1. You must have lots of common interests. My husband and I don’t. We have common values though and these are deeper and more enduring than interests. Interests come and go, values are what you build a life on.
2. You have to feel connected all the time and if you don’t, something is wrong. Rubbish. Intimacy is a never-ending dance. Some days we feel connected, some days we don’t. Sometimes days turn into weeks, months, years. Normalise times of lost connection while making it a priority to reconnect as much as possible.
3. Conflict means your relationship is bad. Not true. Conflict is a normal, healthy part of humans interacting and is the doorway into greater intimacy, growth and power as a couple. Learning how to navigate conflict skilfully is a superpower that can make or break any relationship. (This negates conflict that becomes abusive in any way.)
4. If your partner triggers you, they are not the person for you. Ding-ding, wrong! Your triggers are your problem, not your partner’s and vice versa. See them as a treasure chest of useful information. Welcome them as the key to your own self-understanding, raised consciousness and evolution from wounded child to sovereign adult. (This doesn’t mean you have to put up with poor treatment and it doesn’t mean you have zero responsibility for your partner’s experience of you.)
5. Your partner should know how you feel and what you think, need and want. This would be awesome but it’s not happening. Never assume they know anything. Never assume you know everything. Stay curious. Learn how to communicate clearly, safely, effectively to express yourself and have your needs met. Be brave, vulnerable, open, respectful, patient, kind. Forgive them when they get things wrong about you. They’re not perfect and neither are you. Find ways to make them understand who you are and be open to understanding who they are.