Discover common myths about dating and the real facts.
Myth: Girls like guys who take charge on a date.
Fact: It depends on what your interpretation of ‘take charge’ is. Being confident and assertive is very different to being bossy and controlling.
Myth: I’ve spent a lot of time and money on my date. My date owes me sex!
Fact: Your date does not owe you sex. A thank you would be nice, but in a healthy relationship both people are equal.
Myth: My date said “no” but I know that she wants it. I just have to keep pushing.
Fact: It’s always important to take people at their word. If a date says "no", that person means "no".
Myth: I’m just not hard wired to communicate. My partner will just have to accept me the way that I am.
Fact: Some people are better communicators than others. This does not mean that people who find communication difficult can manage without it. Communication isn’t a skill solely for romantic relationships; it is an essential tool of working relationships and friendships. As for expecting that you aren’t capable of change or are not willing to change, reflect on how well your current level of communication is working for you, and also on how you would feel if your partner was not willing to work on enhancing the relationship.
Myth: Jealousy and possessiveness are signs of true love.
Fact: Jealousy and possessiveness are that the person sees you as a possession. It is the most common early warning sign of abuse. A healthy relationship is one based on trust and respect.
Myth: He only hit me once because I pushed him too far. It won’t happen again.
Fact: Your partner may feel angry, but there is a difference between feeling angry and acting aggressively. Relationship violence takes place in a pattern, or cycle of violence. There are often periods of apology, and a relief from violence, but these give way to more tension and more violence. One instance of violence is never okay.
Myth: If your partner really loved you s/he would change.
Fact: Whether or not your partner makes changes is not necessarily an indication of how much s/he loves you. Sometimes, even though your partner loves you s/he may not show it in a way that you would like affection to be demonstrated. For example, you may like to be told that you are loved, whereas your partner may show this in a more demonstrative way (e.g. looking after you, calling to speak to you). Making changes reflect both a willingness to make changes and also an ability to do so. If your partner does not know what changes to make, then you will need to communicate your needs rather than expecting your partner to read your mind – you are also responsible
for the relationship. If you have repeatedly communicated your desires and feel that s/he has been repeatedly and deliberately ignored, then you may want to consider what impact this has on your relationship.
Myth: I know I’m being treated badly, but without my partner I feel like I’m nothing. At least if I have a partner then I’m worth something because someone wants to be with me.
Fact: Placing your self-worth on the fact that someone wants to go out with you is very destructive. What does it say about how much your partner values you if s/he treats you badly? Also, by allowing your partner to treat you badly, are you giving the message that you are a worthy person who deserves respect? Sometimes it is easier to remain in a situation that is familiar, but you also need to ask yourself what impact remaining in this relationship has on your self-worth.
Myth: We can remain friends even though we’ve broken up.
Fact: Think carefully about remaining in contact after you have broken up. What do you hope to achieve by doing so? If you remain in contact in hope that your partner will realise that you’re meant to be together, then it will only be a setback for you. It is not impossible to rekindle the friendship, but it may take some time for your romantic feelings to lessen in intensity – this may be hard to achieve if you are in constant contact with one another.
Myth: We shouldn’t have to work at our relationship if it’s meant to be. It should just happen naturally.
Fact: Time and effort is required to make and maintain a healthy relationship. It is quite easy to fall into the trap of thinking that if a relationship is 'meant to be' then things will work out without much effort on either part. The reality is that you wouldn’t expect to succeed at your studies even if you were 'meant to be' at university without putting some effort in, so why would it be different for relationships? Similarly, if it was ‘meant to be’ that you would be a good long distance runner because of your physique that doesn’t mean that becoming a successful long distance runner would occur without any work.
If you recognize some signs of an unhealthy intimate relationship you can seek help to resolve some of your concerns, rather than undertaking this activity alone. There is no need to feel that you are isolated and that no help is available. Friends and family members may be a great source of support and guidance during difficult times. Numerous supports are available within the community that you can seek assistance from. Most universities employ counsellors who are professionally trained to help when relationship difficulties occur.
Private psychologists and organizations, such as Relationships Australia are also good resources which can be accessed.
This handout is based on the following resources:
- Amodeo in C.L. Whitfield Boundaries and Relationships: Knowing, Protecting and Enjoying the Self. Family and Domestic Violence Unit Office for Children and Youth. (2006).
- Relationships … more than just who you go out with. WA: Relationships Australia. Relationships Australia. (2006).
- Building Better Relationships. (Online) http://www.relationships.org.au/relationship-advice Sexuality, Sexual Health and Relationships Education (SHARE) (2006).