COMMON MYTHS

& misconceptions

Every relationship takes time and work.

This includes your relationship with yourself as well as your relationship with your significant other(s).  We are always challenged by our own understanding of what a relationship should be like versus the reality of what it is. The misconceptions regarding relationships are similar to the misconceptions regarding therapy. In the below section I try to tackle some of the most common misconceptions regarding relationships, identity, and therapy. 

The Psychologist will take sides.

A competent Psychologist will be neutral. It may be necessary to meet with each partner separately, depending on the goals and dynamics, but this should be rare.  Lack of communication is a common concern in relationships.  Couples can benefit from being direct with their partner(s), so it would be important for them to be together in the session.  If you could benefit from individual therapy in addition to couples therapy, a referral should be made.

People should identify as heterosexual and wanting to be in monogamous relationships.

We have been socialized to believe that heterosexuality and monogamy are “normal” and any other way of being is deviant.  People are diverse, which means “normal” is a matter of worldview.  People should have the freedom to identify and define themselves and their relationships.

Relationships fail because women are more emotional and men are more task-oriented.

Women and men are both emotional and task oriented in relationships.  Women and men express emotions differently; however, there is not a significant difference in the amount of emotions expressed during conflict.

The goal of therapy is to resolve conflict.

Conflict is inevitable in relationships.  In fact, 69% of conflict is about “perpetual problems” (i.e., conflict that could not be resolved).  Instead, the goal of therapy is to learn how to manage conflict in an adaptive way.

Monogamy is for women, not men.

The rates of extra-relationship affairs for men and women are about equal.  Context is an important factor to consider to understand the notions that men are considered to “need and want” to have sex with several partners.  Whereas, women “need and want” a sense of security and love from one partner.  The increase in women’s independence means that women have more access to other partners.  It was not biology. Additionally, we have been socialized to think that women “need and want” to be in monogamous relationships. This concept was created by men as a way to establish paternity and access to inherited property. To that end, women who are not monogamous are shamed and made to feel like it is not “normal.”

Extra-maritial / relationship affairs are the primary cause of relationships ending.

Most extra-maritial / relationship affairs occur due to the lack of friendship and intimacy.  It is typically not about sex. Instead, it’s about seeking emotional support.

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