avatarJames Michael Sama


These Harmful Mindsets Are Blocking Love From Your Life

Are false expectations your worst enemy?

One thing that has always fascinated me about us as humans is that, one of the most fundamental pieces of our existence often goes the least understood.

That is — relationships.

In every other area of life, we seek knowledge, develop skills, make a plan, set goals, create a strategy. Yet, in our relationships with each other, we’re told it will just “work out” when we find “the one.”

Not only is this false and illogical, it can actually be harmful.

We can easily create or adopt a belief system about relationships along the road of life that we accept as reality, and then we measure every partner and connection we have against that “reality” we’ve created.

Below, we’ll discuss some mindsets that can get picked up along the way that, quite frankly, you should drop in order to have happier and healthier relationships.

1: “I’m looking for ‘The one.’”

It always surprises people to hear that I, the guy who’s generated millions of views writing about romance, doesn’t believe in “the one.”

Here’s why I think it’s a good thing that “the one” doesn’t exist:

People looking for one single solitary person that they believe has been reserved for them in this life, are on a wild goose chase that can easily be thrown off course.

They’ll meet a person who has a single flaw, or lives just a little too far away, or who doesn’t look the way they expected, or who isn’t exactly “their type,” and they’ll write this person off far sooner than they should because…well…they can’t possibly be the perfect partner that the universe has chosen for them, right?

No, it must be someone else. Someone who everything will just click with…

We all know, though, the truth of love and relationships is that they require conscious choice. We must choose the person we’re with every single day. We must choose to look past (or learn to love) their flaws, as they do ours. We have to put effort into finding them, driving to see them, building and maintaining a connection…

They don’t just fall into a slot into your life and stay there forever.

What’s more — let’s say that you do find someone who seems to just check all of the boxes and everything is great…for a few years.

What happens if tragic or unpredictable circumstances of life remove this person from your sphere? What if there is infidelity, or loss, or illness, or any relationship-ending circumstance?

Now your “one” is no longer in your life. Are you destined to be alone forever because there’s nobody else meant for you?

Love is a choice. Partnership is a choice. The person you choose to spend your life with is…well…a choice.

If you’re browsing the aisles looking for the perfect person who aligns completely with everything you’ve ever envisioned in a life partner, you’re going to be sorely disappointed.

This is not meant to remove the romance from love, though — in fact, it should do just the opposite.

The real romance is found in making the conscious decision to choose your partner over and above the billions of other choices you have, and knowing that they’ve chosen you as well.

It’s even more special to know that you’ve chosen each other, not less.

2: “Relationships shouldn’t take work.”



ALL relationships require work.

Let me be clear about this, though…

It shouldn’t feel like a constant struggle.

It shouldn’t feel like arduous hard labor.

It shouldn’t feel like painful and tense work.

It shouldn’t feel like a full time job just keeping you together, or keeping your partner happy, or trying to convince yourself that this is the right path.

But, all relationships take work to maintain.

The work of consistent and honest communication.

The work of making time for each other no matter how busy life gets.

The work of maintaining your own physical and mental health.

The work of keeping the romance alive.

The work of being a team and navigating life together.

The work of choosing each other every single day.

I think many people, regardless of age or generation, have lost the desire to really commit, put in the work, and dedicate themselves to anything, really. We see it in the workplace, in commitment to fitness routines, and definitely in relationships.

We want things to be easy. Quick. Immediate. Instant. Effortless.

So, the moment we really need to show up, especially if it’s for someone or something else, we figure it’d be easier to just leave the pieces on the floor and walk away.

The truth is — it is. It is easier to do that, but as we all know…nothing worthwhile comes easily.

3: “We ALWAYS need to be together or communicating.”

I used to be like this when I was younger, before I understood the value of autonomy and independence in relationships.

That is, two people maintaining their identities, not smushing themselves together into one single entity, often leading to codependency and unhealthy levels of attachment.

This mindset, though common, is a sure sign of insecurity in one or both partners.

It’s rooted in the belief that if you’re not constantly telling or showing this person you deserve them, or if you’re not constantly in their presence, they’ll somehow forget about you, or lose interest, or find someone else.

It becomes a constant state of anxiety at that point. A chase. A frantic and unceasing effort to prove yourself and your love to them.

Often, of course, the opposite effect takes place, and they feel smothered or pushed away.

Love needs space to breathe. It needs balance. Flow. An area in which it can grow into without being restricted by tight walls.

Healthy love wants another person. Unhealthy love needs them.

4: “We should never fight.”

Again, HA.

Now, obviously, I’d never suggest that fighting or argument in a relationship is healthy. It’s not fun. It causes stress. It should be avoided when it can — not from ignoring issues, but from working through them.

However, we live here in reality, where couples are bound to have arguments now and then, no matter how healthy or stable their relationship is.

The question is not if you argue, but how you argue.

In fact, completely avoiding conflict or arguments in one’s relationship could be even more unhealthy than facing it head on, because this means your true feelings or challenges are going unrecognized and will only continue boiling under the surface until they finally explode.

The key lies in healthy communication while you work through a challenge together.

Not insulting each other.

Not digging up the past.

Not turning against each other.

We must always remember that it’s two partners against the problem, not two partners against each other.

5: “Love is unconditional.”

Love for a partner is not unconditional.

Oh, is that controversial?

“But James, it should be! You should stand by them no matter what!”


What if they cheat?

What if they abuse you?

What if they’re living a separate life you don’t know about?

What if they lied about fundamental parts of themselves?

What if you constantly fight?

What if they don’t want the same things as you?

What if they…you get it.

I believe that we get into a lot of trouble if we adopt the mindset that relationships should endure literally anything.

This can EASILY keep us in negative, toxic, abusive, or harmful relationships for no other reason but completely blind and irrational levels of commitment.

Yes, you should be fully dedicated to your partner with every fiber of your being — but they must earn this dedication, just as you must in return.

If someone betrays your trust, your wellbeing, your loyalty, or your love — then they lose the right to maintain it.

That’s how it works. We have to earn the right to have someone in our lives. We should never take them for granted, never make them feel undervalued or overlooked.

Remember — your wellbeing is paramount, no matter how much you love someone. If the person you’re with is taking away from the quality of your life more than they’re adding to it, then you need to seriously reflect on whether or not they actually deserve to be in your life.

6: “It’s their responsibility to make me happy.”

How many people do you think are running around trying to find a relationship expecting their partner to magically make them happy? To fix their problems? To bring them some level of expected fulfillment that, in reality, can only come from within?

I’d argue that this expectation is more common than we like to admit.

“I’ll finally be happy when I get into a relationship/find love/get that promotion/buy that house/whatever.”

The only person who’s responsible for your happiness is you.

“But James, your partner should make you happy!”

Your partner should bring happiness to your life.

They should do things that make you happy.

But, they cannot be responsible for your happiness. They cannot create internal fulfillment for you.

That is a massive (and unrealistic) weight to put on another person that simply never works out the way one would hope, because it’s not the way that human beings work.

You don’t find happiness in a relationship — you create it in yourself — and then you bring it to a relationship.

7: “My partner should fill ALL of my needs!”

I think a lot of people put a lot of weight on their partner.

You’re supposed to be the lover, the best friend, the therapist, the advice-giver, the teammate, the parenting partner, the counselor, the…everything.

I think that point #6 overflows into this one, in that some people expect an intimate partner to take the place of everyone and everything else in their life.

Instead of having multiple sources for multiple needs (friends, social groups, hobbies, a therapist, a coach, a family member to call), they’ll just heap everything onto their partner.

The challenge with this is that it changes the dynamic of the relationship.

Instead of becoming a lover and romantic partner in life, they’ll start to feel a high level of pressure to keep you lifted up at all times in all ways.

That’s a lot to ask.

Yes — both partners in a relationship should put in every ounce of love and effort they have in order to keep each other fulfilled and satisfied within the bounds of the relationship.

And, obviously, some needs are solely the responsibility of your partner to fill.

Others, though, are yours.

8: “They’ll just understand what I need/why I’m mad/what I want.”

Your partner is not a mind-reader…especially if it’s a man. (Sorry, gents).

It’s true, though — no matter how well you get to know someone, no matter how many years you’re together, no matter how connected you are…you cannot read someone’s mind, and they cannot read yours.

There are a lot of challenges and misunderstandings that could be avoided in relationships with healthier and clearer communication, instead of tacitly assuming that your partner will be able to just “figure out” why you’re mad, or why you’re distant, or why you’re not talking to them.

9: “My needs are more important than theirs.”

Be honest — you’ve had this thought before.

You’ve had a hard time understanding why your partner is the way they are, might not “get” what they want or need, and as a result, you sort of…dismiss it. At least a little bit.

It doesn’t make sense to you, therefore…it just doesn’t make sense.

It’s less valid than what you want or need, because your needs are rational and logical.

Except…your partner is probably thinking the same thing.

Neither of you thinking this is healthy or productive.

Love is a matter of prioritizing our partner’s needs at the same level of our own, whether or not we fully understand them. Though, we should try. We should ask questions, communicate, seek to find the deeper reason why this person has this need, and then find ways that we can fulfill it.

If two partners aren’t both working to make each other happy in the ways that they individually desire, then neither will be happy.

10: “I’ve got them, so the work is over!”

Some people are of the mindset that the “work” is getting into a relationship, or getting married…and then…poof! You’re done! You can let off of the throttle and just coast for the rest of your life.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

The start of a relationship, or the start of a marriage, is where the real effort begins, not where it ends.

And here’s the kicker: It’s not just effort into the relationship that matters.

It’s effort into yourself.

Maintaining your own mental, emotional, and physical health.

Being able to show up at your best for yourself and your partner.

Staying active and healthy so you can run around with your kids (if you have them).

And uh, staying active and healthy so you can run around with your spouse, too. Wink, wink.

Consciously putting in effort to communicate and stay emotionally connected.

Showing gratitude even for something they’ve done a million times, or that they do every single day.

Planning trips, planning dates, making time together, keeping your partner a priority in your life no matter how hectic or crazy things get.

The truth is that as life goes on and gets more full, the harder this may become — but, the more important it becomes as well.

Think of it like stoking a fire in a fireplace. You cannot just leave the room and expect the fire to keep burning — it’ll just fizzle out. You have to consistently care for it, stoke it, keep adding fuel, wood, and refreshing it.

It will burn for as long as you’re willing to do that for.

Love, effort, and romance shouldn’t fade after the “honeymoon phase” of a relationship. In fact, they should increase as your partner becomes a larger and more important part of your life.

Keep the fire stoked — and it will burn forever.

  • Click here to book a free call to see if we’re a fit to work together. My private clients find themselves living more confident, purposeful lives and cultivating healthier relationships with those around them.
  • James Michael Sama is an internationally recognized speaker, author, and personal development coach.
  • Finding success in creating hundreds of viral articles and videos on building limitless confidence and healthier relationships, James has accumulated over 39 million visitors to his website and a collective social media following of over 400,000.
  • James speaks at live events and in the media across the U.S. and has become a go-to expert with outlets such as CNN, Bravo, The New York Post, The Huffington Post, The Daily Beast, CNBC, The Boston Globe, CBS, and more.
Life Lessons
Recommended from ReadMedium