8 Beliefs That Are Impacting Your Romantic Relationships
My last committed relationship ended in 2017. We were young, we were both still figuring out who we were as people, and we had no real idea how to navigate a long-term relationship with each other. At the time, I was incredibly emotionally immature, and as a result, this break-up tainted my entire perception of love and relationships.
Since then, I've taken on many endeavors, achieved several goals, and have had the opportunity to build incredible friendships with people who have become some of my closest confidantes. I needed this time and space to explore who I am as a person and identify the kind of partner I want in my life.
This past year, I started to explore online dating. I’ve gone on dates with men from all walks of life who have had various personalities and perspectives. While all great and quirky in their own unique ways, none of them have seemed to be ‘the one’.
Lately, I’ve been frustrated as I continue to put myself out there and experience disappointment every time. I’ve either found myself running away from potential relationships or trying to jump into ones where there were no sparks or compatibility—just for the sake of being in a relationship.
After taking some time to reflect, I have realized that many of the beliefs I have held onto about relationships have continued to impact my ability to find the right person. An example i that for many years I believed that someone could never love me for who I truly am. As a result of this, I acted inauthentically which caused me to attract men into my life I didn’t truly connect with.
The beliefs we have about relationships can impact our behavior within them in profound ways. Throughout this article, I will dive into 8 common beliefs that hinder our ability to find healthy, romantic relationships and how we can reframe those beliefs to ones that serve us.
‘I need to be fixed.’
When you’re in a relationship or meet someone who could be your next companion, it can be tempting to think of them as the answer to your problems. But that’s not how healthy relationships work.
We all have our inner demons. We all have pain from our past or aspects of ourselves that we need to work on. But believing that you are broken and relying on your partner to put the pieces back together will damage and hinder the relationship from growing. For example, after experiencing abuse in my childhood and not getting proper support, I let that trauma seep into my first relationship. The result of this was emotional turmoil, exhaustion, and toxicity.
In our relationships, it’s important that we focus on ways to help each other grow and learn rather than focus on this notion of “fixing” each other. At the same time, it’s important to engage in inner work and healing by talking to a professional so that way you don’t project your pain onto your partner.
‘Emotional vulnerability is dangerous.’
Vulnerability is about being open and honest with yourself and others about how you feel—whether it's good or bad. Being vulnerable strengthens intimacy because it builds trust and allows you to communicate effectively about your needs and expectations throughout the relationship.
Personally, I’ve never been great at communicating my feelings. I fear that if I show how much I care about someone, they'll run away. Or if I tell them how much something hurts me, they'll walk all over me and make me feel bad for saying how I truly feel. Instead, I mask my feelings with humor or avoidance, preventing me from communicating what I want and getting what I need.
Although these are possible reactions, I’ve recognized that it's super important that you assertively communicate your thoughts and feelings so your (potential) partner will be forced to take notice of how they affect you—and maybe even change their behavior for the better. This can create a stronger relationship in which both parties feel safe and secure sharing who they are with each other.
If your partner doesn't reciprocate these efforts, then maybe this isn't the right relationship for either of you at this point in time. Relationships are built on trust—and if one person can't trust the other enough to share their vulnerabilities without fear of judgment or retaliation from their partner, then how does that relationship ever stand a chance?
‘When I like someone, they never feel the same way.’
Any time I meet a great potential partner, I immediately think, "There's no way they will ever reciprocate my feelings."
Although rejection can occur, whether it be in the form of a full-on break-up or being ghosted by someone you've gone on a few dates with, holding onto this belief that no one will ever feel something deeper for you can prevent you from seeing what's right in front of you.
I've had some great men be incredibly obvious (in hindsight) about their feelings toward me, but I just couldn't see it at the time. Instead, I was afraid of getting hurt and couldn't see past the possibility of being rejected by them.
This all goes back to being vulnerable. When you communicate your wants, feelings, and desires, you will always get closer to where you want to be–even if it does mean getting rejected. At the end of the day, when you stay true to who you are and are transparent about what it is you want in a partner, you will get closer to finding the right person.
‘Couples shouldn’t fight.’
We tend to fear conflict because we are afraid of the consequences. We're afraid that if we express our needs or a desire for something different, it will lead to our partner leaving us or rejecting us.
But avoiding conflict can lead to a lot of resentment and hurt feelings later down the line—and also a lack of trust, which is important for any long-term relationship. It's important to understand that communicating your needs, even in the heat of disagreement, is crucial to the longevity of any relationship.
It's also essential to recognize that when you do fight with your partner, it's not because you want to hurt their feelings. It's because you care for them so much and want to ensure the relationship remains happy and healthy in the long term. To allow them to understand your needs and for you to understand theirs, it may require some bickering with one another as you digest each other's point of views. Recognizing that fighting in this way is healthy will allow you to continue expressing your needs without fear of rejection or abandonment.
‘I need to spend all my time with them.’
When you're in a romantic relationship, it can be easy to forget that your partner isn't the only person in your life, nor do you have to do everything together. These beliefs put a lot of pressure on your partner, and they can create tension in the relationship.
Friendships and family fulfill other needs for us in addition to romantic relationships—they provide us with a sense of belonging and support we can't get from just one person. Rather than forcing your partner into being every kind of support in one, lean on other relationships in your life. This will create more satisfaction and ease in the relationship.
It's also essential that you continue to pursue your goals and dreams while in an intimate relationship. It's easy to want to sacrifice all your time and energy and solely dedicate it to them, but this can leave both of you feeling unfulfilled.
It's vital for a relationship to have balance—both partners should be able to give each other their full attention while also pursuing their dreams. This helps keep the relationship exciting and fun!
‘I’m not beautiful or good enough.’
When you don't believe you are enough, you are going to have trouble trusting your partner—and if you don't trust your partner, your relationship is basically doomed.
A study found that those who felt more dissatisfied with their appearance had more anxious relationship attachment styles. When you feel you aren't enough, you are more likely to lack security in your relationship. This could lead to you lashing out, lacking independence, or even cheating on your partner because you believe they deserve better... all things that prevent you from having a long, healthy relationship.
Additionally, for those reading this article who aren't in a relationship, if you don't feel good about yourself, you will be less likely to put yourself out there and take chances on new experiences (trust me, I've been there).
It's time you stop making negative comparisons about yourself and focus on what makes you special. If someone tells you they think you're funny, kind, smart, or talented in any way, listen up and let those words sink into your heart and mind (write it down if you have to!). Seek out evidence for what you want to be true about yourself and bring that with you into your (next) relationship.
‘This relationship will be just like my last one.’
I have had a few friends whose relationships ended because of infidelity. Many adopted the belief that they weren't good enough and that their future partners would do the same thing to them. They became very insecure and self-conscious and started to control their partners to prevent being cheated on again. This caused resentment which led to more arguments and eventual breakups.
Their perception that their next partner would be just like their last caused their new relationships to fail.
It's essential to remind yourself that relationships are unique and individual, and no two relationships are alike. Buying into the idea that a new relationship will mirror your old one can prevent you from missing out on new experiences and growth. Even if this new person isn't your 'forever', they can still add so much value to your life. Embracing that possibility will get you closer to where you want to be.
‘True love doesn’t exist.’
I'm here to tell you that this belief isn't true. As a matter of fact, I believe we all can find the kind of love we've been dreaming about.
If you want to find true love, two things need to go out the window: settling and forcing. Many people give up on finding true love because they settle for someone who isn't right for them, or they force themselves into relationships that aren't meant to be.
Instead, focus on what you want out of a relationship and allow yourself to be open to the possibility of meeting someone who fits the bill (and then give yourself time). Don't force anything—just go with the flow!
At the end of the day, you deserve to find your person. You deserve to be loved, cherished, and adored in the same way that you love, cherish, and adore others.
I hope you can develop the courage to be vulnerable and believe in yourself as you explore new relationships. Go slowly, take things one step at a time, and follow your heart.
Written by Guest Author, Hailey Rodgers