Break Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams
It’s important to bust myths about love if you want to break through to the relationship of your dreams. Here’s how…
Want to finally have the relationship of your dreams? Stop believing all the myths about love, like ‘Happily Ever After’. My radio guests, Linda Bloom, LCSW, and Charlie Bloom, MSW, regularly teach at Esalen Institute and the Kripalu Center. They have served as adjunct faculty at institutes of higher learning including UC Berkeley Extension, and California Institute for Integral Studies. They live in Santa Cruz, CA. Their website is www.Bloomwork.com.
I spoke to Linda and Charlie Bloom about the top 40 myths about love, and why it’s important to bust them if you want to break through to the relationship of your dreams. Highlights of the episode below.
Break Through to the Relationship of Your Dreams
Why are we so susceptible to believing myths, and how can people avoid these damaging beliefs?
Linda: One of the myths we run into a lot is the idea that ‘my family was so screwed up, and I didn’t have a happy childhood so I’m doomed.” If you’ve had a rough start in life, it doesn’t mean your relationship will be doomed. It has so much more to do with your commitment to learning communication skills, conflict management skills, and how to bring out the best in each other.
The myth of ‘Happily ever after’ has people believe that a relationships should just flow. That’s not true. We are often drawn to our complements, and we need to learn to respect the differences.
Charlie: Humans can get so attached to their stories. The book gives people evidence that a lot of the stories they’re holding onto are damaging their chances in life. The stories are also reinforcing the behaviors that are keeping them stuck.
Two big myths/generalizations are ‘once a cheater always a cheater’ and ‘there are no good men’.
Those might be true for a lot of people, but it’s important not to make a sweeping generalization about all cheaters or all men. Instead, ask yourself what is true about this unique set of circumstances with this person right now.
What are some reasons why people believe these myths/limiting beliefs?
Linda: It gives people some sense of protection. “If he really loved me, he would just know what I need” is a great one. [The myth of mind reading]. I suffered so much in my relationship with Charlie in the beginning because of this myth. When he wasn’t demonstrative, I assumed he didn’t love me very much. [By hoping he’d just read my mind], I was keeping myself from having to risk being vulnerable and getting refused. When I took a chance and asked for a kiss goodnight, asked for him to hold my hand when we were walking, our relationship improved.
Why do so many myths seem to validate negative expectations rather than positive ones?
Charlie: We all crave a sense of security and want to minimize risk in our lives. We don’t want to put ourselves in a position where we’re vulnerable or experiencing negative feelings. One myth is, “after many years, marriages inevitably go flat and dull and boring”. That’s a negative expectation. When we believe this to be true, we don’t feel obliged to do something about it. We don’t have to take responsibility for anything we can do or our partner could do, because it could lead to some conflict or to feelings of anger or remorse or sadness.
The high price to pay is that we create a self-fulfilling prophecy. [Without putting in the work, marriages can become flat and dull and boring.]
Mistakes happen in relationships. How can someone offer an effective apology?
Linda: [A very damaging myth from the movie Love Story is,] “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Not true! We need to tune into ourselves and calm ourselves down first. When we say we’re sorry, it’s got to be completely heartfelt and sincere. Even if we’re completely sincere, our partner may still be too defended to receive the apology. We may have to wait and bide our time and offer the apology again. Saying you’re sorry is only going part of the way.
You can say, “I’ve learned that you’ve got a sensitive spot about this, and I wasn’t aware of that before. I’ll be more sensitive next time.”
Have the vulnerability to say, “Are you willing to forgive me for this?”
What’s the most common root of conflict in a relationship?
Charlie: From our experience, we’ve noticed that when you’re not in integrity with your own truth/reality but with an outside set of expectations, you’ll have an internal conflict with that which you believe to be true and that which you feel you SHOULD do. That conflict will show up between us and people in our lives who are important to us.
If you’re not true to yourself, you’ll continue to run up against the issues that are unresolved in your relationship. There’s a mutual attempt to convert the other person into who you want them to be. It’s inevitable when you’re not grounded in your truth.
Linda: There’s a myth, “Independence is strength” or “Independence is weakness”. I was busy making dependence weak and lesser than. But there’s a huge part of me that likes to process things through and connect with people. Charlie is an introvert and a self-contained system. I was feeling bad about myself that I was dependent. I realize that there’s a healthy dependence in every loving relationship. Our partner is strong in areas that we’re not. Dependency is not a dirty word.
Charlie: Men need women to own that aspect of themselves. That’s how we can integrate that into our lives. It helped me to accept that it’s true for me, too. For years, I wouldn’t utter the word, “need” in regard to myself. I denied my natural state of dependence. We couldn’t create an interdependent relationship until we came to that place.
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