10 Clichés About Relationships & Sex That Are Worth Questioning

6. That if your partner would only change this one thing about them, your problems would be solved

Couples in relationships can sometimes position issues in such a way that they’re one person’s fault; that they’re the result of one person’s way of being. The problem with perceiving relationships in such a way is that a) it’s literally untrue (i.e. you could counterargue that it isn’t the person’s way of being that’s the problem, it’s the other’s perception of the person’s way of being; in other words, both people are active participants in the “issue”), b) personality traits that lead to problems are often the same traits behind certain positive behaviors, so to eliminate the trait would be to change the person for better and for worse, and c) the person who’s being blamed for all the problems will eventually start feeling vindictive, shit-on, and like he or she is a shitty person.

7. That behaviors engaged in before the relationship are off limits now because they are ‘bad’ or ‘shameful’ (i.e. masturbation, drugs, going out with friends) and ‘not part of the relationship’

Pretty self explanatory. To treat someone’s past as if it didn’t exist or as if it hasn’t had an effect on one’s life is stifling, shaming, and can lead to lying and covering up. Not recommended.

8. That being in a relationship “shouldn’t be this hard”

There exists an ideal, especially in times of relationship distress, that being in a relationship “shouldn’t be this hard.” But being in a long term monogamous relationship, after some period of time, can produce difficulties that any two people on the earth, regardless of their IQ or emotional capacity or love and respect for each other will find hard to get through. For example: you’ve come to find out, over the course of your long-term relationship, that your girlfriend was a “trashcan baby” and as such is completely incapable of showing emotion to the ones she loves because of her deep-rooted childhood fear of literally being put in a trash can and abandoned, helpless and vulnerable. She doesn’t want to admit this because she feels it’s “shameful” and so it literally takes a year of difficult, emotionally affecting nights of talking to her and her subsequent reaction to feeling “cornered.” This is naturally a difficult situation. Should being in a relationship “be this hard?”

9. That point-by-point logical victories in arguments are of any significant consequence

I’ve had a lot of disagreements with girlfriends where I completely destroy them on a logical basis but am left with the same negative feeling I had that caused the fight itself. Taking someone’s statement about how they feel and then proving it illogical or reminding that they said the opposite last week, that it’s not consistent with what they said that one time, really does nothing in the way of problem solving. I think that when you get to the point of simply trying to logically defeat someone in an argument, you aren’t even concerned with reconciling, you’re just concerned with winning, which won’t do anything for the relationship.

10. That concepts such as betrayal, sex, happiness, etc. are of a black/white nature

Someone cheating on someone else is not an isolated incident that occurred in a cause-and-effect vacuum completely devoid of outside influence. It is best for the partner to understand what led up to such a betrayal (while, of course, being allowed some amount of time to be angry and hurt) rather than think it the automatic end of the relationship or even a grave and unforgivable – and perhaps unspeakable – crime against the relationship. The same applies to misleading or lying. When one lies, it is maybe the result of shame, maybe the result of a defense mechanism in which lies uphold certain protecting aspects of the ego, etc. Sometimes lying or [anything] has nothing to do with the relationship at all, yet too often people get hurt because they take it to mean something about the relationship. Being hurt is appropriate, but I suggest that such issues should eventually be approached with an attitude of understanding and the conspicuous goal of ensuring that such hurtful behavior is minimized or never again happens in the future (if one wishes to remain in the relationship). TC mark


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  • Steph

    Hey, this is a pretty great post. Way to keep it real.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1363230138 Michael Koh

    questioning my current relationship

  • Elena

    these are the articles i enjoy reading the most…
    this is relatable and well written..
    only thing is that i wish you offered more solutions, you did a few times, and those were the best times.
    keep it up, never give up.

  • Kelly McClure

    This is all true, and gave me severe anxiety because of that fact.

  • Alright

    brandon scott gorrell is taking over in a good way. i admire the way you directly face these cliches and appreciate that you didn't employ irony/sarcasm frequently like a lot of other writers on here do. irony/sarcasm tends to alienate certain readers who don't feel 'in on it', like inside jokes. when you tackle real life in an honest, vulnerable way, you seem way more likable and worth reading.

  • Marti


  • http://twitter.com/john__dorian john dorian marshall

    i don't know. i feel like bsg majored in psychology or philosophy? does anyone know

    • Bsgsuperfan

      psychology in utah

  • Daniel

    I've really enjoyed the the last few posts, BSG. It feels like you're boxing around the 'relationship'-topic from a few different angles and some good stuff is coming out of it.

  • Crazy Carrie Jakie


  • Jess

    This is one the best, most accurate depictions of relationships I've ever read. Very nice.

  • Manam

    i warned you people about BSG!

  • msg

    seems true. <3 u bsg

  • http://heheheheheheheeheheheehehe.com/ tao

    i liked reading this, felt high levels of interest throughout

    • unctuousethnic


  • Ytft


  • Ytft


  • http://twitter.com/srslydrew Drew Farr

    “I think that when you get to the point of simply trying to logically defeat someone in an argument, you aren’t even concerned with reconciling, you’re just concerned with winning, which won’t do anything for the relationship.”

    Super acute observation.

  • Justinne

    You made a lot of good points here. I particularly agree with 9, and trying to win an argument for the sake of winning. I feel like this is true with a lot of couples. Well, it applies to my relationship. Thanks for an insightful post.

  • leah

    Who over the age of 25 hasn't questioned these cliches? If you haven't, perhaps it's time to question your social maturity.

  • http://tomhankssuperfan.blogspot.com megan boyle
  • http://kumquatparadise.tumblr.com aaron nicholas

    incredibly insightful. #3,4, and 7 held elevated interest on my part

  • dalas

    This looks like everything my wife and I have worked through over six years, and I totally agree that getting over these clichés leads to a better relationship.

  • http://twitter.com/mungofrench kdub

    really liked reading this. you sound very sane.

  • quadling

    Dull and pedantic. You failed to notice that the refutations of the cliches you provided are themselves cliches. Who doesn't realize on some level that relationships are messy, complicated, hard, full of compromises, and only worth what we put into them? Who doesn't still also kind of hope that's not going to be true next time?

    • Brandon Gorrell

      eh…explain how any of my refutations are cliches.

  • some dame

    Um, duh.
    11. Sex is whatever men think sex is.
    12. You think of the opposite sex always within the context of sex.
    13. The person you're in a relationship with is not just You, re-imagined. It's someone you could never be or think like.
    14. Someone else should be your main source of love (rather than your own dignity).
    My guess as to why your top 10 cliches exist? Men are still the ones who create the majority of public and commercial discourse.

    • Brandon Gorrell

      you seem pissed

  • http://thoughtcatalog.com/2012/discussion-what-are-you-willing-to-do-for-love/ Discussion: What Are You Willing To Do For Love? | Thought Catalog

    […] But figuring this out can be difficult, namely because in our culture we have two simultaneously dominant, completely opposite yet equally loud views on love: 1) love conquers all/is worth sacrificing for, and 2) if love inconveniences you in any way, don’t do it. Romantic comedies and eternal optimists will have it that we should “tough it out” in favor of true love, whereas the more rational-minded among us are wary of any emotional endeavor that makes us break too much of a sweat. […]

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