The Perfect Relationship Buzzkiller

Posted on June 2, 2007

The BBC reports on a new report published in the Journal of Marital and Family Therapy that is a "perfect relationship" buzzkiller. The report suggests that accepting the fact that "some miserable times are unavoidable" may be the key to happy relationships. The report says that modern fairytales are spreading this myth of the "perfect relationship." The report also lays some blame on the mental health industry.
The authors, Dr Diane Gehart and Dr Eric McCollum say it is a "myth that, with enough effort we can achieve a state without suffering."

And they say healthcare professionals may not be helping the situation.

"The field of mental health perpetuates this myth with the very concept of "mental health," which implies a state without suffering," they say.

But this belief can eventually cause people to believe that with enough effort they can eliminate suffering.

And experts say this is an unrealistic aim in relationships, and striving to achieve it can lead people to feel they have failed.

Jan Parker of the Association of Family Therapy said: "The authors are right to point out that the pursuit of relationship nirvana can be potentially damaging."
Many people who have had long marriages would likely confirm the report's findings. Enduring the difficult periods may be the key to longterm happiness. Of course, there is a limit to how much misery one should accept in a relationship.

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