Over the past decade or so, it has become even more normalized to see a therapist, which is an amazing step in the right direction for society. While many things come up in therapy, a lot of people focus on or touch on relationships, which makes sense because they’re such a large part of our daily lives.
Therapists are often full of good advice and good perspectives on all aspects of life, and these people shared the best advice they received from their therapists regarding their relationships.
Your Past Isn’t A “Get Out Of Jail Free” Card
“You can’t blame someone for how they were raised and what they experienced in the past, but you can absolutely hold them accountable for how they treat others because of it.”
“Closure” Is Never As Good As We Think It Will Be
“Stop expecting to find closure with an ex. There are times when it just won’t happen. The fact that the relationship ended is the only closure you’re really going to get.”
It’s Easy To Overlook This
“The people closest to you should be people who you want to be like.”
If you find yourself in a relationship where you don’t particularly admire or want to emulate some of your significant other’s traits, they aren’t going to be good for you.
A Relationship Should Be Equal
“When one person knowingly prioritizes their own wants and needs over their partner’s, the relationship is doomed because the person simply doesn’t care enough to make any meaningful change.”
This Is An Avoidance Tactic
“Constant, needless escalation is a red flag and a tactic to try to invalidate you.
“For example, when ‘I don’t think we need this expensive thing’ is escalated to ‘you don’t really love me.'”
They’re Called FEELings For A Reason
“You don’t always need to ‘understand’ feelings—you can just feel them.”
Our society has a focus on “logic” over everything, but feelings are just as valid as ways of processing information. If you feel a certain way, you don’t have to find a “logical explanation” to justify it.
You Deserve The Things You Need
“It’s not too much to ask for the things you need from a partner.”
Sometimes, when dating, a significant other might make you feel like you’re too needy or demanding too much, but it’s not too much to ask for your needs to be met.
You Can’t Change Someone
“The only thing you can change is yourself.”
In relationships, there are going to be circumstances that are unpleasant, and your partner might do things that are hurtful, but all you can really do is choose how you’re going to move forward.
Treat Relationships Are A Bit Like An Investment
“Your time and energy are valuable and spendable just like money. You don’t go and blow all your hard-earned bucks on items that are low-quality and make you feel terrible, so stop blowing all your time and energy on people and things that are sh***y and make you feel terrible.”
It’s A Tough Pill To Swallow
“‘Good people can do bad things’
“This might sound obvious, but it lifted a huge weight for me. A past partner, who was very well-liked and an all-around ‘nice guy’ caused me a great deal of pain. For years afterward, it hurt when anyone spoke fondly of him.
“I knew deep down that he wasn’t an evil person, but that somehow made it worse. I started to believe that if a decent person could treat me like that, I couldn’t be worth much. Therapy helped me to realize that he can be a good person, but also a person that did a really bad thing. It’s totally valid for me to hate what he did, but that’s not everything he is.”
No Relationship Is A “Waste”
“Just because a relationship ends does not mean it wasn’t a good one or a successful one, and it definitely wasn’t just a waste of your time. There were good things too and also a lot of lessons.”
You’re Never Going To Get What You Need
“You’re never going to be happy if your whole personality revolves around trying to be likable.”
Naturally, we want people (especially romantic interests) to like us, but you need to do things that are “unlikeable” or create conflict if you ever hope to get your needs met and truly feel fulfilled.
Savior Complexes Are Not Healthy
“You cannot rescue people.”
As much as you might want to help someone overcome their problems—addiction, past traumas, etc.—you can’t be the only one to “save” them. You can, at best, give your support while they save themselves.
You Can’t Change The Past
“Do not blame everything on yourself. The way you turned out to be is not 100% on you, so stop feeling bad about it, stop trying to go back in time to fix it. You can, however, learn to manage the outcome.”
You Can’t Fix Everything
“Before you spend your time and energy solving a problem, make sure it’s your problem.”
Sometimes the problems we encounter in relationships have to do with one person being in the wrong headspace or something similar, and there’s nothing we can do to fix it.
Listen To What You Really Want
Sometimes the things we think we’re supposed to want don’t align with what we really want at the time. Sometimes, despite us kind of wanting a relationship, we really just want to be alone with ourselves and focused on our own development.
It’s An Unfair Thing To Put On Someone
“You should not rely on other people for you to feel happy. You will only burden them with your problems and put your issues on them. The same goes for them. They should not rely on you to feel happy.”
Stop Bottling Up Then Blowing Up On Partners
“Don’t hold things in. Think of yourself as a balloon: if the air is released slowly, it’s much more pleasant and manageable than if the balloon gets too full and pops.”
Sometimes It’s Really A Good Thing
“My therapist, after a few months, told me that ‘there are worse options than divorce.’ I ended up getting divorced and it was the best thing that ever happened to me.”
Perhaps We Can Just Learn To Communicate Better
“The best thing I learned from my therapist wasn’t anything she said, but how she acted. Never interrupted. Waited until I finished talking, and a good five seconds afterward to see if I thought up more to say.
“Active listening is so powerful. It helps people come up with their own solutions, and think through their own problems. I never realized how much I interrupted people in conversation. It’s not that I didn’t listen to what they said before, but I kept trying to understand it at a glance and offer my input immediately. Keeping quiet and just trying to understand has led to some great conversations with partners.”