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Busting relationship myths

In February, you may have romantic matters on your mind. It's a good time to think about what it means to live 'happily ever after'

Drawing of a heart on a cracked wall

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This content is provided to Johns Hopkins employees through a partnership between mySupport and Resources for Living.

Long-term relationships are all about mutual respect. Partners must help each other reach their highest potential. And they must forgive the other person's faults. It takes commitment, hard work, and understanding.

Many people get married thinking they'll live "happily ever after." But that doesn't always happen—and the "happily ever after" idea can lead a couple to break up. That's because partners feel let down when it doesn't happen right away.

Here are some other relationship myths:

  • Happy couples don't fight.
  • Partners should see everything the same way.
  • People can't change, so don't ask them to change.
  • Excitement will leave the relationship over time.

Finding the truth

Happy couples do exist. And they know how to ignore the relationship myths. They know that:

  • People who love each other still have conflicts. But they know how to solve problems with compromise.
  • Being compatible doesn't happen right away. People learn more about each other with time.
  • People can change. But they must grow together as a couple.
  • Passion grows into a deeper level of intimacy over time.

Building a strong relationship

To build a better relationship, both partners must work together, and both must be:

  • Generous and willing to make sacrifices
  • Understanding and able to show empathy
  • Dedicated to long-term growth
  • Aware of choices and their consequences
  • Willing to accept responsibility for their choices
  • Able to take risks
  • Open to learning more about each other
  • Accountable and able to trust each other
  • Independent but willing to give up individual freedom to commit to each other

Partners should be willing to accept each other no matter what. Everyone has flaws, but hopefully the good qualities outweigh the "less than good."

Partners should attempt to be good listeners. And they must listen without criticism or judgment. Good communication takes practice.

Partners should always try to do what's best for the relationship. Always think about your partner's feelings in addition to your own.

Partners should be willing to be open and honest. Both must share thoughts, feelings, wants, and needs. Your needs will probably not be the same as your partner's. Talk about your needs so your partner will be able to meet some of them. Remember that you can't always meet all of each other's needs.

Hopkins-specific relationship resources

mySupport

If you are interested in talking to a counselor about improving your relationships, reach out to mySupport, Johns Hopkins' employee assistance program. This service is available to you and your household members 24/7, 365 days a year.

Call mySupport at 443-997-7000, option 2, for free, confidential help and referrals.

Relationships webinar

Healthy Boundaries in Online Relationships will be offered from 3 to 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, through the university's partnership with Resources for Living. Register here.

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