Speaker, author, and podcast host Brendan Burns has coached thousands of individuals on the topics of life, business, relationships, and peak performance. He holds events in his hometown of New York City as well as in international locations such as Costa Rica. I sat down with Burns recently as he dispelled three important myths about relationships.
Relationship Myth 1: “My partner isn’t able to meet my needs.”
“People are often upset with their romantic partner for not meeting their needs. However, it is usually because they are not willing or able to vulnerably communicate their needs to their partner,” Burns says. For example, suppose a man feels isolated from his girlfriend. He feels scared that she does not care about him, and, as a result, he begins to feel lonely or frustrated. Instead of becoming angry, resentful, or dissatisfied in that relationship, Burns suggests communicating your needs openly, without feeling guilty or embarrassed about them.
By vulnerably sharing your emotional experience, you are trusting that your partner will understand and support you. And if they don’t hear or support you, that’s helpful information too. It can highlight a need to reassess your relationship. But far more often than not, the issue is not an unwillingness to meet a partner’s needs; it’s a lack of communication surrounding exactly what those needs are. “Communicating vulnerably and without blaming is a sign of strength, not weakness. Admit to your partner your needs, fears, and vulnerabilities,” suggests Burns.
Relationship Myth 2: “It is my partner’s job to make me happy.”
While it is healthy to share your experience of the relationship and explore how your partner can support you, it is not your partner’s job to take care of you or meet your needs. “The biggest cause of conflict in relationships occurs when one partner has expectations of the other partner and believes that those expectations are not being met,” Burns says. The problem isn’t the partner who isn’t living up to the other’s standards. The issue is almost always the person who holds unreasonable expectations. “People put large expectations on their partner because it is easier to do so than to face their own voids or inner lackings or unhappiness in their life,” he explains. They make it their romantic partner’s job to fulfill them.
But overly relying on a partner as the key to your happiness will only lead to heartache and pain. True happiness must come from within. The solution is to develop your own strong practice of inner healing. This can be done through therapy, coaching, personal development, support groups, spirituality, or faith and God. You must achieve your own deep personal fulfillment and contentment without your partner. Then, and only then, can you release your expectations and unconditionally love and accept your partner.
Relationship Myth 3: “My partner and I are too different to make it work.”
Many people confuse their interests and values. While you make not have all of the same interestsin common with your partner, the real goal is to find someone who shares your values. What should you look for in a partner? Burns says, “compatibility is determined by whether or not you and your partner have similar beliefs, values, character, and faith. As well as similar long-term goals and whether or not you two envision the same kind of future together.”
“Look for someone who can help you heal your past,” Burns adds. When you and your partner can both admit that you are wounded, you can allow each other to be close to your wounds and therefore help each other heal them. People often blame their partner for triggering emotional pain and as a result seek out a perfect “phantom partner” that does not exist, rather than thank their partner for bringing their own past pain to the surface so they can heal it. “While it is scary to get involved with someone who brings out inner pain from your past, it might be exactly what you need to heal those issues and become the best version of you,” Burns says. So be grateful and see the situation as a blessing.
Today, Burns helps people from around the world maximize their lives. He shares all of his best business and self-development tools, to help people achieve high levels of success, fulfillment, and most importantly, happiness. He currently works with high performers, professional athletes, business executives, and others interested in personal or professional development. Brendan also manages the @brendanhburns account on Instagram, which has more than 100,000 followers. He currently resides in New York City, where he hosts the iTunes Show “The Brendan Burns Show,” which is also featured on Spotify.
To see more, you can visit Burns’ website at www.brendanhburns.comor his Instagram @brendanhburns (www.instagram.com/brendanhburns). Burns also shares free content via his podcast The Brendan Burns Show which is featured on iTunes and Spotify.