This can be especially true when it comes to relationships: all of us were brought up with a strong attachment to the idea of “romance” and/or “falling in love.” This is perhaps especially true for women, who bear the burden of many, many stereotypes and expectations, especially when it comes to heterosexual relationships.
But every person has their own truth, their own desires, needs and thoughts — and can nurture those things in their relationships. To do so, we need to all do some work. Here are 10 truths about relationships all women should know:
1. Nobody is going to “save” you.
Despite the message in Disney movies or our favorite romantic comedies, there is no guy out there that is going to save us. Others can help us and support us in our journey, but it is not their responsibility to “save” us from our problems nor is it anyone else’s responsibility to make us happy. We ourselves are the only ones responsible for our own well-being and happiness.
2. You’re not going to “save” anyone else either.
When we see someone else struggling we may find ourselves caught up in trying to fulfill the charming “Little-Miss-Fix-It” role. We may think that it is desirable to be a caretaker — to possess the wisdom, knowledge and ability to help take another’s pain away. The reality is that the only person who is able to truly “save” them is themselves.
3. Being supportive and agreeing are two different things.
When it comes to relationships, many of us get the concepts of support and agreement confused. We think that just because someone doesn’t agree with our decision or view it means that they don’t support us. This is completely untrue. It is possible to disagree and still be supportive. We can uphold our opinions without being constantly validated by others.
4. Being supportive also doesn’t mean doing everything.
Just because a person doesn’t meet every single need that you present doesn’t mean that they don’t support you, that they are somehow an inadequate partner. Similarly, you don’t need to be there for your partner, or anyone else, every single time they express need or desire for support. You should feel at peace with putting your own needs first. You will not only be happier, but you will be a better partner.
5. Believing your initial impressions can be essential.
Maya Angelou wrote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” Yet somehow, when someone reveals something we find troublesome, we choose denial: we hope that somehow, magically, the person will change.
This sets us up for disappointment, resentment, frustration and more. If someone is telling you or showing you something about himself or herself at the get-go, believe them. Don’t delay listening to yourself and your needs because of false hope.
6. Real love involves acceptance.
Every person undergoes an individual journey — their lives. Sometimes we may be out looking for a relationship that is deep and intimate but the people we find ourselves with aren’t quite ready for that yet. We have to be willing to be honest with ourselves to find what we truly desire. Accepting our needs and desires, and accepting those of others, lends itself to healthier communication, and ultimately, healthier relationships.
7. Challenges are not a sign to leave.
In fact, challenges can be a sign to go deeper more often than not. In every relationship, there is always a point where we find ourselves in the midst of conflict. The problem, however, is that sometimes as things get more challenging and difficult we begin to question being in the relationship. We have to be willing to face the challenges in order to grow as individuals and as partners.
8. Happiness starts with you.
Often times, a seemingly big problem in a relationship isn’t necessarily about what the other person is not doing, but what you yourself are not giving. What happens in every relationship is a result of whatever you bring to the table. We have to be willing to stop and realize that everything is an exchange, and requires two sides. What are you bringing or not bringing from your side?
9. “The One” may not be part of your journey.
Though our culture still heavily supports the idea that we will all find “The One” or our “soul mate,” we have to know that it isn’t necessarily realistic. Some of us in this life may very well find only one person who we spend the majority of our lives with. For others, we may find multiple people who have been very significant to us in our lives. We are all on our own unique journey. Be open, and you will figure out what works for you.
10. No relationship is ever concrete.
Other people are like guests in our lives — some may come and go quickly and others may stay several years and then go. Either way, it is out of our control. Acceptance of ourselves is what allows for constant balance amid constant flux.