Experience from my professional psychic practice, spanning thousands of client interviews, and being KXRK's Radio From Hell's Love Psychic, live every Friday morning these last seven years, has led me to become quite snippy over the amount of ludicrous relationship mythology that continues to permeate our culture. Here are the most damaging American relationship myths, along with what is actually true, so that relationships can be conducted with more awareness and healthy attitudes than the following untruths and partial truths currently encourage.
Horrible Relationship Myth #1: The Jerry McQuire Syndrome: You Complete Me!
Or, in other words: "If I love you enough, you will feel better." "If you love me enough, I will feel better." Crock. Wrong. These things can never happen! It is metaphysically impossible for another human being to complete us or make us feel anything other than what we choose to feel.
What is metaphysically true, and also what we actually observe in real life, is that the more complete and whole we are, the better our relationships. The causal arrow runs that way. First we are healthy, and then we have a healthy relationship. First we are happy, and then we have happy relationships. See The Missing Piece Meets the Big O (Silverstein, S.) for the definitive word on this topic.
Truth: First be complete, then enjoy a great relationship with another complete individual.
Horrible Relationship Myth #2: Relationships Take Work!
Crappy relationships are truly tough and mediocre relationships take some drudgery to keep them going. These are like bad cars that keep breaking down. Sure, yes, the vast majority of people in this country, especially those of my own Boomer generation, have less than fabulous relationships and therefore exhibit a certain amount of laborious work. And these folks want to tell you that this is Normal! "Relationships Take Work" translates to: "In order to keep many relationships going, you have to do a lot of pushing and repairing and ignoring and suffering and..."
This is Not True with happy, healthy relationships. They do not take drudgery and large effort sort of work to keep them going -- they take attention and maintenance sort of work. Relationships between two happy, joyful, whole people are happy. Healthy people tend to have good self awareness and good communication tools. Whole people tend to accept other people's truths, even if these are different from theirs. Great relationships are not that difficult to maintain. They flow easily, even through difficult times, and are not constantly in the shop.
Truth: A Happy Relationship between two healthy, happy people requires attention and maintenance
Horrible Relationship Myth #3: Relationships Require Compromises!
If you are now in, or are contemplating, a relationship that requires you to sacrifice, or compromise, something important, then you do not have a perfectly happy or healthy relationship. Excellent, healthy relationships do not require any kind of a major compromise for part of either person.
People use this myth as an excuse to accept less than they really want in their important voluntary relationships, like romances, in order to feel safe. No one has ever been made safe by compromising what you really want in love and who you really are. I make an enormous amount of money from people who keep compromising who they really are and what they really want and cannot figure out why they are not happy.
What is true is that great relationships seem to thrive on cooperation -- something quite different in scope than compromise. These do often exhibit the spirit of cooperation and teamwork. People who care for you, the authentic you, will not ask you to compromise who you are to make them, or the relationship, happy. This is just a fact.
Truth: Authentic, real relationships sometimes need cooperation, but never require important personal compromises
Horrible Relationship Myth #4: No One is Perfect!
This is just a weird statement for many reasons. What is "Perfect"? Discussing that concept is a complete book by itself. What is wrong here is that carrying this vague notion into our important relationships is that many people are not willing to believe that someone could be perfect for them. It becomes an excuse to accept situations that are not completely satisfying.
The flip side of this strange statement is that since "I'm not perfect, I cannot get a perfect relationship." Or expect a great one, in the name of our personal imperfections. This is a really bad one in American culture. Many of us were taught to believe that our constant life job is to fix our flaws. These insidious flaws are shown to us constantly on air brushed magazine covers and prime time television. And these flaws keep others from wanting to date us or, worse, mate with us. Since, you know, men like thin woman and, you know, women like rich men. Notice that those statements are only true for a portion of the population - the rest of us, most of us, are pretty ok with average human traits. So, why do these ideas keep percolating since they aren't really true?
What is true, metaphysically, is that there is some flawed person out there that could very well be perfect for you. There are men and women out there who do not look like magazine models, aren't millionaires yet, and have 0 athletic medals to show for it, and yet they could be wonderful possible mates because of their happy, healthy personalities. And the good news is that you, despite never having been on a magazine cover, could be perfect for them.
That is what is really true.
Browse Margaret's other posts here at Huffington Post and at margaretruth.com. Comments, questions and input are very welcome. Contact Margaret at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.