Top 3 Mistakes Women Make in Relationships
by Kathy Batesel
Making Less of Yourself Won't Make Him Something More
Women everywhere sabotage their relationships by falling into three common relationship traps. This may be partly due to the way women are socialized to nurture other people and partly due to the oft-repeated idea that relationships take work. Despite their best intentions, women’s efforts to maintain their relationship status often backfire. By avoiding these three common mistakes, women will find a great relationship far sooner than torturing themselves with the wrong one.
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Mistake #1: Giving up her own values, priorities, and beliefs.
It happens insidiously, so slowly she’s not aware she doing it. Nonetheless, somewhere between the first date and the “I do,” she shifted her interests. She stopped spending time with her friends regularly on the weekends because that’s when he was available, even though her friendships have always been important to her. Instead of enjoying weekly manicures, she cooked tasty dinners for him. Because he didn’t like sushi, she hasn’t been to her favorite restaurant in months.
These small decisions add up to self-betrayal. In the past, she valued her friendships and made it a priority to demonstrate her affection to her friends by spending time with them. Her belief that she needed to look her best came into conflict with a belief that she would be valued for doing nice things for him, so she gave up the belief that looked out for herself first.
Before she knows it, the single girl she was is a different person – and the new girl looks very different from the happy girl he met and loves. As she changed, so did his responsiveness – and no wonder! While he appreciates the sweet things she does for him, he hates the way she feels hurt if he doesn’t give her the kind of response she wants; and to be honest, he’s pretty clueless about what to do.
Men aren’t raised to sacrifice their ideals for others. He doesn’t get it when she does this. Heck, it’s such an alien concept that he can’t understand or even perceive such a thing. When she talks about all she has done for him and tells him about her needs, he looks at her as if she’s speaking gibberish because quite frankly, she is.
If she appreciates herself, he's likely to be more appreciative, too. She can give herself permission to indulge her whims from time to time. If she buys flowers to freshen up the room, the visual reminder serves to keep him aware that she is his equal and doesn't have to make sacrifices for him, but sometimes does as an act of kindness.
By taking back her sense of self, she can reclaim her inner peace and find that joy that’s been eluding her lately. She doesn’t need him to agree on sushi, because sushi tastes just as good alone or with a gal pal. What she does need is to celebrate the person she is – whoever that may be.
Mistake #2: Choosing a man who doesn’t choose her.
She wants him to crave and cherish her. In fact, she wants this so desperately that she strives to be the kind of woman he claims to want, but somehow it doesn’t work.
While watching television, he drools over actresses with long hair. She doesn’t realize that her recent decision to grow her own locks is a subconscious attempt to be something he wants. When he jokes with his buddies about women who are wild in bed, she may not recognize it when a week later, she has a sudden urge to strip naked and dance for him in front of the television. She doesn’t realize that for him, breakup sex is just sex – not a path to enlightenment.
Mixed messages bombard this woman. He says he wants her, but doesn’t act like it. He says he loves her, and then treats her unkindly. He once went out of his way to please her, but no longer seems to meaningfully invest in the relationship.
This can happen when a man senses that his woman isn’t the right one for him, but even when he believes she is, he may stop making her a priority. “I’ve got you now, so why should I keep trying?” He thinks that since he has reached his goal, it’s time to turn his attention elsewhere. When this happens, he has stopped choosing her.
When a woman adapts to his tastes in order to keep his attention, he will enjoy her efforts, but it still won’t make him choose her. He has already made his choice – a choice that relegated her to the margins of his life while he looks for his “real deal.”
This isn’t to say he’s a bad guy. If he has never experienced devotion, he may not understand how his behavior differs from a committed man devoted to his partner.
The solution to this problem is simple, but not easy. This kind of relationship has an expiration date. Ending it now will free her up so she’s available to the kind of gentleman that will cherish and adore her.
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Mistake #3: Believing that relationships take hard work.
This common misperception is true – of bad relationships. Although good relationships require effort, those efforts don’t feel like tedious chores or painful exercises. They feel like opportunities.
Women who regularly make sacrifices for their partner or have a frequent need to discuss the relationship’s shortcomings could benefit from recognizing that all that hard work is a red flag. It’s not a sign of commitment or an indicator that her partner is emotionally stunted.
If she insists on believing this myth, she would benefit from focusing all that work on herself – not in an effort to be someone she isn’t, but to celebrate the person she is. By setting goals for herself and achieving new milestones her life, she will be the kind of successful, happily fulfilled woman that characterize every man’s vision of an ideal mate.
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