Regarding dating and relationships, people receive advice from many sources, from friends and family members to romance novels and Hollywood films. Unfortunately, some of this advice perpetuates myths that can sabotage healthy partnerships. Beliefs about magical connections, mind reading in relationships, strict dating rules, and more set unrealistic precedents. While feeling swept away by romance makes for great entertainment, here are five relationship myths you may want to think twice about buying into without careful consideration in the real world.
The Myth of "The One"
Many people grow up believing there is one perfect soulmate out there for them. This idea comes from romance movies and books that portray a magical, effortless connection occurring when the protagonists meet. However, while compatibility is important, human beings are complex. What defines a great partner differs based on someone's personality, values, interests, stage of life, and other factors. There are likely many potential mates one could have a thriving relationship with if both parties are willing to communicate openly and compromise. Viewing love as something that either happens instantly and perfectly or not at all can cause people to give up prematurely on partners who could make them happy if given a chance.
You Complete Me
The saying "you complete me" also sets an unrealistic precedent, one that implies another person can or should fulfill all of one's needs. Adults should come into partnerships whole and content on their own, not seeking someone else to magically "give them" something they lack. While couples support one another, true happiness has to come from within first. People who look outward for validation or purpose tend to depend too heavily on others, causing an imbalance in relationships. Partnerships thrive when each person takes responsibility for their fulfillment and contributes positively to the union.
The STD Myth
There is a myth that you can catch certain STDs from casual contact like sharing drinks or a kiss with someone who is infected. While some STDs like HIV are highly contagious through sexual contact or blood, others fortunately cannot be passed through such casual interactions. Herpes, for example, can be an std in mouth but generally only spreads through direct skin contact and intimate physical acts. Do your research on transmission methods for common STDs to avoid picking up or unnecessarily spreading misconceptions that fuel stigma. Rely on reputable health organizations for facts.
Mind Reading Expectations
Another common pitfall is expecting your partner to instinctively know your needs or feelings without having to explain them, and vice versa. As close as two people can become, no one can read minds. Good communication involves frequently checking in with each other, being honest about expectations, and not making assumptions even when you think you know the other very well. If something is important to you but goes unsaid and your partner lets you down, they're not necessarily at fault. Make your needs clearly and respectfully known to avoid resentment building up.
Self-proclaimed love gurus often proclaim strict rules about when to call, how to play hard to get, who should say "I love you" first, etc. These kinds of games though can feel manipulative and undermine building trust. While you shouldn't overshare or get overly demanding too fast, the beginning phases of dating someone new tend to go best when you relax and behave genuinely rather than trying to manufacture chemistry. If the connection isn't positive when you're acting like your authentic self, forcing it with tricks is unlikely to produce the depth you truly want long-term. Focus on compatibility and communicating well versus trying to manufacture the right way to get someone to want you.
Approaching relationships with insight into common myths can help you avoid unnecessary frustration and better cultivate the positive partnership you seek. Having an awareness of misleading beliefs like "the one" idea, over-reliance in relationships, the casual transmission of STDs, mind-reading expectations, and manufactured chemistry can lead to more realistic views. Don't assume typical romance narratives reflect the truth. Think critically, communicate openly, and determine what works best for your unique connection. While less glamorous than movie versions, this thoughtful approach better sets the stage for long-term relationship success based on mutual understanding.