Fights are always going to be a part of your relationship. But while resolving those arguments, steer clear of a few fake relationship rules.
There are many relationship rules. The things you “should” and “shouldn’t” do in your relationship. When there’s new information, it’s best to revise what you learned if it’s no longer relevant. Some rules, however, seem to want to stick around. Let’s look at the ones you should no longer believe, along with what’s really true.
The rules come from a combination of sources, including my professional work with couples as a marriage counselor, scientific research, and personal experience. Following the new relationship rules will help your bond stand the test of time!
Here Are 5 Fake Relationship Rules and What You Should Believe Instead
1. Fake: Try to fight fair. Truth: Try to fight well.
Fighting fair is next to impossible. To try to will only be frustrating and likely to make the fight worse. We all fight to win. You may as well admit it. But, in a romantic relationship, you should do everything possible to fight well instead. There is a big difference.
When you fight, you can try to listen, understand, empathize, and sincerely apologize if you did something wrong. This is how you fight well. The goal is not to win the argument. In doing so, you will quickly become the enemy, or the argument will escalate out of control. On the flip-side, you should not avoid a discussion that may need to take place.
Relationships have a lot of “rupture and repair” as they go on. When you both run into a rough spot, talk it out and try to end on a positive note. You both need to feel valued and heard regardless of the outcome. Realize that there is not always a perfect answer or solution.
2. Fake: Try to change your partner’s perspective. Truth: Try to understand your partner’s perspective.
This also applies if your partner’s view is utterly irrational. Yes, really! Our opinions don’t come out of nowhere. They are influenced by our past and our experiences. Our perspectives originate from the meaning we assign to them. They belong to us, and we are entitled to them. Therefore, trying to change their point of view, even if it doesn’t make much sense to us, will not work. It will also make the matter worse.
We all want to be understood. Trying to empathize and put yourself in your significant other’s shoes is the best way to handle this. You are not necessarily saying they are right. You are merely trying to get how and why they think and feel as they do.
3. Fake: If it’s really important to you, start the conversation (and with lots of ammo). Truth: Try a softer conversation start-up.
Your partner can set you off big time. When you are triggered, be careful how to begin the conversation. If you are over the top angry and attacking, I can tell you right now it is not going to go well. You may very well have the right to be upset but if you actually want a resolution to your complaint, get yourself in a calmer state of mind before approaching the issue with your partner.
This works even if the topic is uber-important to you. In fact, softer vulnerable feelings draw people close to us, elicits empathy, and make what you’re trying to communicate more likely to be responded to by your partner.
4. Fake: If things are getting heated or not going your way, refuse to talk to calm it down. Truth: Try to talk even if you struggle or it’s getting heated.
Refusing to discuss a problem in your relationship is toxic. It may be really hard to talk. You might have trouble expressing yourself. You may feel too overwhelmed to speak. This is all understandable. However, you owe it to your relationship to find a way to discuss your thoughts and feelings.
I promise, you do not have to be Shakespeare, you just have to make a good faith attempt to talk. If it’s getting heated, tell your partner that you are taking a break to calm down and you’ll be back in 20 minutes to try to resume the conversation. (Oh, and you actually have to go back to talk in 20 minutes!)
5. Fake: Hold to your high standards no matter what. Truth: Be reasonable.
Partners who feel they can never get it right or the goalpost keeps moving, will at some point give up. Small attempts at closeness and connection can be easily missed if you always expect grand gestures. Notice your partner’s efforts to please you or get it right and show appreciation for it. This will create a much more positive interaction that also nurtures your relationship.
Most of us are doing the best we can in relationships. We may have learned from our families growing up how things should be. As long as you are open to learning new ways of handling communication and conflict in your relationship, you’ll likely be successful. It’s time to say goodbye to fake news and fake relationship rules.
I’m Dr. Marni Feuerman, a licensed marriage counselor practicing in Boca Raton, Florida. Please reach out to me if your relationship is struggling. Be sure to grab your free resource to kick-start your journey.
The next time you have an argument with your partner, keep in mind these fake relationship rules and make sure that you don’t resort to them to prove your point. If you want to have a truly healthy relationship, both of you need to know how to put forward your opinions without going down the toxic path.