Despite the hundreds of relationship self-help books out on the shelves, there’s a lot of impractical and impossible advice given by the “experts”. After many years of helping people with their relationships, I’d like to share my favorite relationship myths with you, in the hopes that – by busting them – your relationships will be more fulfilling:
Myth #1: Don’t worry about your (lack of a) sex life
After months (or years) of a relationship, many experts tell you that it’s okay if your sex life starts to suck. I say: no way! Sex is a crucial part of a healthy relationship. When we find ourselves too busy, stressed out and/or not emotionally connected with our partner, sex is one of the quickest and most pleasurable ways to reconnect. It helps you both to re-experience being those madly-in-love people you used to be. It’s all too easy to put off sex…but don’t do it! There’s nothing like a shared orgasm and a happy, post-coital glow to improve your outlook on life and remember why you love that man/woman you’ve been with all this while. A good sex life is part of your mental health: cherish it, hold it as a priority and make it happen.
Myth #2: Having/adopting children will bring you closer
In recent years, LGBT families are popping up all over the place…and it’s great! But, if you and your partner are considering becoming parents, please consider your motivation. While having a baby/adopting a child can be a fabulous bonding experience, it’s a million times more stressful on your relationship than your worst remodeling project could ever be. Imagine the unbelievable commitments of time and energy a child will require…how will this affect your private time with yourself and with your partner? While creating a family together can be amazingly fulfilling, it’s also incredibly difficult. Look at this one realistically before you make your two-some into a three-some.
Myth #3: Never go to bed angry
This is my favorite myth to bust. Has anyone ever really pulled this one off? I doubt it. Going to sleep angry isn’t great, but – for most of us – it’s occasionally part of coupledom. Even if you go to bed mad and sleep in separate rooms once in a while, it’s okay. Yes, okay. Don’t make it into a big deal…it’s part of life that many of us coupled LGBTers don’t talk about because we’re embarrassed. You can also try agreeing to disagree until morning. Sounds corny, but it often works. After all, how many of us are thinking clearly late at night? It’s a bad time for problem resolution. You both often see things more clearly in the morning anyway…and conflicts are usually more easily resolved after a little time has passed. You may lose a good night’s sleep, but in the long run, it’s worth it because your disagreements get resolved more completely and efficiently.
Myth #4: Never take your partner for granted
Didn’t every episode of “Oprah” mention this in some form? It’s almost a cardinal sin. I say, it’s time to rethink this one. Doesn’t taking your partner for granted mean that you can count on, depend on and trust him/her…that you are both absolutely there for each other? You need to feel secure enough to lean on your partner without worrying that he/she will flake on you. This doesn’t mean treating someone badly; it does mean that you can count on each other and watch out for each other. This is also known as “security” and “dependability”, comprendez?
Myth # 5: Partners/lovers should be best friends as well as romantic partners
Doesn’t this sound logical? You and your partner know each other better than anyone else, so why wouldn’t you be best friends too? This myth brings a lot of pain and disappointment to a lot of my clients. One person cannot be everything to you. If they are, it’s a setup for unhappiness. The best relationships are a balancing act: time alone, time with friends, time with partner. Don’t give up your friendships when you fall in love…you need more than one person in your life to be close to, laugh with, cry with, hang out with, do stuff with. It’s normal to sometimes feel closer to your best friend than your partner. Just keep reconnecting to your honey while sharing your life with other people who love you…and everyone benefits.
May busting these myths bring you and your current (or potential) partner closer than ever. I encourage you to question every piece of “expert” advice you read, including this column. If the advice works for you, great. If it doesn’t: ignore it, trust your intuition and follow your heart. After all, YOU are the real expert in your life. Trust yourself.