Whether you are in a new relationship or have been with the same person for a long time, there is always more to learn when it comes to avoiding common pitfalls.
Perhaps you’ve noticed that you and your partner argue about the same things over and over again. Or, maybe you have trouble making relationships last longer than a few weeks or months.
You may want to consider whether you are committing a few common relationship mistakes. These kinds of blunders can easily interrupt your ability to experience full intimacy and happiness.
Here are a handful of common relationship mistakes to look out for.
1. Looking for Mr. or Ms. Perfect
While this may be hard for some to admit, none of us is perfect. Why, then, do we sometimes expect our partners to be?
Everyone makes mistakes. No one is able to read minds and know what it is you want if you don’t tell them.
Many of us sabotage our relationships by holding our partners to unrealistic standards. Allow room for flaws and mistakes—they will happen.
2. Sweeping Problems Under the Rug
Confrontation can sometimes result in arguments, but it doesn’t have to. If something is bothering you, it’s best to come clean and talk it out, rather than ignore it and hope it goes away.
At worst, you could bottle everything up to the point that things become unbearable, and your partner has no idea what went wrong. Communication is a healthy ingredient for any successful relationship.
3. Trying to Change Your Partner
Occasionally opposites attract. But sometimes we may get into relationships with hopes of changing the other person—their religion, their politics, their appearance, etc.
This is a guaranteed recipe for disaster. If there is a particular aspect of your partner’s identity or character that you don’t like, it’s likely that he or she just isn’t for you after all.
Amicably breaking up over personality differences is better than trying to mold them into someone they simply aren’t.
4. Being Co-Dependent
Spending too much time with your partner can rob you of much-needed individual time (even extroverts need this). Of course, healthy relationships require activities you and your partner can do together. Yet, you and your partner should also have activities that you both enjoy on your own.
Contrary to the popular way of referring to your partner as your “other half,” you are not two halves of one person. You are a whole person with your own identity, and so is your partner.
5. Not Taking Differences Seriously Enough
Sometimes it’s not enough to share the same interest in music, movies, and hobbies. If one of you is vegan and the other is not or if one of you is religious and the other is not, this can reveal a major incompatibility in world views.
While that in and of itself is not a bad thing, it can make it more difficult to make big decisions later in the relationship. This is especially problematic if you want to have children.
Consider what your core values are, and what counts as a “deal breaker.” Choose partners that share most of your core values.
6. Letting Boundaries Slip
Some things are better left private. This means not sharing your relationship problems on social media, posting information about your partner without their permission, or publicly making fun of them.
Not only is this inconsiderate of your partner’s feelings, but it also invites a public audience to something that should only happen between the two of you. This can have the unintended consequence of blowing problems out of proportion.
If you and your partner are struggling, talk about who you want to let in to help you. But don’t go behind his or her back with gossip.
Take the first step…
If you’re concerned about your relationship history and want to learn more about creating healthier relationships, I would like to help.
Please contact me via phone or email so we can discuss how we might work together to achieve your therapeutic goals as quickly and effectively as possible.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Linda K. Laffey, MFT