Many of us carry many misconceptions about the opposite sex that we bring into relationships. However, there are three common misconceptions about dating the opposite sex that I observe repeatedly.
After a while of dating the opposite sex without as much success as we want, we start to make up stories about them and how they are so different from us…and horribly unchangeable! I think this an effort to understand, as if to understand would help us change or fix it. It gives us some relief from the pain and confusion to laugh with our friends about how men are or how women are. But when we come to believe that it is all absolutely true, we get ourselves into trouble.
Understanding some differences can help enhance our relationships, or it can help us build up resentments and walls against being able to get truly intimate with someone.
So Misconception #1 is that MEN are DIFFERENT than women. We are all human beings who need relationship to survive. Sometimes men are stereotypically male and sometimes not. Sometimes women are stereotypically female and sometimes not. No way to know for sure until you know the person you’re with, for sure.
Misconception #2 is that all WOMEN are the SAME. REALLY??? If men get together and talk about their relationships and all say the same things:
* all women just act like they want sex until you marry them
* all women want is a man to take care of them
* all women are emotional and get out of control for no reason
* all women are needy and can never be satisfied
* all women cheat
Does this make it all true about women?
Misconception #3 is that all men are the same. If women sit and talk about how men and how hard it is to have relationships with them and all say the same things:
* all men act like they’re into you until you get attached and then they start to disappear emotionally
* all men have problems with communication: don’t call, text or write often enough
* all men cheat
* all men are irresponsible about work, money and household tasks
* all men are little boys and have no idea how to be grownups
Does this make it all true about men?
The more I work with PEOPLE, men and women and those in between, the more I realize that we aren’t that much different from each other. I really think we (men and women) are all the same…with variations. The differences may be more due to how men and women have been socialized in our world rather than something they are born with. You can read Lillian Rubin’s book, Intimate Strangers, for some theory on how it happens that boys are trained to be instructional and afraid of intimacy while girls are raised to be relational and afraid of disconnection.
But once you scratch the surface of any human being you will find the similarities if you open up and let them in. We all crave connection but not everyone knows how to achieve it in a healthy way. We all want to be happy and loved. We all fear rejection and abandonment. We all want to be important.
If you approach relationships with a fear of THE OTHER and differences, you will keep up your emotional walls and never achieve true intimacy. If you leave your heart open to love and connection and trust yourself to walk away if the relationship isn’t being respectful and healthy, then you don’t need walls. You just have to trust yourself to take care of yourself, NO MATTER WHAT.