Irrational romanticism: an old-fashioned idea?
To what extent is it true that healthy relationships should be based only on pure feeling?
Several studies support the idea that malfunctioning in a couple is related to the cognitive processes that originate our internal dialogue. Cognitive processes are those that mediate between the events that occur in a relationship and the consequences (emotional, cognitive and behavioral) of these situations.
From this it can be inferred that the things that our partner does not disgust us by themselves, but by our way of thinking about them. It is possible that throughout a relationship one has said to himself:
"Just think about yourself!" It should not be like that.
Actually, this is an example of a way of thinking produced by inadequate cognitive schemes about the couple that will negatively affect the quality of the relationship.
Cognitive processes and the quality of a loving relationship
Some examples of inappropriate ways of thinking are produced by the following processes:
- Selective attention : it is a process that refers to which aspects pay more attention within the relationship. In conflicting couples, one tends to focus attention on negative behaviors of the other.
- Attributions : it is characterized by the way in which the couple is held responsible for the events.
- Expectations : refer to beliefs about the behaviors expected in a relationship. When the difference between expectation and reality is high, greater dissatisfaction in the couple.
- Assumptions : beliefs about the nature of intimate relationships and behaviors of the couple that affect the relationship by attributing a series of traits to it that determine the way in which it interacts.
- Standards : are processes learned throughout life about the characteristics that couples "should" have. This implies dissatisfaction and disappointment at the discrepancies between the ideal and the ideal partner.
The two cognitive modes of thinking about the couple that we have seen before are divided, in turn, into two levels of analysis: automatic thoughts and cognitive schemes.
Automatic irrational ideas
The existence of automatic thoughts is inevitable, but some may arise to damage interactions with the partner. These last ones are those that are tried to modify firstly in therapy, being that certain typical ideas born of irrational judgments suppose a risk for the happiness in pair.
Some examples of automatic thoughts are:
- It must be the ideal companion.
- Disappointing the other would be horrible and would lose personal validity.
- My interests and needs should revolve around my partner, and / or his around me.
- If something displeases me it is preferable to keep silent to break our harmony.
- We must agree especially on those issues that are important or significant to me.
- Disagreements are destructive: you can not live happily with different points of view on some issues.
- The other will provide me with the happiness or satisfaction I need.
- We have to share everything.
- With the other I will be so happy that I can abandon other interests or other relationships.
- I have to be totally committed to achieving the happiness of the other.
- We should never argue.
- As my partner loves me, he has to know my thoughts, and desires without me having to communicate them.
- My partner can not change, it's the way it is.
- Men and women are different in terms of the needs they expect their partner can cover.
- If you do not pay attention to me, it's because you're not interested in anything.
- If I do not feel jealous in my relationship, I do not really love that person.
- Love can do everything, if we really love nothing can go wrong.
- If you are in love, you may not like or be attracted to other people.
In a second level are the beliefs or philosophical pillars that are called cognitive schemes from which the previous thoughts derive . Some examples:
- Strong need for love : this idea emphasizes the need to feel loved to value oneself.
- Demands and demands : refers to the absolutist idea of unconditional support and the idea that there can be no mistakes or incompatibilities in a couple that is loved.
- Philosophy of punishment and / or guilt : leads to think that the other person should feel guilty if he does something wrong and, therefore, punish him for it.
- Catastrophes : it is about the belief that it is terrible that things do not go as you want.
- Low tolerance to frustration : refers to the idea of not being able to bear the problems, and therefore, fear of being hurt.From the perspective of this scheme, one demands a relationship without problems but immediate results.
- Emotions are uncontrollable : refers to the idea that happiness or unhappiness is achieved through the other couple.
On the other hand, the way in which a couple lives their relationship will be determined both by the characteristics of each spouse (affective style, learning history, experiences in previous romantic relationships, etc.) as well as in the sociocultural context (gender roles, cultural expectations, etc.).
All these features will be influences on the interaction and quality that is created in the couple . In short, modifying these cognitive aspects from a rationality used to achieve well-being in the couple is not only possible, but very useful.It may interest you: "The 7 keys to have a healthy relationship"