The are a lot of myths out there about relationships, here to shed some light on some common ones is Psychologist Dr. Guy Grenier!
Watch episode 172 now. 1. You should sleep in the same bed
There is definite truth to the idea that good sex equals a good relationship and sleeping in the same bed increases the chances that a couple will be having regular sex. However sex, relationships and good communication are complicated animals and simply solutions to complex problems always fall short. Sleeping in the same bed for couples is considered the norm and tends to be preferred and normative. However this doesn't make it a good fit for everyone and thus permission to find what particularly fits well for any particular couple is a better approach to healthy relationship management.
There are lots of reasons why sleeping in the same bed is actually a bad idea. Some people are restless sleepers and some snore. Some couples have different schedules and one coming to bed after the other means one person get woken up and might have trouble falling back to sleep. The more we learn about the sleep the more we discover how absolutely essential it is to overall health, mental stability and even a good relationship. Informed home builder are now offering plans with two master bedrooms recognizing that not every couple wants to sleep in the same bed yet are so firmly established that they want to build a home together. Finding a pattern that works, whether that is a pattern of parents, money management, leisure time or sleeping, that works for any particular couple is the most likely route to happy relationship.
2. Cohabitating is a good way to know if you should get married
This is one of the factoids that surprise my students every year. Living together seems to be reasonable, middle of the road, gradual approach to seeing if things should be made official and the relationship should be formalized by getting married. In Canada, about 14% of adults live common-law with a partner and this pattern is more popular for younger compared to older adults. Approximately half of couples who live together do eventually end up getting married. However believing that cohabitation before marriage is any kind of an insurance policy would be misguided: the data indicate that couples who live together before getting married have a higher rate of separation and divorce that do couples who didn't live together before taking a vow. It would be a mistake to say that cohabitation causes divorce, it doesn't, but neither does it offer any kind of extra protection from it.
3. After time- your partner should "just know you"
Love is a wonderful thing but sometimes it is also an invitation to magical thinking. Love doesn't conquer all, love doesn't mean never having to say your sorry, love will not keep us together and love will not allow us to read minds, which is what this particular myth is about. There are huge relationship problems that will develop when we descend to a "he should just know" or an "if I have to ask, it doesn't count" approach to relationship maintenance. Certainly when we have spent a great deal of time together we become more familiar with each other's moods, desires, and responses. However, it is just as true to say that we each are not the same person we were two, five, ten or twenty years ago. We all change, we all evolve and we all experience variation in what we want and desire. The kernel of truth to this myth is that if you HAVE asked for something repeatedly and you are not getting what you want you can reasonable hold the other person accountable and potentially question the viability of the relationship. But, if want, need, desire, or fantasize about something open up your mouth and say it rather than descending to some silly mind-reading expectation game and covertly "test" your partner's love or devotion by expecting them to "just get it."
4. If my partner really loves me, they will change
This ties in with the old joke, Question: How many psychologists does it take to change a light bulb? Answer: Only one, but the bulb has got to want to change!
Change is hard, sometimes painful and often requires courage and discipline. All people can change, if they want to. However, change most often occurs when it is something the person themselves want to change, not something that is being imposed, suggested, or forced upon them.
It is also important to understand that there is change and then there is change. Learning how to keep a house clean is not the same as learning a new language.
I'm fond of warning couples that if you feel that a partner needs to make a substantial change for the two of you to have a successful life together, you better express that belief immediately rather than keeping it to yourself. You might expect that once we get married (or have kids, make more money, or whatever) that some substantial change in behaviour or expectation in your partner will happen, but you better check that out with him or her first.
5. Good relationships are built on compromise
Compromise is a very good thing. However, when it comes to compromise we also need to be aware of another adage, "You can have too much of a good thing." Too much compromise or the expectation of compromise ends up making people resentful and this leads to a certain relationship killer called "lingering resentment."
From a problem solving within relationships perspective, there are what we call "four paths to agreement." When an issue seems black and white, the first path is taken when one person simply changes their mind. The second path, when one won't see the light and the other won't come over to the dark side IS compromise, where some shade of gray, some middle ground it found. The third path is the striped approach where neither change their mind, nor is there a middle ground, so the couple agree to take turns, one getting things their way this time and the other, the other. The fourth path is acknowledge that none of the first three will work and therefore the relationship should come to an end. Recognizing that this is the logical out come of a failure of the first three tends to have the effect of sending both back to the bargaining table to see if one of the first three might in fact be viable.