Bitter is a bad color.
People often ask me where I get the ideas for some of the articles I write. The truth is, a lot of the time you've got to find inspiration in the un-inspirational. People who complain or are negative can often make you say, "Hey, it really shouldn't be that way, and I want to say something about it."
One of these situations that really grinds my gears is when people generalize all relationships as negative. By this, I mean they make unattractive blanket statements that classify being with someone as inherently ill-fated. I mean, that really fries my chicken ... and it seriously burns my toast.
Here are some myths perpetuated in our society that stem from a fundamental misunderstanding of what a relationship really is. Unfortunately, people may have had these experiences more than once and begin to generalize, as well as begin to express, their opinions as overall fact.
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 — hear me out — 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 affects 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 circumstance; instead, you can create your own.
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. 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 a red flag right off the bat.
When you 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 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, it's worse to continue catching multiple different fish of the same kind, rather than catching the same fish only to throw it back into the water and catch it again.
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 becomes 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, most 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 The Notebook-esque marriage with a white picket fence, a dog and 2.5 kids? Of course not, but to prevent yourself from having a positive experience before it even begins will do more harm than good.
Secondly, why bother? For the same reason I've mentioned in previous articles. Sure, relationships end, but so do movies, so do books, and 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.
What do all 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 work of experiences that they can show me?
The answer is up to you.
This article was originally published at jamesmsama. Reprinted with permission from the author.