Despite what we’ve been lead since childhood to believe, relationships take consistent effort, and love doesn’t necessarily conquer all. When two people share their lives together, there are bound to be conflicts. After all, nobody is perfect, and no two people are the same. Because of this, there are a handful of relationship mistakes that are shockingly common, but that can also doom the relationship. Here are five relationship mistakes we all make and how to avoid them.
1. Mind Reader
On some level, we all seem to think that when someone loves us, they develop the ability to read our minds. If this were true, it would remove the responsibility of speaking up about our wants, needs and feelings. Unfortunately, this lack of communication and openness hinders relationship growth and can breed resentment and anger. No matter how hard it feels to ask for what you want, just remember that it’s worse not to. Sharing your wants and needs with your partner is an essential part of learning to communicate and overcome problems better.
2. Pushing For Change
When you first get together with your partner, everything seems perfect. However, after a while, you start to notice behaviors or traits that bother you, even if they’re relatively minor. At this point, we often ask our partners to alter their actions. Many cultural influences in our lives have trained us to think that if a person loves you, they’ll change for you. In truth, these expectations only devolve into resentment and uncertainty. Do you love the person for who they are, or the ideal you want to mold them into? It’s important to remember and accept that every person is unique, with their own personality, thoughts and feelings. Although we may not always like certain aspects, trying to exert control over our loved ones only hurts them. Many of those little things that irritate you are inseparable parts of the person you fell in love with.
3. Demanding Personal Fulfillment
It’s easy to think that, in a romantic relationship, it’s each person is responsible for the other’s happiness. Nobody can ever fulfill all of your needs, and it’s unfair and unrealistic to expect it of anyone. The goal of a healthy relationship is to love, support, give to and grow with each other. However, to be successful in this, you must first love yourself, which means taking responsibility for your own happiness. If we’re not satisfied with ourselves, we can’t be satisfied with others.
4. Assuming Men Won’t Communicate
Stereotypes about the sexes are widely believed and accepted, but they may be one of the biggest contributors to relationship problems. Not only are they often the cause of problems but they can also perpetuate themselves in a way that makes them appear true. Although men are generally less open with their feelings than women, they can and will communicate, and they often want to. Unfortunately, prevailing stereotypes tell men that talking is un-manly and weak. Fearing judgment from the only person whose opinion truly matters to them, they keep it to themselves until they feel secure enough to open up. Many times, all a man needs is for you to lend a sympathetic and non-judgmental ear.
Nagging is done by both genders, and inevitably happens at some point in every relationship. Much like trying to change someone, it almost never ends favorably for either person. Nagging at someone doesn’t just start arguments and cause bitter feelings. According to research, nagging can significantly reduce the life expectancy of the person being nagged. When you feel compelled to, say, reprimand your partner for eating a food you find unhealthy, stop yourself. How would you feel if the situation were reversed? It’s essential to understand that they’re an intelligent adult who can make their own decisions, just like you.