Strong, and delicate. Easy, yet difficult. Simple - but oh so complicated! Relationships are all this and more. While it takes equal amounts of hard work, support, love and dedication to make a relationship work, when it comes to messing up, it doesn’t always take two to tango! Certain mistakes repeated over and over again by just one of the partners can screw up a perfectly happy relationship. Wondering how? Read on…
1. Trust does not figure in your scheme of things
Trust can either make or break a relationship – it is the foundation on which it survives. This is one aspect in all relationships that is complex and yet the simplest, hardest but also the easiest – its presence brings immense happiness and its absence turns into a lifetime of suspicion, frustration and heartbreak. If you want your relationship to stand strong through the trials of time, don’t just ‘say’ you trust your partner, prove it. Quit snooping, doubting, excessive questioning, and wanting to know every detail of his/her every waking minute. If you find yourself sulking when your partner refuses to share their email password or phone lock code, ask yourself how good the relationship is. If you can’t bring yourself to kick these habits and trust, let go of this relationship that makes you edgy and takes away your peace of mind. It won’t survive too long without trust anyway.
2. The communication becomes increasingly clouded
One of the biggest problems in relationships is the obsession that your partner should “just know” what’s on your mind. Bad news! Mind reading is a super power not everyone is born with. Stop assuming that the person you are with must magically know what you are thinking – speak out loud and communicate clearly about issues that bother you. Sure, it could lead to some conflict, but it would be healthy, conclusive conflict with a definitive outcome, and you will find yourself in a healthier and more positive relationship.
3. You take your partner for granted, a little too oftenIt is very easy to take the people we love for granted and assume they are always there for us. We do it all the time – with our friends, family, especially in our relationships, and this ruins everything. To keep your bond fresh and alive, treat each day with your partner like a new one, making him/her feel like they are wanted and special.
Communicate clearly with each other. Go the extra mile once in a while, throw in unexpected surprises. Doing little things to make him/her feel like they matter can prevent your relationship from being gnawed on by boredom and stagnancy.
4. You suffer from the “I” syndrome
A lot of people suffer from the “I” syndrome. This is an obsessive repetition that “I” did this, “I” did that, “I” sacrificed this and that… and “you” did nothing. Really? Remember, everything has two sides, and if the relationship has come this far, there must be SOMETHING your partner did right too. The minute you stop acknowledging and appreciating that, your relationship is going to start going downhill.
5. You involve others in your problems
Nothing could be more damaging to a relationship than involving a third party in your problems. If you want to keep your bond strong and sacred, do not go on a whine trip to others who are most likely going to have biased opinions anyway. Talking to others makes your partner feel low and demeaned, besides the fact that the person being spoken to will see your previously ‘perfect’ partner in a totally different light, no matter how fair they show themselves to be.
It also makes it look like your relationship is not strong enough to be sorted out between the two of you. Involving third parties creates a permanent crack in your relationship, as well as the relationships between the involved third parties and your partner. It also drives your partner to a stage where he/she will always be on pins and start shying away from being honest with you.
If you do feel like discussing your relationship problems with someone other than your partner, the best option is to approach a completely unbiased and unattached individual like a professional relationship counsellor, who will give you objective advice.
6. Giving ultimatums has so become your thing
Do you throw an ultimatum at your partner each time you quarrel? Well, ultimatums do not work - they are juvenile and only create negativity and suppressed frustration. Most people in relationships threaten to leave if things don’t go their way.
Your partner may do what you say to keep the peace, but there will be underlying resentment in their mind. It is always better to talk things out and reach a reasonable agreement rather than threatening to walk out. And if you feel like your relationship is just not working despite your best efforts, it’s best to leave rather than stay based on conditions. Love is and should be unconditional.
7. You begin losing your individuality
It’s not cool to depend on your partner to complete you. We complete ourselves, and if we can’t, nobody else can either. Each time you plan and base things as per your partner’s likes, dislikes, and convenience, a little bit of your individuality dies a silent death.
Of course, relationships are all about adjustments and compromise, and everyone must make some, but don’t make a habit of it. Keep a 50/50 balance. Apart from living for others, you also need to learn how to own your own life. Celebrate your uniqueness, embrace your individuality, and only then can you, as a couple, celebrate your differences. This won’t just empower and liberate you, but your partner will also respect you a lot more – win-win!
8. You don’t give enough space
Just like you need your individuality, you also need to respect your partner’s. Being in a relationship does not mean being stuck together 24/7 – it means giving each other sufficient space to be on their own and do what they enjoy doing - not always with you.
When you give each other a healthy amount of space, you are actually breathing new life into your relationship and you both will enjoy and appreciate each other’s company more. The bonus – you’ll have new and different things to talk about too!
9. You glorify arguments and lose focus on the solutions
A lot of us get into the habit of arguing for the sake of winning the argument, with an increasingly diminishing focus on getting to the root of the problem and figuring out a solution.
Holding on to the past, bringing up past fights, assuming things, mudslinging, playing blame games, giving the silent treatment – these are things to try and refrain from if you’re looking at working out your relationship. Sure, shout out and vent at times, but also learn to go beyond that and minimise such outbursts in future.
10. You don’t say it enough
When you love someone, say it at every given opportunity. Sure, your actions may speak volumes about your love, but words said out loud have a different impact altogether. It makes your partner feel special, appreciated, and cared for. Tell your partner how much you love, appreciate, trust and respect them. This also proves that you don’t take each other granted. Prove your love in actions, but don’t forget to reiterate it with words.
11. You use social media as a punching bag
Social media is supposed to be for entertainment – not a punching bag for relationship woes. Throwing hints on social networking channels that there is trouble brewing in your relationship is a sure fire way to piss off your partner, not to mention how it makes your self-respect and dignity take a hit. Rambling on social media could put the “rambler” in a catch 22 situation - while venting is damaging, making tall claims about the relationship is not wise either. Several studies have shown that excessive social media expression is inversely proportional to how happy a couple is – the happiest couples are the quietest, and the ones constantly making a show have undercurrents of trouble in the relationship. After all, what’s great just is - it does not need show, proof and external validation. So when it comes to social media, let the silence sing through!
12. You forget how to let go and have fun
It is only natural for us to feel like life is mundane, monotonous, boring and like a rut. But don’t let this feeling seep into your relationship.
Make a genuine effort to have fun with your partner – behave childlike, laugh, be silly, plan an offbeat holiday together. Do whatever it takes to introduce freshness, romance, passion and laughter back into your relationship, because each time you do, you’re re-introducing a fresh dose of renewed love back into it. As someone rightly said, ‘Love is being stupid together’.