3 Ways Your 'Better Half' Is Ruining Your Relationship, According To Research

Myths and misunderstandings that block lasting love.

man and woman walking holding hands Andrii Medvediuk / Shutterstock

"Cheers to the perfect couple!"

Heartfelt words like these can actually doom a relationship. Did you know that your well-meaning congratulations to a new couple could solidify dangerous myths about love?

Beliefs about relationships were the focus of a 2014 study conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto and the results could not only change how you give a wedding toast, but also make a positive difference in your own love relationship or marriage as well.


What researchers discovered was a correlation between relationship satisfaction and the words used to describe relationships.

Study participants who were flooded with phrases like, "we are one," "made for each other" and "better half," tended to behave with a more negative view of their own relationship. These concepts play into the myth that soulmates meet, sparks fly, and their relationship is immediately and irrevocably perfect.


It's this instantly blissful, always in love and happily ever after view of relationships that causes all kinds of trouble for real people. They've unknowingly bought into a fairy tale and then become anxious, resentful, and angry when their reality doesn't match up. What at first seemed to be "meant to be," quickly feels like a fraud or dismal failure.

What's most unfortunate about this is that there could be a wonderful relationship developing, but it was never given the chance to grow and evolve. Instead, it's rejected as a huge mistake because it doesn't fit a stereotype that's unrealistic and maybe even impossible.

RELATED: 10 Things Couples Must Be Able To Do In Order To Keep Their Relationship Alive

Here are 3 ways your better half is ruining your relationship, according to research:

1. An "everything has to be perfect" mindset

Any difficulty in your relationship feels bigger than it actually is when you're operating under the assumption that good relationships start out and stay perfect. It would probably be to your benefit to banish the word "perfect" from your vocabulary because it's not helpful and is usually harmful.


When you believe that your relationship always has to be perfect, you ramp up stress, anxiety, judgment, and blame. Problems are that much harder to resolve because you're so caught up in "what it means" that you're having a problem in the first place.

2. The belief that a "meant to be" relationship will take care of itself

The classic image of a perfect relationship is that it's self-sustaining and no upkeep is needed to keep it amazing. Maybe you know a couple who seem to be so in love and never appear to break a sweat to keep their relationship healthy and blissful. We assure you that this is not what's happening. Either this couple has become adept at denying their problems or they don't let anyone see the effort they put into staying connected.

3. Inability to be happy until everything is just right

The ramifications of believing in myths about soulmates or a couple "meant to be" together are distressing for real people (including you). When you notice that your relationship is not perfect because you and your partner have an argument or one of you lies, not only do you feel disappointed and anxious, but you also don't allow yourself to be happy where you are right now.

You only see what you perceive as the weaknesses and flaws, and you overlook what's actually going well (or improved). This stands in the way of effectively changing bad relationship habits and your overall happiness. This myth also doesn't let you build on the momentum that's taking your relationship in the direction you want it to go.


RELATED: 5 Necessary Ingredients For Growing A Super-Romantic (But Very Stable) Relationship           

Here's the truth as we've come to know it:

Love relationships— even soulmate relationships— are always in process. That was the takeaway from the University of Toronto study we mentioned above. When you stop holding your relationship up to a measuring stick that isn't even possible, you can start to attract and experience more connection, closeness, and happiness than ever before.

Does this mean you have to be okay with hurtful talk, emotional distance, flirting with others, lying, infidelity, or other painful and unwanted problems? Absolutely not. You can maintain an expectation that you and your partner move toward the healthy, loving, and passionate relationship you've always wanted. Along the way, you can relish and appreciate those moments when you're in alignment and experiencing what you want.


There is always the potential for happiness and fulfillment, but these aren't all or nothing. They are simply what you're working toward and what you can get a taste of if you just let go of the myths and only if you're open to the whole journey. The relationship journey isn't always an easy one. Bring more ease, harmony, and happiness to your love relationship or marriage by doing what it takes to create lasting love.

RELATED: The Most Healthy Relationships Have One Secret Formula In Common

Susie and Otto Collins are relationship coaches and authors who help couples communicate, connect and create the relationship they desire.