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.
4. Not caring enough about what the other person wants out of life and what scares them about your relationship.
What else would your partner want on their list? What do they want out of life?
Note that there’s a world of difference between what they should want and what they actually want. The former is almost irrelevant.
Asking what scares them in your relationship is a great question. If you’re scared of asking it, think about how them being scared of your relationship will affect it. And see mistake #7 again.
The worse your partner is at making themselves happy, the more reliant they are on you and the relationship to do it…
5. Underestimating how much your partner’s happiness level affects the relationship.
Even my psychologist friends probably don’t know someone who’s happy more than 80% of the time over the long-term. Being happy really is an obscure skill.
The worse your partner is at making themselves happy, the more reliant they are on you and the relationship to do it.
That means if anything goes wrong in their life and particularly if they take your emotional support for granted, they’re likely to start finding fault with you.
6. Being unaware of Hollywood and fairytale influence on your expectations.
Everyone knows Hollywood and fairytales are unrealistic. But we love our romances to be just like them, don’t we? Like adverts, Hollywood and fairytales have subconscious influences on us. Notice how fictional couples almost always work out with minimal effort at resolving relationship difficulties?
Where does your partner’s idea of romance and love come from? What about your own? This is particularly important for younger people whose fairytale fantasies haven’t been shattered by the real world yet.
7. Glossing over flaws and negative comments.
This is the one I was kicking myself over. I let at least half a dozen comments indicating some degree of my ex-‘s dissatisfaction pass without significant attention. Some I let pass because things were too heated between us, and I mistakenly thought I would come back to them in the near future. Mostly, I let them pass because I thought we were stronger than that. We were, for a while.
These things need to be written down in a place where you will come back to them in a day or two.
8. Planning on it lasting forever.
And here we come full circle. We’ve already established that there’s only a small chance you’ll be with your current partner for life, though you can dramatically increase those chances by not making the same mistakes I have.
Given that your relationship will almost certainly end, some contingency planning makes sense. This is tricky. You don’t want to be thinking about your relationship ending. Also, being seen as doing contingency planning will probably upset your partner and may feel like a betrayal for both of you. But you will probably deeply regret not doing it. I know I regret it every time.
So what can we do?
When I suddenly find myself single, I crave female attention. Usually, my ego is too battered for seeing male friends. Having several dependable female friends is a must for me.
We frequently become dependent on our partners for a social life. When it dies and particularly if you suffer from loneliness or need emotional support, you need friends. This means that when you’re in a relationship, you need ‘too many‘ friends–who are your friends not your partner’s.