Is It True For Me? Cultivating Relationship Wisdom

As a person committed to reading, researching and learning, I often get to the point where I have taken in so much information that I have no other choice than to throw some of it out!

In the area of relationships and love, this is even more necessary than in other areas of study.  There are so many conflicting ideas about how to do relationships, that the whole thing becomes a mass of confusion.  What seems to be most important is to keep returning to the question: ‘Is this true for me?’

So, let me share some of the common relationship beliefs that seem like myths to me, and you get to decide if they are true for you!

1.     You Have To Love Yourself Before Anyone Else Can Love You

Have any of you loved people who didn’t love themselves?  I know I have.  Others have also loved me when I have not felt worthy of that love. Unfortunately, this belief keeps people trying and trying to heal themselves, and afraid to be in another relationship because they don’t love themselves enough. We are not born knowing we are loved; rather we know it because we experience it.  A relationship can be the vehicle that gives us the experience of being loved, and thereby facilitating healing.

2.     Men and Women Want The Same Things In Relationships

In some things yes, and in other things no.  For the most part if a group of men, and a group of women got together to share the top three things they most want from their relationship, there would be some noticeable differences.  For the most part, women want to be cherished, cared about, and to be treated as special.  Men want to be respected, trusted, and admired.

What does that mean in practical terms?  For example if a man is struggling in his career, he wants his partner to trust him to sort it out, without her asking questions, or offering suggestions.  For a woman, if she is having a tough time with anything, she wants her partner to listen, and perhaps to hold her - without criticism or advice.

3.     Learning Communication Skills Is The Most Important Task In A Relationship

When a couple is in trouble, giving them good communication skills is often like pouring gasoline onto a fire.  Even when a couple is not in trouble, good communication makes no allowance for the emotions that are stirred up by that communication.  As brain science becomes more sophisticated, researchers are showing that emotions run the show and that our thoughts justify our emotional reactions later.  When the individuals in a couple are scared about losing the other person, or becoming engulfed by that person, they will become anxious.  In addition, external stressors such as children, career, money, and world events can also cause anxiety. Anxiety leads to black and white thinking, and ‘I’m right-they’re wrong’ attitudes.  The extent to which people can deal with anxiety in their partners, determines the extent to which the relationship can thrive.

Hope this was food for thought!

Comments welcome, and please let me know if you think there are other relationship myths that might need busting! 


Write a comment

Comments: 6
  • #1

    Regina (Wednesday, 05 June 2013 10:55)

    This is great information but I have a question about the communication skills and the anxiety/ stessors. What happens when your significant other actually has OCD with a comorbid anxiety disorder? There is also an elephant in the room, and external stessor.
    My spouse over analyzes everything, there is a lot of asking, "why?" Which usually leads to me not being able to give an expert, lab tested with proven results answer. Which results in my spouse telling me how annoying I am that i can't answer a simple question. What do I do!? I love him, but i hate his OCD. I think it is ruining our relationship. I dont even want to talk to him for fear he will have an outburst or something.

  • #2

    Teresa Atkin (Wednesday, 05 June 2013 15:24)

    Hi Regina,
    Walking around on eggshells can be exhausting!
    It's certainly a lot to handle when your spouse has conditions that affect communication in the way you have described. That said, there may still be some communication skills you can develop that will help you feel more empowered.
    One thing I can see from your comment is that you need things to be different. At the moment you are both dealing with your spouse's needs, which leaves little energy left over for yours to be met.
    Sometimes it helps to add something life-enhancing into your life, rather than thinking about what needs to stop or be taken away.
    Otherwise it might help for you to get to the bottom of what your core needs are and how they might be met.
    You sound self-aware, so I'm guessing you have read a lot, or attended groups, or been to therapy. If you are wondering if coaching could help, I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about that process.
    I wish you all the best!

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