I have been fascinated by love for as long as I can remember. Sappy romance novels, regency era love movies, amorous adventure series- sign me up!
I didn’t just indulge in romance movies and books for fun, I also studied the interactions between the couples. I had a deep desire to understand the psychology behind why some relationships lasted for a lifetime while others did not. I absorbed everything I observed and tucked it away for later use.
Fast forward to when I met my husband and I found myself floundering about, without any idea how to be in a relationship. It turns out my romantic studies hadn’t quite prepared me for real life.
So I turned to the experts and flipped to the relationship advice column of countless magazines for direction. Unfortunately, most of what I read sounded good on paper, but ended up leading me farther away from the relationship I wanted. What was I doing wrong?!
I wanted so badly to “figure it out” and make my relationship like the ones I had dreamily read about. In desperation, I believed everything I read and tried it out. Unfortunately for me, most of it was so vague and that I interpreted it as best I could and still made a royal mess of things.
These are the 3 worst pieces of relationship advice I ever believed.
Communication Is Key
This one isn’t exactly terrible advice. I do believe communication is extremely important in a healthy relationship. The problem is that it doesn’t specify WHAT TYPE of communication is key. It just leaves the possibilities open to any form of communication.
When I read this, I figured well if communication is key, then the more communication the better, right? I started communicating to my husband everything that bubbled up for me.
Before I knew it, most of what was coming out of my mouth was negative. I quickly became a critical, nagging, negative person. I didn’t like the woman I was becoming. By the way he was distancing himself from me, my husband didn't seem to like being around me very much either.
All of my unbridled communication was driving me into a ditch. I just didn’t know any better at the time how to communicate AND get what I desired in the relationship.
Today, I make sure to fill myself up with self care before communicating anything about the relationship. Most of the time, I can handle any situation by reaching for another skill such as expressing desires.
There is still a lot of communication in my home, but it is conscious, respectful, and dignified.
Never Go to Bed Angry
I cringe when I think back to how many hours of lovely sleep were lost to this bad advice. Many a night I forced us to stay up and talk until we had resolved our disagreement. The lack of sleep, focus, and patience never helped us resolve anything quickly or well.
If I could go back in time, I would tell us to just go to sleep already! Things usually don’t look so grim in the morning after some rest and a fresh perspective.
Today I know that in order to resolve anything, I need to be well rested and have a full cup so that I can show up as my best self and handle anything with love and grace.
Similar to the “communication is key” advice, this one just leaves a lot of space open for trouble.
I had a lot of boundaries. I needed him to prove to me that I was his priority by doing X, Y, and Z.
Basically, I needed to control everything so that I could feel valued. I allowed my insecurities and fears to shape my demands in our relationship. This did little to nurture our connection and a lot to damage it.
Through a lot of personal development, I have learned to truly value myself. By doing that, I no longer need to set boundaries because how I treat myself is the standard. I have no anxiety over people stepping over my boundary or having to take action if they do, because I know now how to express my desires and be vulnerable in my relationships.
There is a lot of advice bouncing around out there and it can be really difficult to decipher the good from the damaging. Just because everyone is saying something doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good advice. So much of the bad advice out there is bad because it has gaping holes and gives no direction in how to execute it in real situations.
Before taking someone’s advice too seriously, I ask myself if the person giving it is where I want to be in the future. I think twice before taking any and all advice (even if it's in a magazine) and bringing it home to something as precious as my relationship.
Coming very soon is my next article: The 3 Best Pieces of Relationship Advice I Ever Received.
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