you still need to ensure you are cultivating healthy boundaries.
#5. You believe that your partner should always make you happy.
A healthy relationship should have respect, love, laughter, and happiness. However, it’s completely unrealistic for us to expect someone else to constantly keep us happy because they will fail… as will anyone.
For a long time, I thought a relationship would make me whole. I threw myself in headfirst and would end up feeling numb and alone even when someone was lying next to me in bed.
I wish I had realized this when I was younger but the only person in charge of our happiness is ourselves. So…. after years of unrealistic dating beliefs, I finally let them go and accepted that my preconceived notions were nothing but damaging to myself and my partners.
I love the relationship that I have now with my partner. He is absolutely amazing, and it’s the healthiest and best I’ve ever felt with another person, but I don’t depend on him for my happiness because that’s not fair.
After years and years of being a hopeless romantic, I finally realized that romance isn’t a fairytale.
Some days are amazing, some are hard, and some are frustrating but overall they are all worth it… because they are real.