Relationship Advice You Should TOTALLY Ignore!
E-Therapy Cafe's Dr. Jude Black (CEO and Founder) and Amanda Rausch (COO) give it to you straight! So, they teamed up to provide you with a few pieces of relationship advice that should totally be ignored.
When you are single, everyone is an expert- on your life right?! If you are dating, you might have noticed that an awful lot of folks seem to have an opinion, advice, or rock-solid wisdom as to how you "should" find your perfect "person". Everyone from Nosey Nellie, to your Bestie (who isn't even in the dating scene) and even Clueless Great-Aunt-Elsie (who dated back in the late '50s) is quick to shower you with guidance or "shoulds" to increase your odds of snagging the right person. Whoopee. Yea. Gee, thanks (*note the sarcasm*).
At E-Therapy Cafe, we work with people struggling with relationships, break-ups, and living authentically. Many times people listen to others and find themselves stuck. The reality is that we all have stuff. We all have baggage from the past that we bring into each and every new experience. Even though your family and friends are just trying to help (bless their hearts) and think they know best, their "help" could actually be doing your dating and relationships more harm than good because their opinions hinge on their own past experiences and have nothing to do with you or how YOU live your life. So, take what they say at face value, smile, and you do you. YOU are the best expert on you. Doc Jude Black and Amanda teamed up and shed insight on what advice to ignore and how to start thriving.
YOU are the best expert on you.
Top 5 Pieces of Relationship Advice You Should Totally Ignore
1. “You should just get over it” after a breakup. Bad advice.
Really? That's a load of @#$. It's hard enough to figure out what you are going to do with your next breathe that to consider "getting over it" may simply push you to your limits. Instead, we say have a huge pity party (you heard that right). You are going through a very painful experience. Although there are lots of things you can do proactively to heal, you can also find some peace in gently accepting the loss and grief with which you find yourself, knowing that it (like everything else) is impermanent. It will pass. We promise. BUT, any way you slice it right now, it is a loss. So, we encourage you to take an intentional moment, sit cross-legged and cry. Cry it out. There is healing in tears and it's important to feel the feelings. Allow yourself to cry until the tears do not come any longer. Once you hit that point, intentionally tell yourself, "I will move forward. One small step at a time." Stand up and grab a tea or a wonderful glass of wine. See? You just moved forward.
2. "You have to have the same style of communication." Bad advice.
No you don't! It is nearly impossible to have the same style of communication as another person, but you do have to LEARN your partner's way of communicating and acknowledge it. One thing to learn is your partner's love language or how they give/feel love. There are 5 love languages and you don't have to have the same as your significant other, but just have to know each others! The love languages are Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Spending Quality Time Together, Gift Living, and Physical Touch or Intimacy.It is important to know your partner's language but it is equally important to express your own. For example, your man might feel all-full of love after sitting on the couch watching sports all day because his love language is quality time! However, if that isn't your language, you could care less about hours spent watching tv... but if he takes out the trash or wipes down the counter and you get all warm and fuzzy inside... your love language is probably Acts of Service! Learning to communicate is tough, don't make it harder by always trying to be on the same page...just try to understand what page they are on in the first place!
3. "I can change him/her." Bad bAd BAD advice.
Stop it. So much time and energy have been spent being sad, angry, frustrate, and upset by other’s thoughts and behaviors. But really, why? What comes from that type of self-induced chaos? Anytime you try to control someone else, or they try to control you- it will not end well. Think about this- can you stop the rain? Well, how in the world do you believe you have the ability to stop another individual’s behavior? The BEST way to help anyone else change his or her behavior is to worry about ourselves and learn how to change your own behavior. The more you know about who you are and how you thrive in in your world, the more you are able establish strong boundaries and breathe deeper. You teach people how to treat you immediately.
4. "Find a partner who completes you & makes you happy." Really? Bad Advice.
Oh no...warning flag... you need to be happy FIRST and find a person who adds to that happiness, not completes it! Finding someone who "completes" you is a recipe for a disaster and often ends in heartbreak and then feeling "un-whole". Looking for completion can also lead us to look for the wrong person! Ideally, we find happiness and security within ourselves first, and then we meet a mate whom is equally happy and secure. However, this is not always the case. Many factors come into play when determining a significant other but one huge (and very common) factor is that this person ultimately meets some unfulfilled need or desire. Often, we try to find fulfillment through some other person, and this tends to not work out. We repeat, "Tends to NOT work out. "
Let’s say you do not feel in control of your life. You might be overwhelmed with work, friends or just life in general. You might find yourself attracted to someone who is strong, and somewhat controlling or over-bearing. Initially, this makes you feel safe. However, after some time together, the relationship turns rocky, because in dating a control freak, the reality is that you have lost even more control over your life than you previously had.
Perhaps you had a chaotic childhood. You might never have been able to find peace at home, so you seek out a mate from a similar background, which results in a chaotic relationship. This is attractive to you because 1) it is familiar and research has shown we prefer familiarity and 2) you now have a second chance to fix the chaos. We often find ourselves in similar patters and cycles because we subconsciously feel the need to redeem ourselves.
If you look within, what needs or desires are not currently being met? Identifying these needs is the first step towards finding a healthy relationship. Just as we bring our baggage into a relationship, so does the other person. Rather that piling on the luggage, wouldn’t it be nice to unpack first and start fresh? Wouldn’t it be nice to date someone that you want rather than need?
5. Relationships are easy and shouldn't require hard work. Bad Advice.
The idea of riding off into the land of unicorns, rainbows, and puppy dogs with your Prince Charming is quite appealing, but come back down to reality. That is a mythical tale that thrives in books. While it is true that there are those rare couples who seem to have few struggles, the rest of us mere mortals are challenged with discovering that couple have to work (like intentionally) to grow, strengthen, and sustain a solid relationship. A good rule of thumb is: The strength of a relationship is measurable by the time, effort, and energy invested.
The strength of a relationship is measurable by the time, effort, and energy invested.
Therapy is a great way to explore your unmet needs and reoccurring relationship patterns. Without a little self-exploration, the cycle will continue and you will be stuck. So now what?!
A great starting place is to make two lists: First, list what you want in a partner. Next, make a list of your worries and fears. Compare these lists. Does your desired partner serve to relieve your inner fears? You can also make a list of current relationship issues you may be experiencing with family, co-workers or friends. Does your desired partner serve to fix an issue that you may be having with someone else?
We often do not realize we have been looking for the wrong person until we find love, happiness and security within ourselves rather than trying to find it though others. Your significant other should seek to understand you and complement you, not complete you. Your significant other should encourage you and support you for the amazingly unique person that you are, not try to control your every waking minute.
Your happiness should be increased by your relationship, not dependent upon it.
Once we find peace within ourselves, our hearts become more open and receptive to healthier relationships. Failed relationships are not always a bad thing. We can learn from our tendencies and patterns.
E-Therapy Café™ is a people-focused, innovative online counseling and coaching platform for individuals, couples, families and corporations. The Boutique Team of Licensed Therapists and Certified Life Coaches are passionate change catalyst, focused on realistic goals in today’s fast-paced world. The headquarters is in Northern VA with a nationwide and global reach.