Margaret is a mental health advocate and has studied psychology. She aspires to help people live better lives.
Between Netflix, Hollywood movies, and fiction books, sometimes it can be difficult to tell the difference between what’s real about relationships and what’s not.
And although there are no rights or wrongs when it comes to forming and navigating a relationship, there are some undeniable truths about relationships that most people prefer to close their eyes to.
Maybe, by denying them, things feel easier, less complicated, or more exciting. However, the longer you deny the following truths, the trickier it will become to form a healthy relationship and make sure it stands the test of time.
What follows is a breakdown of four of these uncomfortable truths, explaining why you should know and accept them.
1. A Long-Lasting Relationship Equals a Hell of a Lot of Effort
Many people share the belief that a relationship that’s meant to be, shouldn’t require a lot of effort, hard work, or sacrifice.
In other words, things should just feel “easy”.
The funny thing is, that those who share that belief, are usually the ones who go from relationship to relationship, and are endlessly dissatisfied with their partners and their love life.
The truth is that the only time when things in a relationship feel easy is during the honeymoon period, which, as you very well know, always ends.
Then, after reality kicks in, it becomes evident that if you want to keep the relationship going, you’ll need to put in a hell of a lot of effort.
That could mean:
- sometimes putting your partner’s need above your own
- making sacrifices for the sake of your relationship
- spending a lot of time and emotional energy while trying to resolve conflict and work through problems that might arise
2. A Relationship Can’t Make You Happy
I used to have a friend who never stayed single for more than a week. She entered into relationship after relationship, even with people she knew were a bad fit for her or wasn’t really attracted to, just for the sake of being with someone.
I have no idea where she is right now or what she’s doing, but there’s one thing I’m sure of: she definitely isn’t single.
The reason behind her behavior is simple: she thought that only a relationship could make her happy. Unfortunately for her, the truth is that a relationship by itself isn’t enough to make you happy. Realistically, a romantic partner cannot:
- magically bring you unconditional happiness
- make you feel better about yourself
- save you from or erase all of your problems.
What a (good) partner can practically do for you is:
- support you during your difficult times
- make you see your worth and help you increase your self-esteem
- offer you help and work with you to solve your problems
Happiness depends upon yourself and it is always an inside job. The more you depend on a partner for bringing you happiness, the more unhappy and unfulfilled you’ll both feel in the relationship.
3. There’s More Than One Perfect Match for All of Us
When we’re in love, we like to think that there’s no person in the world who would fit us as our partner does. We talk about fate and destiny and tell our friends how finding our partner was “meant to be”.
It’s quite romantic.
But, given the fact that the current world population is approximately 7.9 billion, it’s safe to say that there’s more than one perfect match for all of us. For me, for you, and for your current partner (even if it sucks to think about it).
Here’s why that’s a good thing:
- If somebody breaks up with you and you feel heartbroken, you should remember that they weren’t the only ones who could get you. There’s somebody else out there who’s even a better fit for you.
- If you want out of your relationship, but are terrified of leaving your partner because they are a good person and still incredibly smitten with you, think about this: eventually, they will get over you, and find someone else, an equally good — if not better — fit for them.
- No one is irreplaceable. If your partner stays with you, it’s because they truly want to (it’s a decision they make every single day) and not because the universe “sent you” to them.
4. Your Partner Will Never Be Able to Read Your Mind
Thinking that a partner should develop the ability to read your thoughts and predict your feelings once they get to know you, can cause a lot of problems, from miscommunication to self-sabotaging a relationship.
A somewhat uncomfortable truth about relationships is that even if you’ve been together for years – even decades – your partner will never be able to read your mind and know what you want, need, and feel at all times.
Of course, once you’ve been with someone for years, a certain level of empathy develops between you.
However, if we take into account that, with time, people change, and so do their needs, tastes, and preferences, you can understand why it’s not possible to always be aware of what’s going on in your partner’s head.
Remember, a relationship’s well-being depends on both parties being able to comfortably communicate their feelings, thoughts, fears and tastes to each other no matter how long they’ve been together and how well they think they know one another.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2022 Margaret Pan