Relationships can be one of the most beautiful and enriching experiences in life. Getting to know someone on a more intimate level than you ever thought possible is such an amazing feeling, but with that depth can come obstacles. Every single relationship has its ups and downs, its periods of harmony and arguing, and that’s totally normal. But if your relationship has been in the trenches for some time now, it’s time to step back and see if there’s anything you should be doing differently. Here are some ways you may be sabotaging your own relationship and putting yourself — and your partner — in way more pain than necessary.
1. Constantly focusing on making your relationship perfect
Metaphor time! Let’s say you want to run a race. Of course, you’ve got to train for it consistently, so you make sure to run daily with a plan to slowly increase your distance every day — and if you do that gradually, it won’t even seem so hard. But if you start to become obsessed, and you run miles and miles every day, multiple times daily, you might injure yourself and be unable to run the marathon at all.
It’s great to want to improve your relationship, but just like self improvement, it’s something that cannot be overdone, or you’ll end up sabotaging it entirely. No relationship is perfect, and to focus on perfection is to miss the point. Don’t forget to enjoy the “training” and take it at a nice, easy pace.
2. Putting yourself down way too often
We all have our bad days when we feel a little down about our appearance or our abilities, but if you’re constantly insulting yourself in front of your partner, you will begin to alienate them. Your love adores you exactly how you are and will start to feel as though that love isn’t being heard. Plus, just like it’s difficult to truly love anyone if you don’t love yourself, it’s hard to love someone who doesn’t love his or her self.
3. Avoiding confrontation
No one likes having a hard discussion, and fights can feel truly awful, but sometimes, they are necessary for your relationship to flourish. If you’re avoiding confrontation, whether that’s by saying “sorry” at any possible opportunity or not speaking up when something’s bothering you, you’re digging your relationship into a hole by ignoring opportunities to help it grow.
4. Prioritizing “being right”
Unfortunately, when a discussion escalates into an argument, it can feel like the most important thing is to prove you’re right. . . and that can often come at the expense of harmony in your relationship. Yes, confrontation is important, but the end goal is to come to an understanding and figure out a compromise that makes you both happy.
5. Comparing yourself to your partner’s exes
It can be a little unnerving to think about your partner’s dating history, and you may even feel a little threatened by exes — especially if they still are in your partner’s life. But comparing yourself can make you spiral into jealousy and insecurity. . . two things that definitely should not be thrown into a relationship cocktail. Remember, the exes are in the past, and your partner wants you — why try to be like a person who was obviously not right for your partner?
6. “Testing” your partner
Say you had a really hard day. Your partner lives half an hour away, and asks if you want them to come over tonight. In the movies, the main character will say “no, I just need to be alone” but their partner comes over anyway, flowers and takeout dinner in hand. . . so it may be tempting to tell them no, then expect them to come anyway and get angry when they don’t.
This is not a movie, and your partner cannot read your mind; if your partner stays home, they are probably just respecting what they believe to be your wishes. A relationship is not a game. Say it with me: a relationship is not a game. If you want something, be open and honest with your partner.
7. Venting too much about your relationship to your loved ones
Venting is great. It’s an awesome way to get things off your chest. But when it comes to relationships, keep it to a minimum. It’s important for your loved ones to be supportive of your relationship, and if you only tell them the bad things, they probably will think your relationship is unhealthy. They want what’s best for you, and your partner will probably be able to sense their uneasiness, which will just put more pressure on the two of you.
8. Trying to make your partner someone they’re not
You deserve someone who treats you like the catch that you are. But if you’re trying to make your introverted partner go with you to parties all the time, you’re forgetting who your partner is on a fundamental level, and they’re certainly noticing. It’s unfair to expect your partner to majorly change something about their personality for your own convenience. No two people are the exact same; you are different people, and that’s awesome. Remember it, celebrate it, and your relationship will become stronger and more enriching than ever before.
(Image via FOX)