Many movies and novels are like romantic fairy tales, with relationships that seem to flourish despite the odds being totally stacked against them. While it is easy to get caught up in the excitement of watching characters get swept off their feet by chivalrous gestures, the truth is that real relationships are not always full of roses and long, hand in hand sunset walks on the beach. Unrealistic relationship expectations set the stage for heartache by creating an environment that leads to these common issues below that couples counseling helps to address.
Being Disappointed by Normal Behavior
The belief that your partner should always know what you are thinking or how to make you happy will lead only to disappointment. While you may be like two peas in a pod, your partner may simply sometimes not understand your side of an argument. Alternatively, they may forget your birthday or fail to get you that gift that you’d been hinting at for weeks. Understanding that your partner is only human allows you to see that these normal foibles are just part of learning to live with someone else.
Making One of You Feel Suffocated
A common unrealistic expectation people have about relationships is the belief that couples should do everything together. In couples therapy, you can find out if this expectation is based upon underlying issues that affect your ability to trust your partner, such as a past history of infidelity. If not, you may just need help learning that it’s normal for people to enjoy separate hobbies or to go out alone every now and then. In fact, spending time apart helps you both grow stronger as individuals so that you are even better when you are together.
Failing to Allow the Relationship to Change
The U.S. Census Bureau reports that approximately 41% of marriages end in divorce. While this rate is actually better than it has been in the past, it could be lower if more couples were ready to embrace the changes that occur in their relationship over time. For instance, communication in marriage may need to be altered if you find yourself continuing to argue like you did when you were high school sweethearts; maturation affects relationships, too. Over time, people grow and change, which is why your relationship will also need to be adjusted to accommodate how you two change.
Breeding Negative Emotions in the Relationship
If this is one of your relationship issues, do not feel alone. The Center for Addiction and Mental Health reports that 11% of couples attend counseling to learn how to heal from the contempt that they have for each other. Over time, negative thoughts about your partner can overpower any positive ones. The result: your relationship is full of resentment. Accepting that your partner cannot always live up to your expectations allows you to enjoy the many wonderful qualities that they possess.
Thinking That Relationships Don’t Take Work
Those “perfect couples” make everything look easy. However, you may not always see how hard they work to make their relationship a success. Some of the happiest couples are only that way because they realized early on that their relationship would take effort. Therapy helps you place priority on your relationship while learning strategies that you can implement at home to smooth over altercations. Whether you need to adjust your expectations or learn how to communicate better, putting the effort into improving your interactions allows you to get closer to that ideal relationship that everyone longs for.
The belief that your partner should be perfect in every way is a fantasy, a dangerous one that can interfere with your ability to enjoy a healthy and happy relationship. Every couple occasionally deals with challenges, and everyone has areas in their life that could be helped with professional online couples counseling. By recognizing that your relationship will improve with work, you can continue to grow as a couple and enjoy greater happiness in your life.