We all deserve a relationship that makes us happy, long-term.
Oftentimes, our choice of partner affects the course of our relationship the most. Other times, we make mistakes that condemn the relationship.
Chances are, we’ve all messed up a little in our past or current relationships. Every day, somewhere in the world, millions of partners are either making a mistake or enduring the impact of one.
It’s natural—nobody handed us a relationship manual the first time we fell in love. We’ve made mistakes and even lost people for them. What really matters, though, is having the ability and awareness to recognize our mistakes and learn from them.
Slip-ups in relationships are going to happen, and they’ll be countless. They can be silly or enormous, acceptable or threatening. There are a few, however, that can be critical to the relationship if we repeatedly make (or face) them. Recognizing their intensity is the first step toward positive change.
1. Taking our partner for granted.
It’s common to become complacent and stop making an effort after months or years in a relationship. When we get too comfortable with our partner, it becomes challenging to check whether their needs are being met as well. Most of us don’t think it’s necessary to keep winning over our partner anymore. In the back of our minds, there’s no need to go the extra mile because they’re always there—we don’t expect them to leave.
Taking our partner for granted is hazardous. In some cases, it can lead one of the partners to stray. They end up looking elsewhere for the attention, love, or respect they have lost inside their own relationships. Love has to be constantly nurtured. Remember the things you did at the beginning of your relationship and try to maintain them. Go out for dinner once a week or buy each other small gifts. Cuddle or compliment each other. Do what you always did best.
2. Expecting a problem-free relationship.
When we meet someone new, things usually start out nice and smooth. No disagreements, no fights, no issues. We start off with calm sailing because of our good, lovey-dovey emotions, but after a few months, our feelings settle down and we start to act out of mind, logic, and memory. Some people refuse to accept that the euphoric phase is over. And it’s not that what’s coming is worse—it actually feels better—it’s just another phase where real work on the relationship begins.
One of the biggest mistakes we make is thinking that relationships flourish on their own. The truth is, they don’t. There will be problems, fights, and many ups and downs. Know that it’s completely normal as long as there’s no toxicity or abuse. Problems and disagreements teach each partner about themselves and each other. Appreciate the experiences that bring you farther from each other temporarily, because they will be what brings you closer later.
3. Brushing issues under the rug.
Not everyone is a good communicator. Some of us even freak out or dislike it when we know a tough conversation is looming. As a result, when our partner confronts us with their concerns or worries, we tend to brush the issue under the rug—which eventually creates more problems.
But problems don’t disappear when we refuse to deal with them. Facing them and talking them out is the only solution. If you’re a bad communicator, have your partner help you to build a safe platform for you to converse. Let them know your own fears of communication so you can overcome them together.
4. Not doing the necessary inner work.
We all carry issues and wounds from our childhood. Everyone has suffered a particular trauma which they still carry around from one relationship to the next. Many of us prefer not to think about these issues, so we refuse to face them or deny their existence. As a result, fights escalate within the relationship and we end up blaming our partner or quitting the relationship.
Know that relationships are a great platform for revealing the patterns that we have acquired from our families. The partners we choose tend to show us (sometimes indirectly) the inner work that must be done. Through them, we see the flaws and the weaknesses that need mending. Next time you’re faced with your darker side, be willing to work on it in order to improve your relationship.
5. Assuming we know what our partner wants.
Another mistake we make is making false assumptions. We assume we know what our partner feels, thinks, or needs, and thus, avoid having a conversation with them. Since we know what they want, we think there’s no need to ask them. Furthermore, we become less grounded in the reality of our relationship and overlook important details.
Making assumptions draws partners further away from each other. We should never assume what they’re feeling or thinking. Instead, initiate conversations to make them feel you’re interested in their well-being. Always remember to create a safe space for them to be the best version of themselves.