Relationships don’t come with instructional manuals. And so we make mistakes that help us grow as a couple and build a stronger bond. But we often do things that can sabotage our relationship beyond repair and lead to an unnecessary end. In this article we will discuss the 8 hidden mistakes ruining your relationships.
David Gould looks beyond love and lust to what makes a romantic relationship a lasting one.
For the first time in years, I was single on Valentine’s Day. I’ve had a lot of great relationships and most of them ended for no good reason. Looking at what went wrong with the last one, I realized I’m still making the same 8 mistakes that I made twenty years ago.
I’m going to skip over the well-known mistakes. If you haven’t read about them, start here.
Otherwise, here are the lesser-known reasons relationships fall apart.
Are These 8 Hidden Mistakes Ruining Your Relationship?
1. Letting love, hope or lust blind you.
“My name is David and I’m a love addict.” If you’re reading this, you have probably been in love. Hopefully, you still are. They say it’s better to have loved and lost — and I agree. I know this is a big statement but the degree to which I loved my ex was something truly magnificent. It really makes me wish I was an artist so that I could share it with you.
This is an extraordinary situation: we are compelled by love and lust to ignore problems in our relationships!
Everyone has a different definition of love and that’s important. With almost any definition, we need more love in our lives and in the world. When you’re in love, nothing can seem that bad. Imperfections in your relationship don’t matter — and that’s why we need love.
But love and lust are also drugs and will undoubtedly make you think your relationship is stronger than it actually is. This will blind you to upcoming or even current problems.
How do we solve the dilemma of wanting to love your partner whilst being able to identify and fix problems before they come up?
You have two options:
- Find someone you can trust to do a ‘relationship checkup’ or go through this list, honestly.
- The alternative is almost certain heartbreak and misery.
2. Trying to make a go of it with the wrong person.
Nearly all relationships fail. Your relationship probably has only a 15% chance of succeeding. Maybe if you learn from my mistakes, that will go up to 50%. Maybe.
But your relationship is special, right? Been there. Heck, my relationship with my ex- was so special it ended… because I didn’t bother paying attention to these potential problems.
A lot of so-called experts talk about compatibility, for example needing similar degrees of intro/extroversion. But that’s only true if you want to hang out together all the time. Here are a few little-known critical qualities of relationships:
a) Level of independence.
Note that a partner’s neediness may be temporary. A desire for independence may be based on a desire to get away from you! In the long-term, if either of you is unhappy with the amount of time you spend together, it can be a big problem.
Also note that the more time you spend together, the more compatible you need to be.
b) Ticking each others’ boxes.
This is a catch-all. How sure are you that you know what their boxes are? If you’re lucky, they won’t have many boxes. Or maybe you just don’t know what they are. I’ll write more about this later.
There’s no getting away from the fact that I’m different. It’s not a choice — I’m neither like everyone else nor on a similar path. If either of you is unhappy with your partner’s eccentricities, it probably isn’t going to last.
3. Not knowing what each of you values in the relationship.
Here’s an interesting exercise: make a list of everything you value in the relationship. Now make a list of everything you know your partner values. Now, if you’re at all happy, the chances are their list will be a lot shorter. Or you could just ask them to make their list — if that’s a scary prospect, we’ll cover that mistake in #7.