7 Pieces Of Old-Fashioned Advice That Are Actually Hurting Your Relationship
There is plenty of classic relationship advice that is wonderful, like loving yourself first or never taking your partner for granted. On the flip side, there are plenty of old-fashioned tips that really need to be put to rest. Just because you've heard something a million times before, doesn’t mean it should be taken at face value.
Classic advice may always be well-intentioned, but sometimes it can actually harm a relationship. While some advice might have been helpful in the past, times have changed and plenty of tips haven't stood the test of time.
“It’s not so much the statement is false, but that it needs to be reinterpreted, redefined, and clarified for the time we live in now,” Joshua Klapow, PhD, clinical psychologist and host of The Kurre and Klapow Show, tells Bustle.
For example, classic relationship tips can lean too heavily on antiquated gender stereotypes, and often encourage people to stick a relationship out through anything — even if a relationship turns toxic. Reexamining pieces of old-fashioned advice can reveal how misguided they are, and how they need to be revised in a modern light.
To help you parse through what advice is actually worth listening to, here are some tips that desperately need updating, according to experts.
1. “Never Go To Bed Angry”
Although this one is a classic, it is also unrealistic and potentially harmful. By placing the expectation that you should never go to bed angry, you can end up straining your relationship.
“In a relationship, sometimes you go to bed angry, and sometimes you can't fix the feelings before going to sleep," Dr. Klapow says.
It actually can be better to go to bed angry, he says, sleep on it, and then talk it out the morning.
2. “You Can Change Them”
It's a common trope that you can reform a chronically misbehaving partner — that it's romantic to be the one that finally changes them. However, Dr. Klapow says that it should not be your responsibility to change anyone. Instead, you can ask your partner to change, and then they have to take agency to become a better person.
3. “Some People Never Change”
Conversely, it can be detrimental to assume the someone is incapable of change. There's more dialogue than ever about toxic behavior and relationships, and saying someone will never change is an outdated way to dismiss someone’s bad behavior. It attributes blame to a person’s nature and ignores that everyone has control over their choices.
“People have the ability to change somewhat,” Dr Klapow says. “But some people never choose to change.”
4. “Love Will Keep You Together”
This is a notion straight from old romance films; however, many of those movies glossed over all the compromise, communication, and extraordinary hard work that goes into a healthy relationship.
“Love is necessary, but not sufficient," Dr. Klapow says.
Love is an amazing thing, but a good relationship takes so much more.
5. “Know Your Role In The Relationship”
This is one that falls into old gender stereotypes. Relationships are dynamic and you should never feel like there’s a required way for you to act.
“Your ‘role’ in the relationship absolutely should not be seen as something that is static,” Dr. Klapow says. Relationships constantly shift organically and your “role” will as well.
6. “You Should Stay With Them For Better Or For Worse”
On the surface, this seems like a sweet sentiment. We all want a partner that will stick by our side through thick and thin. However, when you think about what this really means, it can have unhealthy implications.
“Very often it ends up as an excuse for one partner to be bad,” Dr. Klapow says.
Relationships will go through good times and bad, but if your relationship is unhealthy, you absolutely do not need to stick it out.
7. “Honor And Obey”
This one has popped up in old wedding vows for years, but has some pretty problematic connotations. You have no obligation to "obey" your partner in any way.
"It should be honor and respect," Dr. Klapow says.
Relationships have changed drastically over time, and old-fashioned advice should be updated to reflect that. By reexamining age-old relationship wisdom, we can make sure that we're making the healthiest decisions in our love life.