By Carolina Diaz-Bordon

Divorce rates are soaring all over the world. According to marriage expert, Dr. Terri Orbuch, otherwise known as the “Love Doctor,” next time you hear somebody tell you that a happy marriage means never going to bed mad or that it’s normal for passion to die after marriage, you need to plug your ears and run far away. It’s time to put an end to common myths and misconceptions and become aware of the researched facts on what it truly takes to keep love going strong for the long run.

What gives Dr. Orbuch the license to eradicate countless years of bad love advice? Well, they don’t call her the “Love Doctor” for nothing. This marriage expert has devoted her life to untangling the many mysteries of love and relationships. Unlike many others dishing out advice, she will not utter a single piece of counsel without the proper research to back it up.

Through her call-in radio shows, television appearances, monthly magazine column, advice CD’s, books and national speaking engagements, she’s managed to help thousands turn her researched findings into practical applications.

Did I mention that passion is her middle name? No, it’s not really but it should be. It’s obvious that she loves what she does and is eager to help others see why.

“There is so much relationship research out there that nobody knows about. I feel that many of the relationship experts out there now are perpetuating these myths about relationships and they don’t have the research background and the research articles to back up what they are saying,” Orbuch said. “So what I wanted to do was take this researched information and make it accessible to everybody in a way people could easily read about.

“Relationships are the core of not only what we feel about ourselves but our physical health and well being as well. If people are happy in their relationships, then they are less likely to feel depression and anxiety, so it affects their mental health and well being. This is why I became the love doctor.”

It’s no secret that love is the most popular topic on the planet. But what exactly is it and what does it take to share it and make it last with another person?

“There are two kinds of love. There’s compassionate love and there’s passionate love. Passionate love is the love at the beginning of a relationship. It’s the excitement and the romance and illogical arousal that you experience when you really don’t know your partner. We know that passion love declines after about 18 months,” she said. “Then we start forming what we call companionate love, the love of friendship, support and intimacy.

“If something happens to you, the person that you go to is the one you feel the compassionate love for. It’s the person that supports you in your big scares and in the little daily experiences that go on in your life. It’s the love of friendship. When we talk to couples that have been together for a long time, they talk about companionate love or real love much more than the passionate love.”

The value of learning the truth is priceless, especially when it comes to love and relationships. Unfortunately, the truth can be hard to see when it’s been hiding behind loads of misconceptions. So without further adieu it’s time to cleanse your cluttered love-tangled brain and get to the true heart of relationship matters.

Take a glimpse at the 10 most popular relationship myths and misconceptions and replace them with the Love Doctor’s antidote of reality.

1. Going to bed mad is bad. FALSE
How can going to bed mad actually be good?
Dr. Orbuch says:
Resolving conflicts when one or both partners are tired or highly emotional doesn’t work. Sleep on it instead and schedule a talk when you’re rested and have some perspective.
“The reason why it’s OK to go to bed mad is because when you’re upset and angry it does something to your brainwaves and you’re not at your problem-solving best. We know from studies that it takes about 30 minutes for your brainwaves to get back to the normal state of balance. What I encourage couples to do is to take a break or go to sleep and when you get up in the morning you see the conflict in a totally different perspective and that’s the time when you want to schedule a time to talk about the argument.”

2. Opposites attract. FALSE
Aren’t differences exciting? Isn’t diversity what keeps the sparks alive?
Dr. Orbuch says:
Research shows that similarities are what keep people together for the long term. There is no danger in having too much in common with your spouse.

3. Women fall in love quicker than men do. FALSE
Aren’t women the ones that start thinking about the long-term picture when they first meet someone they like?
Dr. Orbuch says:
Actually, men fall in love more quickly than women do, and are more likely to believe in love at first sight. Studies show that women are more selective and cautious in whom they love.

4. Conflict is a sign of marital trouble. FALSE
Won’t fighting with your spouse create tension?
Dr. Orbuch says:
“The biggest misconception is that conflict is a sign of trouble. People are really fearful of conflict, and they base their marriage troubles on how much conflict they have. The best and longest-lasting relationships are those that have a healthy dose of conflict. If handled well, conflict can keep relationships strong. It’s not necessarily how much conflict you have but how you manage and resolve them.

5. Jealousy is a sign that your spouse cares about you. FALSE
Isn’t he supposed to get jealous if somebody else is flirting with me? If he doesn’t, then it must mean he doesn’t really care, right?
Dr. Orbuch says:
“Unfortunately, that’s the belief many people feel and many people test their partners to make sure that they love them. We know that jealousy is not a sign of true love. It usually stems from fear and low self-esteem. It is the fear that you’re going to lose your partner or lose a relationship that you value.

There are two kinds of jealousy:
Reactive jealousy is when your partner does something that shows you’re going to lose your relationship. We all experience that when our partner has an affair or betrays us in some way.
Suspicious jealousy we vary on, and that’s when our partner has not done anything past, present or future but we’re so worried about losing the relationship that our thoughts go beyond our partners behaviors. That’s when it really has all to do with confidence and self-esteem.

6. Passion dies it’s a fact of marriage. FALSE
Isn’t it impossible to keep the passion sparking after spending so many years with the same person?
Dr. Orbuch says:
The myth is incorrect. The reason why it declines is that we physically can’t take the intensity of that kind of passion for too long. That intensity is just too great. That passionate love is kind of fueled by newness. At the beginning of a relationship, we think our partner is perfect and we idealize our partner. Then as we get to know them we find out their faults and that feeling begins to decline. You need to reignite newness to light up the passion in a relationship. I encourage couples to try something new with their partner. Take a cooking class, try a new sport or exercise routine. Anything new that you can do with your partner will fuel passion again because you’re starting something fresh.

7. Wives are more romantic than their husbands. FALSE
Aren’t women the ones that want candlelight dinners, sappy love songs and to be swept off their feet?
Dr. Orbuch says:
The fact is that men have been found to be more romantic in their beliefs than women. Men want to be wooed (with a surprise dinner date, e.g.), women want to be supported (with household help, e.g.).

8. Couples should be able to discuss everything. FALSE
Doesn’t marriage mean we shouldn’t keep any secrets from each other?

Dr. Orbuch says:
All relationships have taboo issues that partners simply can’t talk about. Couples sometimes simply need to agree to disagree. Finding a balance between self-disclosure and privacy is what counts.

9. Love becomes less important in marriages over time. FALSE
Dr. Orbuch says:
After the first few years, marriage is more about support and stability than love, right?
“Studies show that relationships lasting 15 years or more include high levels of what is called companionate love, and companionate love should INCREASE the longer two spouses are together in a happy marriage.”

10. Having separate lives keeps couples together long-term. FALSE
Dr. Orbuch says:
If you share too much with your partner, won’t you get sick of each other?
“Independence is a good thing, but research has found that if both partners are INTERdependent socially, emotional and financially, there is a greater incentive to stay together. I think that there has to be balance. You need to balance your own individual needs with the needs and quality of your marriage.”

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