Taking the time to create an extraordinary relationship will give you a better life. Time and time again, I see people who are successful on the outside and miserable on the inside from relationship issues. Nobody’s perfect, but it seems there are some common mistakes that have dire consequences on our love lives.
Mistake #1: Trying To Change Your Partner
We love our mate, but there is one thing we would like to change about them. The problem is that they may never change. So what do we do?
Accept the person fully for who they are or leave the relationship. When you want your partner to be different, it destroys their self-esteem and makes them feel like they are not enough. A person can change only when they want to change. If they change for you, their true nature will eventually reveal itself and you will be disappointed.
Give them the space to make their own choices. You may be surprised that they change on their own. Sometimes acceptance and unconditional love can serve as a mirror for the things we don’t like about ourselves. If you don’t like something, chances are that they don’t like it either.
Mistake 2: Expectations
Have you ever been annoyed at your partner because they acted differently than you expected? “If he really loved me, he wouldn’t have done—, He should have done —-, She shouldn’t be acting this way.””
Anytime you use the word “should”, it is a sign you are projecting your expectations onto another person.
We have this picture in our minds of how things are supposed to be. When reality is different that our picture, we think something is wrong. We lash out or keep it inside and hold resentment.
Expectations in relationships are most often unattainable. Even if our partner tries to meet them, it will never be exactly what we want. We will never be completely satisfied because we are constantly comparing it to the ideal picture in our minds.
Unfulfilled expectations lead to disappointment. One person feels pressure to perform. When they cannot make you happy, they feel as if they not good enough for you. They withdraw and look elsewhere to meet their need for significance.
Drop the “shoulds” and focus on communicating your needs, listening to your partners needs and calm the expectations.
Mistake #3: Not Communicating Your Needs
Failing to communicate your needs is one of the most serious mistakes people make in relationships. Without truthful, open, communication no relationship can flourish.
Effective communication can be a skill. Many people tell me they are not good communicators. This is only an excuse to avoid communication. If your skills are weak, read a book, see a counselor or Google it, then practice until you get it right.
When you don’t tell your partner what you need, you will get that need met somewhere else then feel resentful and unfulfilled.
Know what you want and to ask for it clearly (without producing guilt) and be able to accept both yes and no.
If you need more time, attention, love or security, be very specific. What do you want them to “do” to satisfy this need for you?
It is unrealistic to think that our partners can meet our every need, however, we can still express ourselves and create a higher level of satisfaction.
Read the book: The Five Love Languages. It is a wonderful guide for communicating and understanding human needs.
Mistake #4: Not Being Sensitive to Your Partner’s Needs
Have you ever asked your partner if you are meeting their needs? Their needs won’t go away if you don’t discuss it. They will just look elsewhere to meet them and often times this destroys the partnership.
When you meet the majority of their needs, they will be fulfilled and bonded to you forever.
Ask them, “Which of your needs are not being met? Do you feel loved by me? Do I give you variety and fun? Do I make you feel special? Do you feel secure? Do you feel like you can grow, develop and be who you really are? Do you feel you can live your life’s purpose with me by your side?”
Being authentic only brings you closer. Don’t be afraid to go deeper. You will create something magical that will produce years of satisfaction and joy.
Mistake #5: Poor Problem Solving Strategies
We tend to regress to a young age when we have a problem with our mates. We throw fits, run away, pout, rebel and seek revenge. We inherit many of our strategies from our parents, our teen years or simply trial and error.
Examine your current problem solving strategies. Do you communicate or shut down? Do you take responsibility or blame? Do you say your sorry, or hold out? Do you need to be right or can you step into their shoes?
Talk to your partner about the strategies you both use when dealing with problems. If you see patterns that are not working, create something new.
Mistake #6: Failing to “Work” on Your Relationship and Make it a Priority
A relationship is like a plant. If you don’t water it, it will die. We get lazy, busy and way too comfortable. We don’t think we have to “work” on our relationship.
I have heard hundreds of times, if the relationship is right, it shouldn’t be so hard. News Flash – all relationships are tough. Creating an extraordinary bond that gets better with time takes work. It’s the same with building a great business or body. With two people doing the work, there is no limit to what is possible.
Learn how to communicate. Grow, explore and get the tools you need to solve problems and take your love to the next level. Problems are a sign that something needs attention. It’s not always a sign to run away or give up.
When you have a medical problem, you don’t kill yourself. You take your doctor’s advice, get information and make the necessary changes and heal. It’s the same with your relationship. Many couples give up too soon.
A great relationship will make you feel alive and bring passion and joy to all areas of your life. However, great relationships don’t just happen. They take time, patience and two people that truly want to be together.
I love this quote from my favorite movie….
“So it’s not gonna be easy. It’s gonna be really hard. We’re gonna have to work at this every day, but I want to do that because I want you. I want all of you, forever, you and me, every day…” – Ryan Gosling, The Notebook