Nobody’s perfect! And so, relationships can’t be perfect, right? People mess up all the damn time. Sometimes, they keep making the same relationship mistakes again and again. Just like every other movie on time travel, you have to live the same day on repeat, until you get it right.
But how to get it right? Is there a guidebook to refer to, when one gets into a relationship? Yes, there is. And here it goes…Learn from these commonly made relationship mistakes so that you can try your best to save yourself from heartbreak!
The 11 Most Common Relationship Relationship Mistakes You Can Actually AVOID
“The relationship we have with ourselves sets the foundation for every other relationship we have,” wrote author Gina Senarighi in the book Love More, Fight Less: Communication Skills Every Couple Needs: A Relationship Workbook for Couples. If you find ways to be honest with yourself, it will help you understand your relationship better.
So, instead of finding faults in the world, let’s ask ourselves, what can we do right? How can we improve for our partners? What relationship mistakes must we avoid? Here are the answers to such questions. Given below are the 11 most common relationship mistakes you can actually AVOID:
1. Trying to change your partner
One of the first relationship mistakes that can easily turn into a pattern – seeing your partner as *someone who needs fixing*. We are not talking about their habit of not putting the toilet seat back down. But, we are more concerned here about you trying to transform the person fundamentally and expecting them to evolve in a day.
If something about him/her bothers you, you can obviously express your opinions but trying to impose your morality on them is unfair. For example, if you detest that they smoke, smoke up or drink, you can let them know. But then, the decision to quit or not is theirs to make, not yours.
2. One of the more common relationship mistakes – Projecting your past on them
There is a beautiful saying that goes like this: “If you never heal from what hurt you, you’ll bleed on people who didn’t cut you.” It is not easy to get over an intense relationship with an ex. In fact, a survey (taken by 1,000 people) indicated that married folks are ex-obsessed as well. Almost two-thirds of participants agreed that their ex was on their mind too often, and 36% said their attachment to their ex interfered with their marriage.
One of the infamous mistakes in love relationships is carrying the baggage of your past and dumping it on your current partner. You have to remind yourself that every person is different and you have to stop constantly expecting your partner to match up to someone else. This will leave them feeling frustrated and full of self-doubt.
3. Rushing it
Pulling the fifth gear at the initial stages is one of the classic first relationship mistakes. Hey? Take it slow. Don’t get way too serious, way too soon. Let it organically evolve into something beautiful and long-lasting. Don’t put your partner in a spot by bringing up the future, again and again, before they’re ready to take things to the next level. Instead, find ways to deal with relationship anxiety.
You have to live in the moment and enjoy the present. You won’t get it again! If your over-thinking brain leads to asking hypothetical questions like “What if we don’t end up in the same city in five years ?” or “What if our families don’t feel compatible with each other, eight years from now?”, please STOP! Take a deep breath.
Related Reading: 10 Ways Overthinking Ruins Relationships
You know what generally happens. Life doesn’t always go according to plan. You might prepare yourself for some hypothetical problems only to find yourself grappling with a different set of problems altogether – the ones you didn’t even see coming! For example, you keep worrying that your parents won’t approve of your partner’s religion years from now. And how does the relationship end? Your partner ends up cheating on you. Didn’t see it coming, did you? So stop with all the planning.
4. Getting addicted to fighting
Yes, it’s an addiction! Once you start arguing about every little thing, there is no going back. You get addicted to the God damned DRAMA. You love being angry with them. You love when they try to make up for it. You love the rough make-up sex. You start falling in love with toxicity, without even realizing it. This often happens in a live-in relationship.
Trust me, don’t fall into this trap. This is one of the relationship mistakes to avoid at all costs. It will not just kill the love but will also leave you feeling empty and emotionally exhausted in the long run. So, every time you are tempted to say something you won’t be able to take back later, bite your tongue, resist the urge.
5. Not being able to create a balance
One of the worst relationship mistakes that one makes is not being able to find the right equilibrium. A relationship gets messed up when there is an imbalance. Work and relationship, family and relationship, friends and relationship, me-time and relationship…the list goes. You have to consciously put an effort in a relationship, it doesn’t just happen on its own.
Time management and organizational skills can save you from a lot of trouble. Doing everything in the right amount is the secret to bliss in your romantic paradise. Spending way too much time with your partner as well as burying yourself in work to avoid facing the monotony of your relationship are both examples of common relationship mistakes. You need to avoid them by toeing the line of moderation.
6. Relationship mistakes to avoid – Expecting too much
Jeff Bridges, actor, once said, “In life and in movies, it’s a similar challenge, where you have expectations, and you end up in situations that are not meeting your expectations.” So, if you expect your partner to be your lover, your mother, your best friend, your mentor, all at the same time, you’re committing one of the most common relationship mistakes.
Not setting expectations realistically is one of the relationship challenges almost everyone has to face. Every once in a while, remind yourself that your partner is just another human being and not some divine entity who can’t make errors. One of the relationship mistakes to avoid is being unforgiving of your partner’s mistakes. Go easy on them.
Related Reading: 6 Mistakes Women Make In Relationships And Then Cry Their Heart Out
7. Not listening enough
Art Rios in his book Let’s Talk: …About Making Your Life Exciting, Easier, And Exceptional rightly points out, “When I consider the people I admire, a quality most of them share is that they’re very good listeners. You can literally see them listening. You notice that they’re thinking too, and only after they think, do they give a reply to the person they’re talking to. Listening is an incredibly important skill, and good listening is an art. One that requires immense discipline.”
He goes on to say, “For many of us, we always want to get in edgewise, what we feel is more important to say. Yet, if we would learn to listen more than we speak, we could have better conversations and forge deeper connections. Plus, there would be less misunderstandings in the world.”
Art Rios makes total sense. Lack of effective communication is one of the worst relationship mistakes. Just listen keenly to what your partner is saying. And express yourself clearly. They won’t magically read your mind. If you want them to understand your needs, desires and wants, you have to say them out loud. Or else, you will develop serious communication issues in your relationship.
You think they are being emotionally unavailable? Let them know. You think you need more space? Express it. Conversations over the round table have saved the world from so many wars and nuclear attacks. If the world can be saved, your relationship can be rescued too. So, there you go…talk, talk and talk some more, so you can save your relationship from its doomsday.
8. Extreme insecurity, jealousy and possessiveness
This is one of the classic relationship mistakes guys make and girls are equally prone to. It’s a Catch-22 situation. The more you cling, the farther your partner moves away. And, the farther they move away, the more you cling to your partner.
How to get yourself out of this vicious cycle? Don’t depend on your partner for ALL your happiness. Have other sources to derive your happiness from. What is it that made you happy as a child? Writing? Singing? Dancing? Playing sports? Spending time with friends? Listening to music? Watching movies?
Whatever it is, keep doing it, even after you are committed. This will make you a happier version of yourself. And nobody wants to give up on a person who’s happy and full of self-love. So, learning how to love yourself will miraculously solve so many problems in your relationship.
9. Taking relationship advice from too many people
The harsh truth is that only a handful of people are genuinely happy for your happiness. The key is knowing who those core people are. And once you know, remember to share your private life only with them.
Oversharing with too many people about your personal life is one of the relationship mistakes that seem harmless but are actually harmful, because too many opinions will confuse you. Some will say you deserve better. Some will tell you something else. You won’t know what to do and your personal life will become a public affair. This will annoy your partner.
Yes, having a support group that gives you relationship advice is a great idea. But remember to keep your inner circle small. By all means, go vent in front of five of your closest friends but hold yourself back when you’re in a gathering of 30, comprising coworkers, casual acquaintances or extended family.
10. One of the common mistakes in love relationships – lack of loyalty
Statistics indicate that there is at least one incident of infidelity in 40% of unmarried and 25% of married couples in the US. This is also the reason behind up to 40% of the total divorces.
Flirting around and keeping options open when they’re with someone is among the most common relationship mistakes that guys make. Or committed girls often love when their DMs get overloaded with attention and validation. If you know that you want to explore, go out there and explore. Don’t commit. Just be honest about what you want, with yourself and with your partner.
One of the worst relationship mistakes that you can make is cheating on your partner. If you are cheating on them you’re not just betraying them but also betraying yourself. It will leave you in a mess, you will experience endless shame and guilt after cheating. You won’t be able to trust yourself later and it will hamper your ability to commit again. So do yourself a favor and tell your partner the truth. Walking away and giving them closure is still far better than betraying them.
Related Reading: 9 Psychological Facts About Cheating – Busting The Myths
11. Relationship mistakes to avoid – Overstaying and not letting go
Kenny Sebastien, a standup comic, rightly said, “The key to a happy marriage is don’t micromanage it.” Let go. Trust your partner, have faith in them. Don’t be a control freak and try to exercise power over every aspect of your relationship. Let things flow.
Also, if it’s taking too much of a toll on your mental health and there is little voice in your gut that says you deserve better, it’s one of the signs you need to walk away from a relationship. Overstaying is one of the iconic relationship mistakes. It’s okay to leave. You won’t marry every person you date. Some relationships come into your life to teach you lessons. And learning from past relationship mistakes will help you evolve in ways, beyond your comprehension.
“If you look back only at your mistakes, you’d think you were an idiot. If you look back only at your wiser choices, you’d think you were infallible. But if you look back on everything, you realize you’re a human being who has been through a lot, grown a lot, is always still learning, and improving as time goes by.” — Doe Zantamata
As Doe Zantamata puts it, don’t get identified with your relationship mistakes. You aren’t your mistakes, after all so why be defined by them? What to do when you realize you made relationship mistakes? You apologize. You change. You grow. You become better. That’s the essence of life, isn’t it? Learning from past relationship mistakes.
And when all this gets a little too overwhelming, don’t shy away from seeking professional help. A licensed therapist can help you ease the guilt and tell you the secrets behind healthy and long-lasting relationships. Our counselors from Bonobology’s panel are always here for your support, feel free to reach out to them.
As the popular saying goes, “To err is human, to forgive is divine.” Yes, it is normal to commit relationship mistakes. You are a human being, after all. How else will you learn? You learn as you go, that’s the point. Forgive yourself, but don’t make the same relationship mistakes again. Forgive others too, if they have caused you pain. If you carry grudges, they will end up eating you from the inside. Do you want to be responsible for your own unhappiness? No, right?