10 Common Relationship Myths Debunked

Updated:

In the 1970 movie Love Story, Ali McGraw’s character says to her hubby, played by Ryan O’Neal, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

This is an absolutely insane sentiment, no matter how iconic the movie or that phrase was popularized. Imagine doing something hurtful to your romantic partner and not saying you’re sorry. Because that’s what “love” means?

Guess what? That’s not the only weird relationship myth that we’ve been fed or led to believe—there are a lot. And we are all guilty of believing them on some level, no matter how nuts they sound when said out loud.

We thought it’d be fun (and helpful) to debunk some of the most common relationship myths—hold on to your hearts; we may give them a little shock if you subscribe to any of these mistaken beliefs!


heart with book of myths

Where Do Relationship Myths Come From?

People’s views on romantic relationships are pretty much shaped by what they learned as kids, what’s popular on social media (ugh), movies, what so-called experts or actual experts say, and what they see with their own eyes.

And then, they often compare their own relationships with these ideas, checking if they match up with what they think is a “perfect” relationship or if it falls short.

When we start a relationship, we bring preconceived notions about what it should be like and how we should feel about it. Not only do these assumptions dictate how we act in the relationship, but they also lay the groundwork for how we judge our partners’ compatibility and how happy we are with our relationships overall.

Given that schools don’t typically offer a course in Relationships 101 (though it would surely help!), many of us form our views on relationships based on what we observe in our surroundings. This includes the partnerships of our parents or relatives, those of our friends, and, as we said in the beginning, the portrayals we see in the media—TV shows, movies, and celebrities. 

This is not only wildly inaccurate, but it is in direct contrast to the extensive research conducted over the years about what makes relationships happy, healthy and long-lasting.

Here are 10 common myths about relationships, each rated for their inaccuracy on a scale from 1 (so incorrect it should be illegal) to 10, with 10 meaning it’s not a myth. 

Spoiler alert: there is not a 10 in sight!


crystal ball with stars

1. “If It’s Meant to Be, it’ll Work Out”

Wrong! Relationships are a bit like boats; they need someone to steer them. Sure, you can float along and let the current decide your path, but if you end up in trouble, it’s not because the relationship wasn’t destined to be. It’s often because neither of them put in the effort needed to guide it properly.

Debunked Score: 2


wave of water

2. Don’t Make Waves In the Honeymoon Phase

In the early days of a relationship, aka the honeymoon phase, you’re setting the tone for how things will go later, like who takes the lead, how you talk to each other, etc. If your partner is usually late and you don’t say anything, it will probably seem like you’re fine with it. If you’re not okay with it, you should absolutely (gently but clearly) bring it up, even if it’s only your second date.

Debunked Score: 3


bed with heart above it

3. The Belief That Couples Must Have Sex a Specific Number of Times Per Week

A major reason for sexual dissatisfaction in relationships is unrealistic expectations. If you believe you should be having sex three times a week but only do it once, you might freak out. Do NOT freak out. The “right” frequency depends on both partners’ desires and, more importantly, on their actual situation and circumstances. And guess what? Comparing with friends to see how often they have sex won’t help at all. The best and only approach is to talk about it openly with your partner.

Debunked Score: 5


person with magnifying glass and question mark over face

4. “My Partner Should Know Why I’m Upset”

It’s a common belief that our partners should automatically know what they did wrong, but mind-reading isn’t a real skill, even in long-term relationships. You’re not dating Nostradamus, are you? Sure, they might notice you’re not happy, but they’ve probably done some things over time that could have upset you, so guessing the exact reason now is a superhuman feat. Instead of waiting around for them to figure it out, just tell them what’s bothering you. It’s a time-saver and prevents unnecessary frustration and resentments.

Debunked Score: 3


two babies

5. The Idea That a Baby Will Fix Everything

Bringing a baby into the world is a life-altering and wonderful event, but it’s also incredibly stressful for a relationship. If you think being too tired to fight is a solution, then having a baby might seem like a great idea (it is not a great idea). If there are existing issues in your relationship, a baby won’t make them magically poof out of existence. In fact, most couples experience a drop in happiness after their first child is born. Plan for a family because you want children, not because you need a distraction from your relationship problems—it’s a child, not a quick fix. Go to couples therapy instead!

Debunked Score: 1 (ILLEGAL)


two friends hugging

6. The Belief that Being Truly Happy With Your Partner Means Not Needing Close Relationships With Others

This idea might hold water if both partners are extremely codependent, which is another issue entirely. But for most people, suggesting that a partner shouldn’t need anyone else is either an attempt at control or a complete lack of understanding of our fundamental need for friendships and a sense of community. People need people!

Debunked Score: 4


couple fighting

7. Happy Couples Don’t Fight

Booo! Research in psychology consistently shows that it’s not about whether couples argue but how they do it. Healthy arguments are those that avoid getting worse and lead to solutions, effective problem-solving, and agreements on how to handle any similar issues better in the future. It’s important for couples to learn how to argue in a constructive way and practice these skills to improve their conflict resolution and communication.

Debunked Score: 5


angry fire emoji on top of bed

8. Don’t Ever Go to Bed Angry

Ideally, yes, resolving issues before your head hits the pillow is great. But is it practical, especially when it’s late, and you have early morning responsibilities with kids or work and need to be alert the next day? Nope! A more realistic approach is to agree to resume the discussion or argument at another time—the next day. Plus, some people need a break to cool off before they can have a constructive convo, so taking a pause is actually a pretty good idea.

Debunked Score: 3


fingers holding floating heart

9. Thinking You Need to Love Everything About Your Partner, Even Their Gross Habits

Let’s be honest—some habits can be downright disgusting (like fork biters or chewing with your mouth open), and it’s totally okay not to love those parts. You don’t have to force yourself to adore every single thing about them, like if they bite their toenails. Yuck. What really matters is accepting them as they are. Just acknowledge these little icky quirks, and try not to let them become a bigger deal than they are in your overall relationship.

Debunked Score: 4


heart with strong arms

10. Strong Relationships Don’t Require Effort

This is a common but totally false belief. In reality, all good relationships take a lot of work to keep them that way. You’re combining two lives, each with its own set of always-changing needs, wants, and goals. It’s a constant process of adapting and growing together. No matter how great things are, a relationship always needs attention, effort, and nurturing from both people to keep it healthy and happy.

Debunked Score: 1 (ILLEGAL)


Takeaways

If you’ve ever believed any of these relationship myths, don’t worry; you’re definitely not the only one, and it’s good to question these common myths! Every relationship is different, and there’s no magic recipe for a perfect one—if a perfect one even exists.

So let go of these common myths; relationships take work, but that’s part of what makes them grow. Love means saying you’re sorry—trust us, your relationship will be stronger for it.

woman listening to music

20 Love Songs to Add to Your Dating Playlist

Look, love songs aren’t always the deepest and most dramatic tunes that make you weep and think about calling an ex (don’t you do it).  ...
Happy Couple Having Fun Together Taking Selfie

The Importance of Honesty in Dating: Building a Relationship on Trust and Transparency

Jack Nicholson once famously said, “There’s only two people in your life you should lie to… the police and your girlfriend.” While this quote is ...
eharmony, Christian Mingle and Jdate Screenshot on a Mobile

Success Rate Showdown of the Top 3: Comparing Dating Apps

Dating apps are designed to help you find true love, dates, or romance, but some do it better than others. And some are better at ...