We have heard tropes and clichés about relationships since we were young. Watching friends turn into lovers, seeing the good girl and the rebel get together or a one-night stand turns into a relationship, and yearning for a happily-ever-after have shaped many of our perceptions about love.
Sometimes platitudes are offered by friends and family who mean well. For example, if you’ve just had a breakup, you may get told that there are plenty of fish left in the sea or good things come to those who wait.
It’s still okay to cherish your favorite love stories. However, they aren’t very realistic. Romantic movies never show what happens after the credits roll. Common folk sayings can’t be relied on to be a blueprint for a fulfilling relationship. Take such sayings with a grain of salt. Here are five clichés about relationships that aren’t solid enough to go by.
1. “Opposites Attract.”
Yes, but you both must agree about the important things.
It might be true in the study of magnetism that opposites attract, but in relationships, this type of match can lead to arguments, resentment, and bitter breakups. You don’t have to like everything your partner likes but finding common ground on issues that are important to both of you is an absolute must in a relationship. For instance, a couple should agree on whether they both want children.
2. “Never Go to Bed Angry.”
This leads to not getting any sleep.
If a disagreement can be resolved quickly and you can go to sleep without harboring any resentment, that’s great. However, most of us know some arguments require extensive dialogue to reach a viable solution. When you are angry with your partner, it can be helpful to get some rest, take the night to think things over and continue the conversation during the day with a clear head. At night, when you are tired, hold each other. Agree together that it can wait until tomorrow. Reassessing the argument when you wake up can help you avoid saying something you might regret.
3. “My Partner Is My Whole World.”
This outlook can cause a whole mess.
Being someone’s whole world can seem romantic. However, this cliché is really a disguise for self-sacrifice, which can be incredibly unhealthy in a relationship. It’s important to find a balance between spending time with your partner and spending time on your own hobbies, work, and visiting with friends and family. Not having friends makes it difficult to leave this kind of boxed-in relationship. You do not need to make unnecessary sacrifices to meet your partner’s needs.
4. “Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry.”
Not apologizing is a big mistake.
Never saying you’re sorry will ruin the trust between the two of you. You and your partner will both make mistakes—it’s inevitable. When you make mistakes, it’s important to say you’re sorry. Learn what forgiveness looks like in your relationship. If you never apologize for your mistakes, unresolved resentment will slowly tear your relationship apart. It’s equally important to learn how to accept an apology.
5. “Love Knows No Boundaries.”
Not true–you both need personal space.
Establishing boundaries is vital to having a successful life together. There are going to be times when you or your partner need “alone time.” Or perhaps you feel compelled to meddle, to fix everything your partner is going through. In this case it might be better just to be an active listener. Setting clear boundaries can help you and your partner avoid getting in fights. Make it clear what you both need. You won’t need to be a mind reader if your partner speaks sincerely and directly. Respect each other’s boundaries.
Be wary when you hear your friends say these clichés or you start to feel them. Platitudes are generalizations at best, so don’t set your clock by them. Put more stock in common sense, which outweighs a folk saying. Real relationships take much more than a cliché to navigate. Know that trust is easily damaged, so sincerity and communication is crucial. Take the time to understand how your partner feels. Clearly state what you need. Avoiding clichés will set you on the right path to developing a happy and healthy partnership.