As a former “hopeless romantic,” I grew up with entirely unrealistic 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.”
Throwing myself into relationships headfirst was magical initially, but I always felt a little lost. Oh, don’t get me wrong, the honeymoon phase was incredible. 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 the following unrealistic beliefs.
Believing my partner should know what I was thinking.
Years ago, in the middle of a heated fight, my ex said a sentence that would end up changing how I navigated my future relationships.
“You can’t expect your partner to be a mind reader… that’s going to be impossible for anyone, not just me.”
Even though I didn’t particularly appreciate being called out, my ex couldn’t have been more accurate.
Throughout our entire relationship, I would secretly hope that he would randomly surprise me with cute little romantic gestures because that’s what I love. None of that ever came to fruition because I didn’t tell him what I needed. Granted, he may not have been able to follow through but still, how could he start if I didn’t give him a chance?
If you don’t communicate with your partner, you will never get what you need/want in your relationship.
I avoided any conflict.
I guarantee that some of my exes were baffled when our relationship ended because we never fought.
The reality is that I was upset for months, but I didn’t say anything, so it completely blindsided my partner. My anger, sadness, and frustration bottled up inside until there was an explosion, and I “abruptly” ended the relationship.
My fiance’ and I handle moments of conflict often, and I wouldn’t want anything else. Because we face the little annoyances head-on, we can hash them out instead of bottling them up/living in a state of constant frustration.
I didn’t realize my relationship would change.
It wasn’t all roses and romance when I started dating my current partner. Within a couple of months of dating, one of his family members passed, and then I lost my job, which resulted in a substantial financial toll.
Our little honeymoon phase bubble quickly burst because we dealt with real issues and pain very early on in our relationship.
There was also a time when I didn’t get as much time from my partner due to his work schedule, which changed our dynamic as I had to adjust to seeing him less.
Any relationship will go through changes, and it would be completely naive to believe otherwise.
#4. You believe they shouldn’t have friends of the opposite sex.
I believed that guys and girls couldn’t be platonic friends for a long time.
However, I have learned that it ultimately depends on the relationship dynamic. For example, I have a great guy friend who is highly respectful of my relationship and has never crossed boundaries.
On the other hand, I have a ‘“former” male friend who would text me, let’s get wine and hang out. He permanently excluded my partner and denied my attempts to do something as a group.
I considered both men “friends” at one point but 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 be brimming with respect, love, laughter, and happiness. However, it’s entirely 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.
It took several decades of being a hopeless romantic before I finally realized that romance isn’t a fairytale. Some days are excellent, some are hard, and some are frustrating, but overall they are all worth it… because they are real.