- Gender and Relationships
Why Relationships Fail - Mistakes Men and Women Make On The Road To Happiness. Pt. 1
Most of us have been there - you find someone, fall head over heels and continue into a relationship. “Everything is so wonderful” up until “I don’t know what happened” comes along. Sometimes it’s a gradual climb to separation. Sometimes it’s a sudden ‘what??’ It’s usually only sudden for one person. Sometimes, even, you’re the one who called it off while wishing things had gone differently. Relationships are hard . They’re work. They’re not a walk in the park, by any means. The walk in the park comes from knowing what you can survive together.
There are so many mistakes that can damage a relationship. Over time things can add up, and without proper attention they can either create an unhappy environment, or send you both packing back into singledom. The crappy thing is, these often don’t become apparent until some time into the relationship when the ‘rose colored glasses’ wear off. By this point it is harder to leave the relationship, the security and the connection you’ve made. All of this can be avoided though. All it takes is for men and women to pay attention. Pay attention to your actions, to your partner, to the big picture, to the little things, and to how your relationship is going as a whole before you have nothing left to pay attention to, or way too much screaming for resolution.
I’ll clarify now that there are exceptions to everything here. There are extreme circumstances, and every one is different. That being said, the following are generally, why relationships fail.
I felt the urge to write this because of all the outrageous, ignorant, erroneous relationship advice I keep seeing and hearing. I’m actually outraged. Maybe that will be another hub. I began with a few points, but as I went along I kept thinking of more and more things I’ve seen ushering relationships south. My brain just kind of spilled all over the page, and it spiraled into this huge document overflowing with everything ‘relationship’ I could think of, and I had to split it into part 1,2 and 3. So grab a comfy spot and a drink, this is a long one. These are all the mistakes I could think of that both men and women are guilty of making that can contribute to losing your smile.
(For the record: SO = Significant Other)
Being dishonest about who you are
Not being open about who you are from the beginning is getting yourself off to a less-than-awesome start. Everything – your past mistakes, your past escapades, all of your traits and qualities – is going to come out in the long run. The long run is when you’ll have more to lose though. I’m not saying you need to go on a rant about your daily hygiene habits, but just be real with your SO. Be who you are and not a glance in another direction. It will suck terribly 2 years in when your SO isn't happy anymore because you’ve stopped pretending, and are now not the person they fell in love with. It's heard all the time: 'They're just not the same person I fell in love with' Of course this can happen with life, as everyone changes over the course. You don't need to add not being yourself to the mix.
Closing yourself off
Ok, this is mostly attributed to men, but women do it too; everybody has emotions – so don’t act like you’re the exception. Your SO knows you have emotions. You don’t have to sit out under a tree and cry about the kid who stole your lunch money in grade-school and how it has affected you as a person, but being emotionally unavailable just makes it seem like you don’t want to share your emotions with them . Not, not at all. Sharing how you feel with your SO will make you more connected and bring you all around, closer together. Once again, I’m not saying that you should be waking your partner up at 3 am to share something inconsequential, or constantly bring things up to get emotional over that don’t have any real bearing on anything. When something real happens though, don't be afraid to share it.
Eventually you realize that going through life alone inside your head sucks, and that it’s actually nice and refreshing to get things out sometimes. Talk to your SO other about those things; because it feels nice to know that someone else is in this with you.
Neglecting your life as an individual
Your partner fell in love with your personality as an individual. If you take that away from the relationship, you’re asking for problems. Staying true to who you are is essential, and ensures that you remain interesting to your SO. Maintaining your friendships, as well as your hobbies and interests is important, even if they're not into them as well. I’ve actually had guys tell me that they find it attractive when their girlfriends maintain their hobbies even though they’re not into it with them. It displays strength, confidence, independence, security and that individuality they fell in love with. I’m sure this thinking isn’t only among men.
Your SO should not be the most important thing in your life. You are the only person who is going to take care of you, look out for your best interests at all times and make the decisions that will make you happy. Remember that you are the cake. Your SO is the icing.
Here is a conversation (seriously) that happened between me and someone I had been dating for 3 weeks.
Me “so what are your plans in life?”
Him “well, I was thinking about going to video game design school, but I’m not sure”
Me “why not? That sounds pretty cool”
Him “well, it’s like, an 18 hour drive from here”
Me “Are you afraid of moving?”
Him “No… just, you know… you’re here.”
Me “... we’ve only been dating for three weeks… you shouldn’t let things like that stand in the way of your dreams, especially when they can be worked around”
Don’t stop doing what has made you happy (eg: going out with friends, partaking in hobbies, having weekly lunch get togethers, pampering yourself, watching movies or a favorite tv show, whatever it is) when you get into a relationship. Maybe you don’t want to do anything your SO doesn’t want to partake in with you. Perhaps you’re worried about what your SO will think of you if you watch So You Think You Can Dance or Twilight . You don’t have to like something just because they do, and vice versa. Or maybe you can’t stand to be without them and therefore don't act on things they wouldn't act on with you. There lies the problem though. Independence, security and individualism is sexy. It’s hot! Men and women both love it. It’s a crystal clear and comforting sign that they’re not going to end up being responsible for your happiness. When you stop making yourself happy, you begin relying on the relationship to make you happy, which only creates strain. It’s hard enough to make ones self happy in life with all that can happen, without the weight of knowing someone relies solely on you and the relationship for their happiness. That’s what children are for; not significant others.
Don’t put yourself in a position to be taken advantage of. Stand up for yourself and get the respect you deserve and don’t be a doormat. You shouldn’t always be looking to your SO for their permission or their consent. They’re not your parent. Remain your own person, don't let your backbone get tossed out with your singledom, and don’t put choices that will affect you onto someone else’s shoulders. They have their own choices to make.
Being dependant and clingy
Everyone’s heard it. We all know it. Why do so many of us not pay close enough attention to it? This is a foolproof way to make your SO feel trapped. If that’s what you’re going for, by all means, cling away! But generally it's better not to make your SO feel like the center of your world, and to not give them complete control of your relationship. This is another turn off, and gets old, fast.
Maybe you’ve found a rare breed of awesome and you’re afraid to lose them. Holding on tighter is only going to make your SO want more space. Have you ever heard that cliché saying, ‘distance creates closeness’? It’s cliché for a reason. Let them have time to miss you instead of making them run away from you. There are more ways to smother someone than with a pillow. Back off.
Don’t always be around and unconditionally available. If you center your world around your SO it makes you extremely easy to please, makes you extremely easy to be taken advantage of and you become very boring and no longer a challenge. It is very unappealing to know that someone is always sitting there, waiting for you, needing you. Your SO most likely didn’t get with you to take care of you. They’re not looking for parental-training. They want a partner.
Calling your SO a figurative 20 times a day, getting upset when your SO wants to go out with his/her friends, getting anxious about them having platonic friends of your gender when you have no reason to, and fishing for acknowledgment and acceptance are all things you should watch out for. Acting jealous, insecure, needy and fearful are good ways to turn someone off. If you have ever been accused of doing something appalling that has never even crossed your mind, you’ll understand.
Being too insecure
This one is a little different. There are so many different reasons why someone could be insecure, and so many different ways. It could be anything; past relationship experiences, your parents’ relationship, seeing the experiences of friends, or heck, even just reading the latest “guy confessions” in Cosmo. Way to put positive thoughts into the minds of your readers.
On the topic of having low self-esteem or confidence when it comes to your SO, try to remember that he or she is with you voluntarily because of who you are. So few people remember this. Often times, being too insecure triggers people to constantly be on guard for problems. This includes, and is not limited to, constantly keeping an eye out to see if your SO checked out another person, no matter how involuntary or discreetly; demanding to know who they were on the phone with and who they’re emailing; needing reassurance whenever your SO speaks to a member of your gender; having your friends stalk your SO when he/she goes out and report back to you; going through email, phone messages and logs, computer history and the entire /C: drive looking for anything to prove that your SO is up to no good; demanding constant reassurance; making your SO feel guilty for the things you’ve done for them in the relationship; becoming a dictator; and taking everything your SO says as if it’s a subliminal message to you meaning you have something to work on.
Here’s where the ‘different’ I was talking about comes in. If your SO has given you a reason to be insecure ie: flirting with other people in front of you, tell them why you’re insecure. Tell them how that makes you feel, and let them know that your insecurity on this particular subject stems from their disrespectful actions. Likewise the same goes in reverse. Don’t flirt with member of your SO’s sex in front of them. It’s disrespectful and opens a Pandora’s box that you may never get closed.
Of course we all know there are members of both genders out there who will deviously try to hit on your SO, for a numerous amount of reasons. It happens, and there is nothing you can do about it. This is where trust comes in, and a few relevant points:
-If you think your SO would do that to you, why are you with them?
-If your SO is going to do something to hurt you, they're going to do it no matter what. Your watchful eye isn’t going to prevent it. Only prolong it.
-If your SO does do something to hurt you like this, although you will be hurt be glad that this happened now and not 30 years down the road in the midst of marriage and children. You don’t want to ruin your life with someone like that anyway.