4 Common Beliefs That Can Limit Relationships
What Are Limiting Beliefs?
Limiting beliefs are exactly what the name implies: they are perceptions of your reality that are not quite true. They have the power to limit you or hold you back from living your best life. In a relationship, they can be damaging and restrict your ability to be open and intimate with your partner.
They often come up when communication is not clear or forthcoming, a pattern that is easy to pick up when you have been in a relationship for a long time. You fall into habits and hold assumptions about how the other person will behave. We can do this without being fully aware of it.
Read on to explore four common beliefs that could be holding you back from having the relationship you have always wanted.
#1: He Should Initiate Sex Often
I wrote "he" because we usually think of men as having a higher libido than women, but you can substitute "she," of course.
Many of us look to our partners to validate us sexually, to make us feel wanted. We think, if they don't, then it means something about us. That we are not desirable.
Maybe looking to your partner for this validation or expecting them to be on the same sexual schedule just isn't fair.
I have been in a relationship where my partner seemed to want it more than me and threatened to break up if I could not turn that around. In hindsight, I can see it was probably the verbal abuse and threats that ultimately made me stop wanting it. The pressure he placed upon the subject did not help matters. At the time, I simply believed I had low libido and that it was my fault.
I have also been in a situation where I wanted it more often than the other person and sometimes got upset about this. I felt ashamed. I don't know exactly where I picked up the belief, "He is supposed to want me more than I want him."
The thing is, there is no "supposed to" when we're talking about other human beings. We are subject to whims and moods. We have bad days or stress from work. We get older, and our bodies change. We have babies, and our bodies and schedules change. Sometimes we work out, and sometimes we eat pizza on the couch. It's a wonderful feeling when you are on the same wavelength as your partner and you want the same thing at the same time, but I would argue that isn't the norm.
This could be something that many of us struggle with. Few of us wish to talk about it. This is why you may feel like the only one who has this problem, but that couldn't be further from the truth.
I want us all to see it as the norm to validate ourselves, our sexuality, our beauty. That seems much healthier than relying on someone else to do it and feeling hurt when they cannot. Having a partner to explore sexuality with is wonderful, but it should never turn into a crutch.
I am not saying that some couples do not lose attraction to one another. When you jump to the conclusion that this is happening in your relationship, or you put pressure on your partner sexually, I believe it is more likely to happen. When we learn to not freak out, validate ourselves, and take care of our needs when necessary, it can have the opposite effect - our partners are attracted to us even more.
#2: I Miss the Passion of Our Earlier Days
When you fall in love and get into a new relationship, it feels amazing. You could make love at any hour of the day or go on an adventurous road trip, and it all feels new.
Fast-forward to several months in, and things feel routine. You usually know when you are going to see the other person, and you get into a schedule with them. Things like making love are included on that predictable schedule, and adventurous road trips turn into nights on the couch streaming Netflix.
The passion isn't necessarily gone, but the spontaneity is.
I think that's what we really miss.
You can still be madly in love with your partner despite the routine and seeing their not-so-finest moments when you live together. I know because I am living that. However, I do find myself missing the random make-out sessions that turned into something more, or the way we dropped everything one weekend to go visit the Biltmore and check out the Downton Abbey exhibit.
When you have been together for a long time, those trips and fun outings may be even more important than they were in the beginning. If you have the means to splurge on an occasional weekend away or a little extra time to research things to do in your area, it is worth it. There is nothing wrong with Netflix nights, but when you are languishing in frustration on the couch, and it's taking all your restraint not to snap at your beloved, it is time to get a change of scenery.
Thinking your partner should be the one to plan these things is akin to the fallacy of believing they should validate you sexually. Never be afraid to initiate or feel it means a lack of effort or desire in your partner if they do not.
#3: Everything Should Be 50/50
This point could tie in with what I've said about initiating. Many times, we want someone to reciprocate when we have made an effort to initiate, whether that be in the form of a planned outing or a gift. We run the risk of taking a transactional approach to the relationship. In a perfect world, give and take would be equal, but most relationships are far from perfect, even some of the most loving ones.
This isn't to say that you should accept a situation that makes you unhappy, or that you need to do all the giving. However, when everything we do is done with the thought, "S/he needs to do something in return, or this isn't healthy," that is where we can run into trouble.
In the case of initiating fun nights or weekends away, it could be that your partner is happy with staying in and thinks you are too. If you want them to come up with more ideas for date nights, rather than quietly expecting them to do so because you did it already, you may want to bring up this expectation in conversation with them. So far, I have never dated a mind reader. It is important that we tell one another what we need.
There are many things we assume about other humans without asking, to make sense of certain behaviors or situations. This is something we can do without even being aware of it. Before you get hurt feelings that someone is not doing what you think would make sense for them to do, you have to talk to them about it. Do not accuse, but ask questions. "Have you thought of anything you would like to do for a date night?" sounds much better than, "You never plan anything for us to do, and I'm tired of it." You can stress to your partner how important it is to you that they initiate sometimes, but you can do this without turning it into a fight.
#4: We Should Be More Like Other Couples
Are you using the romances of others as a yardstick for your relationship?
This can happen when we think things like, "Lisa is living with her boyfriend, and I'm not. We're six months in - is this normal?" Other people can get us thinking this way as well, not because they have bad intentions, but out of curiosity.
When I met my guy, we had both just bought houses a few months before. Of course, had I known we would meet, I probably would not have bought mine. As things are, I want to keep my home long enough to put equity in it, so I will not just move out. I am considering renting it out or doing AirBnB, but there is a lot of work that would need to go into the house before it is suitable for that purpose.
People are confused when I tell them we are getting married but live apart for now.
It is almost to a point where I dread telling them or mentioning it, but it inevitably comes up in conversation. "Oh, so who is going to move in with who?"
If you have something in your relationship that isn't considered "normal," then this may be discouraging you, especially when people ask about it. The thing is, true love looks different for everyone.
If you and your partner are supportive of one another and there is love between you, then that is all that truly matters.
People are used to a certain "script" when it comes to committed relationships. That does not mean you have to follow that script. You may get questions when you don't. Try not to get discouraged by it.
© 2020 Holley Hyler