6 Common Mistakes We Make in Relationships
I feel like I should start off by saying I am not a relationship expert nor could I be classified as the perfect boyfriend but I seem to be the kind of person people come to seeking help with their relationship problems. I cannot be sure this fact qualifies me to impart my relationship advice on the masses but at least it won't cost your dignity when you undoubtedly find yourself crying in an alleyway after one too many shots while out with your friends.
Your happiness should not be dependant on whether or not you're in a relationship but if you find yourself having problems with your significant other it doesn't hurt to see what you can do together to get back on track. Studies have shown most problems you face in a relationship if caught early are easy to fix before they become insurmountable. While larger issues may require help from a professional couples councillor most of the smaller issues dealing with space, boundaries and communication can be handled through an open dialogue between you and your partner.
1. Taking Your Partner for Granted
Once the honeymoon phase ends, there is a tendency to let the niceties we are taught to practice slip away. Some of these slips are completely natural and just a normal part of a relationship maturing and evolving — we cannot withstand the same level of contactual commitment you had when you first started dating; it's just not sustainable while living a well-balanced and healthy life. Being in a relationship with someone for many years, seeing them day in and day out, can cause one to take for granted what its like to be without them. It never hurts to imagine your life without your boyfriend/girlfriend/wife/husband and reflect on what it would be like without their affection, humour and person in your life. There is a tendency to expect your partner to always be there without the same level of communication, attention or affection on the assumption they have become as complacent in the relationship as you. This can lead to your partner searching for affection and attention in the wrong places and ultimately lead to an irreparable fracture in your relationship foundation.
2. Clingy and Overly Emotional
While taking your partner for granted is not the greatest course of action when building a life with someone you should also avoid the other side of the spectrum and smothering them with attention. There is nothing more upsetting within a relationship than having your partner constantly questioning whether you truly love them, needing constant affection and reassurance to set them at ease. If you find yourself constantly wondering if your partner actually cares about you months or years into the relationship then I suggest you reevaluate if these feelings are based on something your partner is doing or something you are struggling with emotionally within yourself. You should be able to tell from the things your partner is doing whether he or she actually cares and loves you; whether they show it by doing favours for you, texting you throughout the day or surprising you with things you enjoy (for example my boyfriend brings me gluten-free chicken fingers and All-Dressed chips). Suffocating your significant other with your emotional issues is not something I suggest for relationship longevity.
3. Bitching and Complaining
There is nothing more toxic in a relationship than complaining about your partner to everybody else in your life except to your significant other. Sure, we all imagine we can change our partners into our ideal mate but this is not an attainable goal. There is nothing more soothing or cathartic than unleashing your frustrations about your partner to anyone who will listen without bothering to let your partner know. This will undoubtedly cause friction between your friends who hear you complain about your significant other constantly and your partner who continues the same behavior blind to how much it bothers you. How is your partner supposed to make changes in his behavior when you do not give them the respect to communicate with them before complaining to your friends about "how (s)he will never change". The more you complain and bitch about your partner the harder it is to see their good qualities and much harder to remember why you are building a life with them.
4. Constantly Wondering if Your Relationship Will Last
There is nothing wrong with wondering if your partner is the love of your life and someone whom you'll end up spending the rest of your life with but constantly reevaluating if your relationship can withstand the test of time is unhealthy. Sitting around trying to figure out if you will be with your partner for the next week or month or year is only doing yourself a disservice by keeping you from enjoying the time you have with your partner; some relationships are not meant to be forever but that does not mean we should enjoy them any less. Furthermore by constantly second-guessing the longevity of the relationship you may actually dissuade your partner from fully committing to a relationship you do not seem secure in. Do not spend your life preparing yourself for loss when there is no guarantee your relationship is going to end.
5. Giving Up On Your Relationship
Every relationship has its problems whether it be a breakdown in communication between you and your significant other or day to day frustrations we do not fully resolve but you should not let these feelings allow you to give up on your relationship. The couples who keep open communication and continue to work through their problems rather than sweeping the little things under the rug causing feelings of resentment later on. There is nothing worse than reaching a point in your relationship where you can no longer remember why you're with your significant other and allow the intimacy, communication and romance to die. If you honestly feel there is no hope for your relationship and there is no point in continuing on with your partner then that is a different conversation but we need to learn to separate the unimportant manageable issues before the become insurmountable.
6. Expecting Your Partner to Read Your Mind
When you're having an argument with your significant other there is always a moment when you want to say, "If you don't know I'm not going to tell you" because you just cannot believe they don't know what you're really upset about. We have a tendency to believe our partner should know exactly what we are thinking at all times and are offended when they do or say things which we see as insulting. There is something dangerous about this mindset especially when it relates to our relationships because we become trapped in a constant circle of disappointment; our partner doesn't know what we are thinking so we assume they do not know us. There are several women's magazines which warn of the dangers of relationships with men/women who are insensitive to your feelings while alluding to the fact our partners should know everything about us but this simply untrue. There are going to be secrets in any relationship — it's only natural to have some secrets because how boring would it be if we knew everything about our partner. You must trust your partner knows enough about you and has the willingness to continue learning throughout your time together.
The most important thing you can have in a relationship is communication and no fashion magazine, new reporter or lifestyle blogger should be telling you any different. There is nothing more important than a healthy and steady dialogue with your significant other because once that line of communication dies you've lost the tools to fix any further issues. I would suggest stepping outside yourself once a day and putting yourself in your partners shoes and ask yourself if you are pulling your weight in keeping the relationship strong — we all get lazy and tired and busy but at the end of the day nobody wants to lose their significant other over something that started as trivial.
Instead of using the tired questions ranging from "how was your day?" to "how's your Mom?" why not ask your partner questions which can spawn a good healthy conversation? Ask them directed questions about aspects of their day, check in with them throughout and expect the same back to them. We live in a world where we thrive on immediate satisfaction and 140 character thoughts and feelings but this does not lend itself to building a good communication foundation.
Take some time away from social media and focus on time with your partner so you can make sure to keep those communication lines open and not fall into any of these common relationship mistakes.
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