Though we all want a lasting, rewarding relationship with a partner we cherish, actually having one can feel elusive or even impossible altogether. Subconscious beliefs and false assumptions we’ve formed over the years about love and relationships often prevent us from having that very connection we crave so much.
Our parents, previous experiences, and society all shape our beliefs, which then express themselves through our actions and the mistakes we make with our partners. The good news is, once we’re able to recognize the beliefs and actions that hold us back, with practice and effort we can change them. Here are five extremely common relationship mistakes we make:1. Expecting our partner to read our mind
We often believe that if our partner really loved us, he would know exactly what we want and need without us having to tell him. He should be able to sense when we feel down, or “just know” when something is bothering us. However, studies show that men are much less adept at picking up on non-verbal cues than women. Therefore, without telling our significant other exactly what’s on our mind, he may very well have no idea anything is wrong. So when we’re upset about something, rather than giving him the silent treatment or blaming him for not being telepathic, we should just tell him how we feel.
2. Not asking for what we want and need
Women often learn that asking for what we want is “selfish” or “bitchy.” Perhaps our mother always put our father’s needs first, so we repeat that behavior by overemphasizing our partner’s satisfaction and disregarding our own. Or maybe we hold our feelings in and bottle them up inside, and when our needs aren’t met, anger and frustration build up and cause passive-aggressive behavior.
We deserve to be happy and satisfied, both inside and outside the bedroom. Luckily, with consistent practice, we can learn how to express ourselves and state our needs clearly and effectively.
3. Thinking our partner can complete us or make us happy
Women often hold the subconscious belief that having a boyfriend or husband will solve all our problems. After we are in a relationship for a while, and this inevitably isn’t the case, we can feel disillusioned and blame our partner’s shortcomings rather than our misguided notions. But relying on an external factor like our significant other to make us happy puts the responsibility on an entity outside ourselves. We are the only ones who can make ourselves happy. Creating the life we want is our job, not theirs.
4. Not accepting our partner for who he is
We often think that if our partner “really loved us,” he would change that one behavior or habit that drives us nuts. But the adage that we can’t expect people to change has withstood the test of time for a reason. That particular behavior may serve a purpose for him or be so deeply ingrained that changing it would be extremely difficult.
Even if he does change to please us, he will likely resent us for it, and question whether we love him for who he really is or just for who we want him to be. Accepting our partner, faults and all, furthers the mentality that we are a team.
5. Holding our partner back
Though it may seem strange, we often become threatened by the very qualities and talents that attracted us to our partner in the first place. Maybe we initially loved his way with words and ease in social situations, but now that we’re in an established relationship, we feel terrified other women will love those traits as well. Or perhaps we fear that if our partner loses weight or becomes a successful musician, he will leave us. To prevent that from happening, we then engage in subtle acts of sabotage to keep him down and hold him back. We operate from a position of fear instead of love.
Reframing the situation can change our outlook. Rather than seeing our partner’s gifts and abilities as a threat, we can view them as complementary to ours and as additional skills for the collective union. By being our significant other’s biggest fan, not only do we encourage him to do the same for us, we show self-confidence and security in who we are.
While these relationship mistakes are extremely common, once we understand why we commit them, we can learn from them rather than repeating them over and over. We can work on healing dysfunctional relationships and strengthening healthy ones. Most importantly, we plant the seeds and create the necessary environment for the healthy and fulfilling relationship we want and deserve to grow and flourish.
What relationship mistakes do you think people should avoid?