- Gender and Relationships
Why Relationships Fail - Mistakes Men and Women Make On The Road To Happiness. Pt. 2
Are things not so sweet in paradise? Perhaps things just aren't as amazing as they once were, or as you had hoped they would be. Maybe you're wondering why a past relationship went south. Whatever the case may be it hurts when it happens. It can hijack your thoughts until you can come to a conclusion as to why it all went down. I've compiled three hubs worth of great information about the mistakes that are frequently made, and the aspects that are frequently over-looked that lead to the breakdown of relationships.
This is such a complicated issue. There are so many factors to consider here.
Maybe not so much for men, but for most women, a biological clock starts going ‘tick…tick….tick…tick. .tick..tick..tick. tick.tickticktick’ around the mid to late 20s. It's hard to ignore, and makes you want to create a little padowan, that you can bestow your years of experience and wisdom onto. This may be why more often than not it's women (although men do it too) who are pushing the ‘Marriage This Way →’ sign directly into their partners’ paths. Sometimes the response will be, ‘Yea! You know, I think that's a great idea’. More commonly though, when the issue is being pushed the response is, ‘I’m not ready’ which can call into question your love. Most likely though, that’s not it at all. There are several reasons why someone may say nay to the marriage path.
It is expected to want to know where your relationship is going – provided you’ve been together more than a few weeks... – and it's perfectly acceptable to request a conversation about the subject. If you are trying to force someone to commit to you however, you’re either going to push your SO away, or force commitment through fear of losing you. This will only slowly foster resentment, which is no good at all. No one should ever, ever marry for any reason other than they want to. Bringing up future possibilities is one completely acceptable thing; but demanding things, giving unrealistic ultimatums, and making snide comments when other people are around (re: ‘yea. If he ever proposes…I’m probably just waiting around for nothing.”) is entirely another. Just prepare yourself for whatever may come, and talk to your SO about how you're feeling, and why you're feeling that way. There are a few ways this can pan out.
- They don't want to ever marry
- They don't want to marry until they're sure they are the best they can be
- Or they don't want to marry you.
You deserve happiness, and so does your SO. So find out which it is and continue accordingly.
How do you feel about marriage?
Also ask yourself why you're forcing this. It's quite possible that you are feeling insecure and just need some reassurance. Is it your family?
Just give what you’re doing here some thought before you decide pushing the issue is worth it. Picture your SO, who is living, managing their plate of life, happy to be where they are, and taking steps as they’re ready. Now picture them abruptly removed from that comfort zone and put under a spotlight. A spotlight under which they have to make a decision that will literally set the course for the rest of the only life they have, and they’re not ready to. Knowing, that if they don’t do it, they might lose you, who they may want to marry, but later. What a terrible position to be in!
If your SO tells you they’re not ready, don’t assume it means they don’t love you. Assume it means what they said, that they’re not ready for marriage. The point is, if it is that important to you to get married, and your SO just isn’t there yet, consider finding someone who is on the same page as you. This is the alternative to being with your SO day in and day out, wishing for something to happen and not being completely happy; neither of you being able to be completely comfortable in your relationship. While you’re worried you’re wasting your years waiting for a non-existent train, your SO is feeling bad because you’re feeling this way. It's just a whole, sad situation. Bottom line: if you are ok with waiting a little longer, just make sure your SO knows your feelings on the matter and where you stand. If you can't wait for your SO to make up their mind, I think you know the way to go.
If you're waiting for your SO, and still trying to 'usher' them toward a decision, focus on yourself as a person. Be the person he or she fell in love with. Show your SO why he or she wants to spend the rest of their life with you.
Pushing the 'L' word
Your SO’s level of commitment to your relationship is not necessarily defined by whether or not he/she has said they love you. There are many reasons why someone may not be ready to say “love”. Perhaps it’s a far more serious word to them than it is even to you, and they’re not ready to just throw it out there. To some people, saying they love their SO is a huge, heavy deal, and to some people it has lost all meaning and respect to them.
If you’re looking for the word to describe actions that are being shown to you, try focusing on appreciating the actions for what they are. They speak louder than the ‘L’ word. People throw the ‘L’ word around like beads at Mardi Gras. People don’t throw around their time and effort to be committed to someone, if they don’t mean it. The action, you can trust more than the word.
Lying is a great way to find yourself in a world of heartache, and headache. Sometimes it's easier. Sometimes it's more convenient. All the time, it's a bad mistake than men and women make all the time. Lies will surface eventually, so it’s best if you just muster up some confidence and tell the truth. Forget your ego and your self-esteem. If you do lie and your SO finds out, you have now changed the way your SO sees you and thinks of you. This may not sound like a drastic change, but the implications are never ending. By lying you're giving your SO the message that you don't respect them enough to tell them the truth, and that you see them as blind, gullible and naive enough to not be able to figure out what you’ve so expertly covered up. Just keep this in mind:
It’s hard to convince yourself to stay with someone who makes you feel like you’re a fool for trusting them.
So maybe you’ve lied. It’s out now, and your SO knows. Let's say you've worked through it and all is well. Things seem like a sunny walk of relief. Now you’re 30..45 minutes late coming home from work, or out with your friends having innocent fun, or better yet their gut is telling them something is up. No amount of reason you provide will ever make up for the knowledge that you have it in you to lie. Sometimes we're talking bold faced, ‘honestly sweetie’ lying. You're going to have to accept that it will be a long time before your SO trusts you as much as they did before you lied. Human laws of self-preservation kick in and it’s total non-trusting action, from then, until they stop feeling like they have to protect themselves from you. Lying is up there with cheating in this respect. It affects every aspect of your relationship for a long time. When you can’t trust someone you can’t ever completely relax and be happy. So in your SO’s mind, front or back, is always going to be the fear that you’re lying to them about something and that they’re being naïve in trusting you again. This is not the way anyone wants to feel in a relationship. We don’t get into relationships so we can be made to feel like fools.
Does emotional cheating lead to the real deal?
Good grief, this needs no explanation. It's bad, we all know it, and we all know why.
Nagging and being controlling
When you are constantly beginning your sentences with “Didn’t I tell you..” , “How come you always”, “Why can’t you just…” your SO is bound to tune out. If they are constantly being criticized for everything they do, they will begin to see you as never being satisfied with anything, annoying, and eventually they may not even want to be in your company anymore.
Here's how you can curb this disrupting mistake. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Learn to pick your battles! Example: As cliché as the whole toilet seat thing is, try focusing on more important things in life. Really, when it comes right down to it, putting it up and/or down takes very little effort, and is not worth the animosity. Fighting over this is what is known as a ‘nothing-fight’. Remember when you were a kid just going about your kid-ly business and suddenly you were being harped on for doing something wrong, for not doing something right, or for not knowing that you should have done something? It's not a good feeling to relive those delightful childhood moments with one's SO.
By constantly nagging them, you make your SO feel like you view them as inadequate, incompetent, and inconsiderate. Here's some food for thought: Let's say your SO makes you feel like you can’t do anything right, like you're incompetent and small. Let's also say you're friends with someone who makes you feel good about yourself, like your SO used to. Who would you want to be around? If you’re doing this, don't wonder why your SO spends all his/her time somewhere else. To them, it’s nicer than spending time with you.
Have you ever heard the expression don't ask questions to which you don’t want to know the answers? It should be a motto. In fact, it should be included in the wedding vows. If you want to ask a question and think you may not like the answer, think first: if I don’t like the answer, how is this going to make me feel? How will this affect me? Will I have regretted asking it?.
It’s famous, and although both genders do it, women are notoriously pegged for it (thanks, bad apples…), asking questions that you know will upset you. Questions like, do you find him/her attractive and what are you thinking. Firstly, we – are – all - human! Just because you're with your SO doesn't mean their primal instincts have flown the coop. Men and women will always notice people who match what they're attracted to. This is with reason, of course, unless your SO is ogling them, or asking to you hold on a sec while they go grab their phone number, curb the insecurity and stop beating up on them for being human. Secondly, the mind idles. Sometimes you can sit and stare off into space and have tons of things going through your mind, but none of them prominent enough for you to pick out and say, ‘I’m thinking about this’. If your SO responds with ‘nothing’, don't accuse them of lying or hiding something. Be realistic here. If they answered with something like ‘oh, just how awesome you are’ or ‘just that I love you sooo much’, most people would think they’re lying anyway! So why ask? If you're truly just wondering what they’re pondering about so intently, ask away – just don’t be put out if they say ‘nothing’. You asked.
Don’t ask ‘did you get with me because of my [looks] ?’ *sigh. Ok. Again with the whole 'being human' thing... mates are chosen primarily based on appearance. (Unless you’re using an online dating website and have never seen a photo of the person ) Generally speaking, whether or not you approach a potential mate is based on whether or not they're physically attractive to you. Yes, the fact that the potential mate is laughing and having a good time plays into it too, but as human beings it is instinctive to approach potential mates that you are attracted to. It just makes sense on a primitive level. From there, whether or not they like you is based on more than just your looks, which is what really matters. Don’t confuse the two, because confusing them causes a lot of bad feelings. Don’t get upset and start playing 'You're so vain' whenever they're around, and assuming they have a one-track-mind just because they admit to being human.
Remember: your appearance may be the reason why you were approached, but your personality is the reason why they’re with you.
‘If you could sleep with one of my friends, who would you pick ?’ Advice: don’t ask this! It is actually unfair and unkind to your SO to ask this. Unless you’re asking because you’re considering adding their chosen third to your shenanigans, don't ask . This question is 100% pure catastrophic drama. The only thing going through your SO's mind at this point will be Admiral Ackbar screaming “It’s a trap! ”
How many people have you ‘been with’. I’ll admit to having asked this to my SO. Honestly, it didn’t bother me because it wasn’t that different from mine. Don't enter this territory unless you are, within yourself, positive that you’re prepared to accept the worst. You cannot ask your SO something like this, and then take the knowledge that your SO has graciously and bravely bequeathed upon you and turn it against them. Again, you asked.It’s their past and they owe apologies to no-one.
And for part 2 of crazy-talk, ‘who were they?’. Why on earth would you want to know this volatile information? If you know the person, you’ll never be the same around them again, and may even, without even thinking, punish your SO for associating with them even though it’s purely innocent. By all means ask this question if you would like to be abounding with doubt and insecurity as you systematically compare yourself to each of them in every way. Don't ask this question. No matter how nosey you are, or how badly you want the details, know that everyone is entitled to their privacy; everyone is entitled to not have to relive every detail of their past with someone for, literally, no good reason. This question will just put your SO on the spot and fill the room with uncomfortable.
Expecting miraculous clairvoyance
This mistake is made by men and women alike, more than I think I can imagine. Unless you have stated something to your SO that they should – really, honestly should – know, don’t expect them to know what you haven’t told them. If they’re not as tuned into you as you want them to be, or they’re not ‘getting things’ the way you want your SO to, then perhaps they’re not the SO for you. Don’t blow up at them randomly (in their eyes) because they didn’t do/say/buy something they were ‘supposed’ to, when really it was you who didn't bother to ask for it. If your SO isn’t doing the romantic things, saying the words, making the daily gestures that you’re looking for and need, just open your mouth. Again, talk to your SO. Let them know what you need! Chances are they love you and want to make you happy. If they still aren't getting 'it', this would be the point where you decide how important it is to you that they do x, y or z, and go from there. Ultimately, if they’re not living up to your standards don’t take it out on them. Make yourself happy and find someone who does.