My mom is all about the sayings. From, “this too shall pass” to, “moving faster than a whiperwhool’s ass in gooseberry season.” (OK, that might only make sense in New Hampshire.) She’s got a quip of wisdom for every occasion. And a lot of them are helpful — or at least, they’re pretty harmless. But some sayings that have entered our common consciousness are actually just not true. Just because something is meant to be old and wise — or is repeated a lot — doesn’t mean it’s actually going to do you any good.
In fact, a lot of sayings and Old Wives’ Tales that we have are about love and relationships — and many of them just don’t stand up to reality or logic. Maybe it’s because they’re too old fashioned and often imply that a woman should just put up with a lot of nonsense, maybe it’s just because relationships have changed too much, but they haven’t stood the test of time. So here are some words of wisdom that you shouldn't necessarily hold yourself too, because sometimes you can go to bed angry.
1. It’s The Little Things That Count
The little things count, sure — they’re a huge part of a relationship. But this phrasing implies that the little things count more than the big ones. You know what else counts? The big things. I’ve seen too many people forgive bad behavior, like not being there for a partner or being unavailable emotionally, because they do the occasional nice thing. Flowers don’t mean much if someone’s cheated on you. And the more consistently someone doesn’t pull their weight in the relationship, the more the little things mean — but the main problem still remains. And that can be a huge problem. The saying should be, “The little things count, too.”
2. Take The Bad With The Good
Similarly, this is a phrase that sounds fine, but can easily be used to convince yourself the bad behavior is OK. Yes, relationships have ups and downs and yes, it’s completely normal to have a rough patch. But you shouldn’t convince yourself that a lot of bad is worth it just because there are moments of good. There needs to be an equilibrium and it should be, on balance, far more good than bad.
3. Absence Makes The Heart Grow Fonder
Missing your partner from time to time is definitely a good thing. It reminds you of how much you love and appreciate them. But, as anyone who’s been in a long term relationship can tell you, absence doesn’t always makes the heart go fonder. Absence can make you question everything, can make you feel emotionally distant, and, ultimately, can drive you apart. If you’re struggling or find you have a wandering eye during a long distance relationship, you are not alone.
4. You Should Be Best Friends
Your partner should be one of your best friends, sure. They should be irreplaceable and have a unique role in your life. But it’s OK to have best friends. It’s OK to have someone that you vent to about your relationship and your partner and do things with they wouldn’t like. That’s not a breach of trust, that’s healthy independence.
5. Forgive And Forget
You can’t carry around every disagreement you’ve ever had. That will weigh your relationship down. But even if you forgive, you don’t always want to forget. If the same issues are coming up again and again in your relationship, then it’s important that you’re willing to see the pattern.
6. Love Comes When You Least Expect It
Although you definitely need to be in the right place emotionally and mentally to get into a strong, healthy relationship—and it’s important to focus on that, first—sometimes you do need to look for it. If dating and meeting someone is a priority in your life, that’s OK. There’s no need to minimize or dismiss all of the people who are out there looking for love. Sometimes, love comes because you’ve been looking.
Old wives’ tales and words of wisdom sometimes strike the right chords — I’ve definitely told myself “this too shall pass” when I’ve been in a rough patch. But, sometimes, words are just words — the fact that they’ve been said for a long time or that we know them off by heart doesn't’ make them true. So, when someone offers you a quippy bit of wisdom, make sure to think it through. Because you should only take on advice that makes sense for you and your relationship. Otherwise, it’s just empty rhetoric.