Relationships Outside The Hollywood Spotlight

According to Hollywood, every woman has to stumble through a string of "unlucky" relationships and every man gets to enjoy single life. Then we meet our soul mates and get swept up in a whirlwind romance that leads straight to a lifelong "happily ever after" relationship.

Occasionally the traditional boy meets girl, sweeps girl off her free model is tweaked. With the box office launch of 50 Shades Darker, it seems as though on the surface we are given more than the traditional Hollywood take on romance but on exploring deeper, it still relates to jealousy and an age old story just wrapped in a slightly more erotic wrapper!

Either way, this isn't the way romance works in real life! The actual relationships that real people establish don't obey the simple narrative rules of movies and TV. A comfortable long-term relationship that cruises along without any challenges doesn't make for a good story. Neither does a deep and abiding love that also includes the occasional spat about whose turn it is to do the dishes. If we paid a little less attention to Hollywood stories and a little more attention to real relationships, maybe we wouldn't be hurt by unrealistic expectations so often.

Finding And Keeping Love Doesn't Take A Makeover

You shouldn't think of a major change in your appearance as a prerequisite for entering a relationship. If you'd like to change things up in order to feel better about yourself, by all means, go ahead. It's a bad idea to tie your appearance and your sense of self-worth to the judgment of anyone else, even a theoretical "soul mate." Surrendering responsibility in this way can seem tempting, but it's ultimately unhealthy.

The best way to prepare yourself for a relationship is to have a high enough opinion of yourself to feel you deserve the love and affection of other people. Having a troubled relationship with yourself will inevitably lead to problems with your romantic relationships - we see countless examples of problems like this in counselling. But what happens when you are in a relationship? What happens when the initial hoenymoon period is over?

Arguments Are (To A Point) Healthy

Many couples end up arguing simply because they're communicating. That's not a bad thing when you compare it with the alternative! As long as you're fighting the right way, arguments can be part of a healthy and constructive relationship. As long as you understand that compromise is necessary and that you can disagree with positions only after you've done everything you can to understand them. If, on the other hand, you keep having the same argument over and over and the issues never seem to get resolved, you might find a little outside help useful. Counselling (relaitonship counselling, sometimes called couples counselling), is an excellent way to regain the perspective you need and sharpen up your communication skills.

Good Relationships Take Work

Cutesy couples like to call love a seed that you plant in the ground. Don't expect that seed to grow all on its own! Love needs careful nurturing in order to blossom. Finding a great person you want to build a long-term relationship with isn't the end of the romance game, it's just the beginning. It takes effort to share your life with someone else, to see to the day-to-day minutiae like managing a home, careers, and children. Don't assume that a given relationship isn't right for you just because it takes work. Prepare yourself mentally to deal with some challenges in the course of your relationship. Recognizing your issues and working together to resolve them is a sign of strength, not weakness. Finding "the one" is where Hollywood movies end; in real life, it's where your story starts. You must be prepared for change and growth.

Relationships Don't Have To Be Perfect

If making every relationship perfect were possible, there wouldn't be divorces or separations. Great relationships tend to be "good enough" rather than perfect. It's unreasonable to expect your partner to be wonderful every hour of the day - if nothing else, it's setting an impossible standard for you to live up to yourself! A good relationship should present plenty of moments where everything is splendid, but you can't expect that feeling to be there all the time.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that the services of relationship and couples counsellors are always in high demand, but because of our unrealistic expectations, we tend to forget about these options. Turning to a professional when you need help is nothing to be ashamed of. It just might make the difference in keeping your relationship going.