I would never call myself a relationship expert, but I will say that over the past few years, I have learned a lot about relationships. I’ve learned from experience, mistakes, and successes. One of the most important things I learned was you can’t expect to have a perfect relationship, because they don’t exist. We get these unrealistic expectations from romantic movies or TV show romances, or we get them from the “perfect couples” we see plastered all over our social media feeds.
If we expect our relationship to be like the ones we see in movies or TV shows, we will end up disappointed. Every relationship is unique. Most importantly, a good healthy relationship will not come easily; it takes work, dedication, and a lot of effort. Don’t give up a good thing because it’s not how you pictured it. Here are 10 unrealistic expectations we need to let go of immediately if we want to be happy.
1. Remember that romantic movies and TV shows all end, true love doesn’t.
We all know the ending to a romantic TV show or a romance movie; the lens slowly fades to black as the happy couple walks away hand in hand, hopelessly in love. But we need to remember that we don’t see the arguments about money and bills and everything else that normal everyday couples face. Also, NEVER attempt to compare your relationship to ANY Nicholas Sparks’ onscreen couples, it will not end well.
2. Don’t try to change them.
“You can’t change someone if they don’t want to change themselves.” It will only lead to heartbreak and disappointment. It’s one thing to expect certain things from your SO – like being faithful, being supportive, and treating you genuinely. But it’s a whole other ball game when you’re trying to change them as a person, just because they aren’t what you want them to be. Never go into a relationship thinking you can change them for the better. Try supporting them and encouraging them to be the person they want to be, then decide if that person is for you.
3. Learn to accept the fact that they will drive you absolutely insane most of the time.
At the beginning of your relationship, you’re in the lovey-dovey stage where everything they do is adorable. You won’t pick up on the annoying tendencies right away. But then you fall in love and realize that sometimes they drive you f*cking nuts, and not in a cute way. Don’t let it worry you. Understand that true love happens when you get to know someone beneath the surface, when you fall in love with them even though you know they are flawed.
4. Don’t get caught up in everyone else’s relationship you see on social media.
Couples will gladly try to convince their Facebook friends and Instagram followers how happy they are, that’s just how things work nowadays. You’ll see a romantic date night, anniversary posts, and engagements. You’re only seeing the good in their relationship, not the fight they had the night before, or the accusations of one of them cheating this morning. Do not compare their social media happiness to yours. Remember you’re only seeing it from one filtered angle. Don’t worry about other people, just concentrate on your happiness.
5. Be willing to do some things you might not want to.
Relationships are all about compromise, he watches The Bachelorette with you Monday night, while you sit through an episode of Workaholics on Wednesday. Or it could be a more difficult compromise; moving to a new city or state because your SO got the job promotion they wanted, or whose turn it is to turn off the light. Relationships are all give and take, baby.
6. Forget about following deadlines.
Never overthink if your relationship is where it should be just because you’ve been dating for a hot second. Saying “I love you,” whether it’s after a week or 6 months shouldn’t be an issue. If it’s right, it’s right. There is no timeline for how things are meant to happen. If you’ve been dating for two years and your little sister just got engaged to her boyfriend of 9 months, stop overthinking if that’s where you should be at in your relationship. Trust that it’s moving along exactly the way it’s supposed to be.
7. You will most likely fight, a lot.
With this being said, make sure you are fighting the healthy way – safely and respectfully. Fighting is your chance for you and your SO to be completely honest and open with each other, relationships are meant to be hard, but the great thing about them is you don’t have to face these issues alone. Never bottle up your emotions for too long, because once that lid pops off, all hell is breaking loose – take it from me. Plus, who doesn’t enjoy make-up sex?
8. Never give up a chance to talk.
There is a very good reason why people say, “communication is key.” It is a necessity. If something is on your mind, find time to sit down with your SO and lay your feelings all out on the table. If talking face to face is difficult for you, then I suggest writing down your thoughts. A lot of people – myself included – find it a lot easier to open up on a piece of paper instead of saying it directly to your face. Find a way that works for you, and stick with it.
9. This is your relationship; don’t allow other people to run it for you.
A relationship usually only involves two people, unless you’re into that whole sister wives kind of life. Your relationship is yours, no one else can tell you what you need to be doing, although there are some people who will gladly voice their opinion anyway. There are no rules. You two can take it as fast or as slow YOU think is appropriate. No one knows your relationship better than you two, so do things your way.
10. Take what you want, and leave out all the rest.
We all like to give advice about everything and anything – I know what you’re thinking, I’m a total hypocrite. No, I’m simply telling you that everyone is different. It’s up to you to figure out what helps and hurts you. Pick the advice that will help you become a better friend, girlfriend, wife, sister, mother, or daughter, then forget everything else. Listen to what helps you and forget all the rest.
This is not a perfect world. We are not a perfect society. None of us are perfect. But that’s what makes life, and the relationships we create, so dynamic and authentic. Make sure you pick a partner wild enough to want to join you on this crazy ride we call life.
Featured Image via Gosling Fan.