There are some myths being perpetuated in our society that stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of what a relationship really is. Unfortunately, when people have certain negative experiences (especially more than once), they often begin to generalize, then express their opinions about relationships as facts. If you are one of those people -- or the partner of one -- here are seven myths that may be holding you back from finding love.
1. You think everybody cheats.
This one is pretty basic. Kind of like, "Why relationships suck 101." Men cheat, women cheat (or maybe you cheat), and you can only assume that everyone else acts the way that you do. Maybe this has even happened to you more than once.
The truth is -- and hear me out here -- not everybody cheats. There are people out there who possess the self-control to understand that a loving, healthy relationship will bring more satisfaction than a temporary physical act. Typically, we call these people "mature, respectable adults," and if you only commit yourself to one of them, you may have a more positive experience.
2. You see your friends unhappy.
Maybe you're single, but your friends are in relationships. Maybe they don't make the best choices when it comes to partners, and they are, overall, unsatisfied. It's only natural that this will affect your perception of what is normal for our generation, but you are not them, and their circumstances aren't your circumstances.
If we just take the time to listen, observe and learn from other peoples' experiences, we can make better decisions when it comes to our own. You do not have to be a victim of circumstances, you can create them.
3. You think you'll be held back in life.
You do not have to choose success or a relationship; all you need is to find someone who will support and encourage you along your journey. People, in general, can be lazy and unmotivated. They fall into routines and their happiness or self-motivation dwindles and this negativity can be contagious, especially in a relationship.
It's difficult to plan a future with someone who doesn't have any plans for their own future. This is what makes it so important to really get to know someone as well as their hopes, dreams and ambitions, before you commit to them.
The right person will be your support system and never discourage you.
4. You think you'll have to give up your friends.
Why is it that so many people feel as though if you've got a girlfriend or a boyfriend, you can no longer communicate with members of the opposite sex? This, to me, is a serious trust issue and is a red flag right off the bat. When it is understood that you are two individual people with two individual lives that existed before you knew each other, it makes life much easier.
When you're happy with someone, wouldn't you rather introduce them to everyone and become part of each others' lives, rather than cutting everyone else out?
5. You've had multiple relationships with the same person.
Have you ever seen a fly that keeps flying into a glass door when there is an open window on another wall, but they never seem to notice it? They just continue to fly into that closed window and when you're watching, it's obvious they'll never get through. You just want to redirect them over to the open window -- this is how some people treat relationships.
If you continue to go back to the same person over and over and over again, you are the fly trying to get out of the door. It's only natural that you'll think that every other door or window will be closed too, but sometimes, you've got to stop and look around the room.
6. You've been fishing in the same pond.
Perhaps worse than catching the same fish only to throw them back and catch them again is to continue catching multiple different fish of the same kind.
Many of us tend to stay in the same circles. We often go to the same places on the weekends or fall into a routine that limits how many new people we meet. Similar to the fly in the previous example, this is a situation of how we represent the world to ourselves. We find only what we choose to focus on, and much will be illuminated if we step outside of our comfort zone and surround ourselves with different types of people.
7. You think all relationships end anyway, so why bother?
There are two sides to this coin. First, yes -- many relationships do end. But, not all of them. Am I saying that you'll be one of the lucky ones who ends up in a Notebook-esque marriage with a white picket fence, a dog and 2.5 kids? Maybe, maybe not. But, to prevent yourself from having a positive experience before it even begins will do more harm than good.
Secondly, why bother, you say? For the same reason I've mentioned in previous articles. Sure, relationships end, but so do movies. So do books. So do nice dinners. But we still give our time, effort, and money to experience these things, because it's the experiences along the way that make life beautiful.
Why bother? Because each person who enters our lives helps us grow into the person we will become. Each relationship that doesn't last will teach and prepare us for the one that does.
What do all of these points have in common? The inherent negativity does not come from the fact that you were in a relationship, but from the person who you were with.
We have all had bad (learning) experiences along the way, but it's important that we don't let them contaminate our future.
The next person you bump into when walking around the corner has a completely different genetic makeup, experiential background, family upbringing and outlook on life than the last person you broke up with.
The question we each have to ask ourselves when meeting someone new is: Am I going to let this person take the blame for the actions of someone they've never met, or am I going to explore the entire new world of experiences that they can show me?
The answer is up to you.
This article originally appeared on JamesMSama.com.
You can follow James on Twitter at @JamesMSama.
James Michael Sama is an award winning Boston based blogger on the topics of dating and relationships, having amassed over 30 million readers in just a year and a half. He writes and speaks on the topics of chivalry, romance, and happiness throughout the country and has been featured repeatedly in news segments, talk shows, and mainstream radio.
James' mission is to bring dignity back to dating and relationships by reinstilling these values that are sorely lacking in modern times. James is also currently working on his first book.