Lately I’ve talked to a few friends who have shared some really surprisingly wrong ideas that they have about their relationships.
It took a little bit of digging, but it turns out that sometimes the real problem is underlying, damaging ideas about how things really work. The truth is, no one hands us a manual on how to act when we’re in love. These mistaken ideas are SO wrong that believing in them creates problems where there simply weren’t any before.
Here are 7 common myths about relationships that can lead you straight down the road to a breakup:
1. After you get married, your relationship will magically transform.
To be frank, there are some downright dumb expectations of marriage floating around out there. There are also lots of strange and sordid reasons that people get married. The truth is that when you marry someone who you know well, your relationship with them will be a lot like it was BEFORE you tied the knot.
2. If you have a good relationship, you won’t fight.
You and your partner might be peas in a pod, but if you’re being honest with yourself, it’s unlikely that you’ll agree on everything. There will be disagreements. There will be conflict.
A good relationship is a lot more about the way you both handle conflict than the presence of conflict. Actually, when someone says that they never, ever disagree with their partner, it tells me more than if they have rip-roaring arguments every night. Negativity happens.
3. Good relationships are easy.
I think this myth is related to all of those rom-coms that fail to show the couple coping with problems, misunderstandings or just plain old boredom. The truth is that tons of people think that if the other person is really, really right for them, they will sail smoothly through life together. Not so.
4. If you just work hard enough, things will improve.
Unfortunately when a relationship is fractured, it can be permanent. Lots of people buy into the idea that all they have to do is try harder or work more at it, and big problems — like incompatibility — will repair themselves. This is not always the case.
5. Your partner intentionally meant to hurt you.
Most relationship mistakes made by the other person are about them — not a malicious attempt to hurt you. The truth is that most people will go out of their way to avoid hurting the other person (even though they may fail miserably). Even cheating says more about the person who cheated than their partner.
In the case of benign screw-ups, it’s more likely that you have a problem with them being clueless rather than evil.
6. If you just had enough __________ (money, time, kids) things would work out better.
Sometimes when we go through a rough patch, it feels like external forces are the real reason why things have gotten strained. While it is true that external forces can definitely put pressure on your relationship, don’t fall for the idea that if you just had that thing, or if some conflict was resolved, things would magically improve.
7. If someone loves you, they will stay no matter what.
This myth is the most dangerous on this list. People are the most difficult to the ones that they love the most.
Thinking that “love conquers all” and letting yourself behave at your worst is a quick road to a breakup. Same for letting yourself go or dropping your standards and thinking that since the other person loves you, they will tolerate your shoddy behavior or your sudden lack of consideration for their needs.
The truth is that everyone has their limit and even if they sincerely love you, there are serious potential deal-breakers lurking in the shadows.
This post originally appeared at YourTango.