One big factor that drives couples to seek counseling is the disappointment they feel in how their relationship has developed over the years. They enter the relationship with certain expectations and goals in mind. As they find themselves drifting farther away from what they believed the relationship would be like, a sense of frustration arises.
One of the first conversations I have with these types of couples involves exploring the expectations that they brought to the relationship. Interestingly, what I often find is that many of their expectations are unrealistic. These expectations usually stem from outdated advice given by parents, movies, television, or magazine articles. While you should have standards for your relationship, you will most likely keep falling short if you base your expectations on what the media portrays. Time to save you the headache and bust some myths! Below are the most common unrealistic expectations I hear from couples and why they need to be busted.
“We always compromise on everything.”
Learning to compromise is a helpful tool. However, what often becomes more important is learning how to choose “battles” carefully. Arguing over every minor thing will lead to frustration and dissatisfaction. Either someone will win, a compromise will be made, or a resolution will not be reached at all. In fact, the majority of arguments remain unresolved; even in healthy relationships. Furthermore, a large number of these arguments are chronic, which means they happen over and over. Healthy couples discover ways to find some humor in these chronic arguments and how to comfortably live with the issues that brought them on.
“We never walk away from an argument.”
It is not advisable to allow an argument to escalate to where one feels the need to leave. Yet, this does happen. If it gets to the point where one partner is on the brink of saying something extremely hurtful, walking away is definitely the better option. This gives the brain time to process and the body time to cool down. That break allows the prefrontal cortex of the brain to work more efficiently. It may seem counterproductive to pause a disagreement by walking away. However, you will see how beneficial it was to leave when you revisit it later with a cooler head.
“We never go to sleep angry.”
If an argument is interfering with sleep time or if there doesn’t seem to be a resolution in sight, sometimes going to sleep is necessary. Sleep in this situation may be restless, but it will help to slow you both down and allow you to process things more thoroughly. Going to sleep doesn’t necessarily mean that the argument is over. You can always revisit the discussion the following day if the issue is important.
“We never argue or have a disagreement.”
This is simply untrue. Disagreements are a normal part of being a human being; you will not always see things eye-to-eye, even with the people you love most. Furthermore, life changes, such as a new job, a child, or even aging, can lead to stress. The differences in how each person copes with stress can often lead to arguments. It is okay to have disagreements, as long as you are able to handle them with empathy, understanding, and compromise.
“We are always passionate about each other.”
Sex in a relationship often fluctuates. However, many couples are unprepared and worry that something might be wrong with their relationship when they encounter their first low. Stress, illness, hormonal changes, and lifestyle changes are examples of issues that may lead to shifts in a couple’s sex life. Maintaining the emotional and romantic connection will aid you in rebuilding your sexual connection.
Give Amy Wine Counseling Center a call at 832-421-8714 if you have questions about our therapeutic services or would like to schedule an appointment.