“Real magic in relationships means an absence of judgment of others.”
Relationships can meaningful, enjoyable, and absolutely loving. They can also be destructive, unpleasant, and hateful. Romantic relationships are often the most impactful and profound accords you will engage in. They are often the cause of much joy and/or pain.
Whether or not you experience a blissful romantic relationship or a torrid one, they are challenging. It is often difficult for people to adjust to sharing their life with someone else. As humans, we seek to obtain romantic partnerships during our lives, but we have the tendency of coming into conflict with one another.
Some romantic relationships are able to overcome this conflict and continue to flourish for long periods of time. Others are unable to last. Often couples are simply not right for each other for one reason or another. People change, and amidst this change, romantic partnerships become increasingly difficult to maintain.
But why do so many romantic relationships fail? It is not necessarily unfavorable when relationships end. Often they end for a very good reason and both parties are better off because they gained new perspective from the experience.
Despite the benefits that result from a broken relationship, most people would agree breakups are quite difficult and painful. So how do you build for your next relationship or how do you strengthen the current relationship you are in? What are the pitfalls of romantic relationships that cause unnecessary strife and misery?
1. Unrealistic Expectations for Yourself
You have to look yourself in the mirror and be honest with yourself. In spite of your desire to believe otherwise, you are not a relationship superman or superwoman. You have to have realistic expectations for yourself throughout the relationship, just as you have for all aspects of your life.Advertising
The more pressure you put on yourself to be the “perfect” partner, the more likely you are going to come up short. Trying too hard is only going to put strain on you, your partner, and the relationship. A healthy relationship will flow naturally, expectations will be realistic, and the connection is not forced.
If you are in a relationship, and you notice yourself trying so hard to make everything just right for your partner, but at the end of the day you still don’t feel worthy enough or you feel your partner doesn’t find you worthy enough, you are setting unrealistic expectations for yourself.
I’m not suggesting you don’t make an effort to be a wonderful partner, but there are limits to what you can do in the relationship. Understand those limits for yourself and simply enjoy being with your partner. You can only make yourself happy in the relationship—no one else.
2. Unrealistic Expectations for Your Partner
Don’t have unrealistic expectations for your partner. You expect that your partner is going to respect you, care for you, love you, and not hurt you. These are realistic expectations anyone who is in a romantic relationship doesn’t even think about because they are straightforward. There might be more expectations you can add to this list, but this list shouldn’t be excessively long.
Often people get into relationships for the wrong reasons. They expect their partner to make them happy or they expect their partner to be a personal servant. These are examples of unrealistic expectations that can be detrimental to any relationship, especially a romantic relationship.
If you embark into a relationship with gaudy expectations for your partner, prepare to be disappointed. Unless your partner is so in love with you that he or she is blinded, the chances of this kind of relationship lasting and being fulfilling for both people, are very slim.
3. The Need to Be Right
Let go of the need to be right. This one simple change will bring you much more satisfaction in your personal life. It is especially important for the foundation of a strong relationship.
When you are in a romantic relationship you are going to experience conflict and disagreements. You are going to know when you are right and you are going to know when you are wrong. If you and your partner both surrender the need to be right, there will be less arguing and more resolving of problematic situations because you are both looking out for what is best for the relationship—not what is best for the individual.Advertising
Just because you let go of the need to be right doesn’t make you a pushover or a weak human being. You will know when to stand up for yourself and speak your mind on important issues. Letting go of the need to be right suggests that you are comfortable with yourself and your partner, and you have complete respect for the relationship.
4. Jealousy and Other Fear-Based Emotions
Jealousy, anger, fear, insecurity, unhappiness, selfishness, control destroy romantic relationships. When you are jealous you don’t trust your partner. If you don’t trust your partner, than how are you supposed to build a long-lasting relationship together?
Jealousy can come in many forms, but it is rooted in fear: fear that your partner is going to cheat on you; fear that your partner doesn’t love you enough; fear that your partner is going to leave you; fear that you aren’t good enough for your partner.
Quite often these fears are self-created. Your mind plays out scenarios and you believe them. Perhaps you were hurt or wronged in past relationships so you decide to carry fear based emotions into your next relationship. Especially when there is no basis for the fear than you are setting yourself up for failure.
If you have sound reason to believe your partner is cheating on you or mistreating you in some way than speak with your partner or end the relationship. It is not worth putting yourself through emotional hell by being jealous and afraid.
A romantic relationship is a partnership. In order for a partnership to work and be successful both sides have to be willing to share with one another. Both sides have to be willing to be selfless to the other person.
Many romantic relationships fail because people are too selfish. Being selfish is not beneficial for anyone much less someone in a relationship. Selfish people are generally viewed as difficult, and often they isolate themselves from others. People don’t want to be around people who only take but never give.
It is important to keep yourself in check when you are in a relationship. Ask yourself what you can do for your partner today to help him or her. Hopefully serving your partner in this way is pleasurable for you.Advertising
I think people sometimes develop the misconception that being in a relationship means you abdicate your freedom or independence. I disagree with this because I think it is constructive for partners to be independent people while also maintaining their relationship status. Partners don’t have to be attached at the hip.
Being independent in a relationship doesn’t make you selfish. Independent people are comfortable on their own, but also relish spending time with their partners. Selfish people use their partners for their own personal gain or profit, as they do most people they encounter in life.
6. Defensive Attitude
Has your partner ever asked you to do something, for example, help more around the house and you immediately go on the defensive? You refute your partner’s claims that you aren’t helping enough by describing examples of all those times you were helpful. Instead of listening to what your partner is saying you create stories in your mind that your partner doesn’t appreciate you.
I have been there and done that. I was the best defender in my past relationships because I couldn’t put my ego aside, and listen to what my partner was saying. Instead of trying to understand what she wanted, and discovering how I could be more helpful in the relationship, I shifted into defensive mode. Many people do this in romantic relationships because they interpret a criticism from their partner as an insult and a personal attack.
There is a tendency for partners to take each other too seriously. Conflict is created when partners take what each other says and does very personally. Taking things personally from your partner, someone whom loves you and doesn’t want to hurt you, is quite frankly, toxic for a relationship. You will know when words and actions from your partner are harmful, and require you to respond in a stern manner. Until that moment try to let the minute stuff go.
It is noxious in any relationship to hold grudges. Don’t hold grudges with your romantic partner unless you want to experience loads and loads of negative emotion.
Your partner is going to make mistakes. He or she might get agitated with you or say something that you don’t agree with. Learning to forgive and forget will strengthen your relationship. It will build a foundation that will give you the tools to conquer any adversity that confronts your relationship.
If your partner does something truly destructive that you are unable to overcome then perhaps ending the relationship is best for the both of you. Even in these instances forgiveness is the best medicine for you to move on.Advertising
Grudges are wasted energy in a relationship. It takes more physical, mental, and emotional energy to hold onto a grudge than forgiving your partner and releasing the pent up anger. As I said previously, your partner is not trying to hurt you so try your best to move on.
8. Conditional Love
Conditional love implies there are fulfillments required from your partner in order for him or her to receive your love. This is a recipe for an unhappy and unloving relationship.
Love your partner freely because you enjoy loving him or her. Don’t love your partner with expectations that he or she does something for you. This will lead to destructive behaviors and consistent arguing.
Unconditional love is the key to making a romantic relationships blossom. Love your partner despite his or her flaws because no one is perfect. This begins with acceptance of your partner no matter what. If you can’t accept your partner, you can’t love your partner unconditionally. Love your partner for no reason at all just as you love yourself and be grateful he or she is in your life.
Enjoy your romantic relationship. Being in love is one of the great experiences of life so give yourself and your partner a chance to savor this experience. Let go of the very controllable pitfalls that obstruct long lasting and joyful relationships. Resolve issues in the relationship together as a team. Don’t hold onto negative emotions, rather communicate openly with your partner. Love and be loved!
Featured photo credit: Happy Young Couple in Winter Park having fun.Family Outdoors. love via shutterstock.com
Last Updated on July 8, 2020
How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often
Do you say yes so often that you realize you aren’t really happy about this, wondering how to say no to people?
For years, I was a serial people pleaser. Known as someone who would step up, I would gladly make time especially when it came to volunteering for certain causes. I proudly carried this role all through grade school, college, even through law school. For years, I thought saying “no” meant I would disappoint a good friend or someone I respected.
But somewhere along the way, I noticed I wasn’t quite living my life. Instead, I seem to have created a schedule that was a strange combination of meeting the expectations of others, what I thought I should be doing, and some of what I actually wanted to do. The result? I had a packed schedule that left me overwhelmed and unfulfilled.
It took a long while but I learned the art of saying no. Saying ‘no’ meant I no longer catered fully to everyone else’s needs and could make more room for what I really wanted to do. Instead of cramming too much in, I chose to pursue what really mattered. I started to manage my time more around my own needs and interests. When that happened, I became a lot happier. And guess what? I hardly disappointed anyone.
Table of Contents
The Importance of Saying No
When you learn the art of saying ‘no,’ you begin to look at the world differently. Rather than seeing all of the things you could or should be doing (and aren’t doing), you start to look at how to say yes to what’s important.
In other words, you aren’t just reacting to what life throws at you. You seek the opportunities that move you to where you want to be.
Successful people aren’t afraid to say no. Oprah Winfrey considered one of the most successful women in the world confessed that it was much later in life when she learned how to say no. Even after she had become internationally famous, she felt she had to say yes to virtually everything. It was only when she realized that after years of struggling with saying no, I finally got to this question: “What do I want?”
Being able to say no also helps you manage your time better.
Warren Buffett views no as essential to his success. He said,
“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.”
When I made ‘no’ a part of my toolbox, I drove more of my own success focusing on fewer things and doing them well.
How We Are Pressured to Say Yes
It’s no wonder a lot of us find it hard to say ‘no.’
From an early age, we are conditioned to say ‘yes.’ We said yes probably hundreds of time in order to graduate from high school and then get into college. We said yes to find work. We said yes get a promotion. We said yes to find love and then yes again to stay in a relationship. We said yes to find and keep friends.
We say yes because it feels better to help someone. We say yes because it can seem like the right thing to do. We say yes because we think that is key to success. And we say yes because the request might come from someone who is hard to resist like the boss.
And that’s not all. The pressure to say yes doesn’t just come from others. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves. At work, we say yes because we compare ourselves to others who seem to be doing more than we are. Outside of work, we say yes because we feel guilty we aren’t doing enough to spend time with family or friends.
The message no matter where we turn is nearly always, “You really could be doing more.” The result? When people ask us for our time, we are heavily conditioned to say yes.
How to Say No Without Feeling Guilty
Deciding to add the word ‘no’ to your toolbox is no small thing. Perhaps you already say ‘no’ but not as much as you would like. Maybe you have an instinct that if you were to learn the art of ‘no’ that you could finally create more time for things you care about. But let’s be honest, using the word ‘no’ doesn’t come easily for many people.
The 3 Rules of Thumbs for Saying No
1. You Need to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Let’s face it. It is hard to say no. Setting boundaries around your time especially you haven’t done it much in the past will feel awkward.
2. You Are the Air Traffic Controller of Your Time
Remember that you are the only one who understands the demands for your time. Think about it, who else knows about all of the demands on your time? No one. Only you are at the center of all of these requests. are the only one that understands what time you really have.
3. Saying ‘No’ Means Saying ‘Yes’ to Something That Matters
When we decide not to do something, it means we can say yes to something else. You have a unique opportunity to decide how you spend your precious time.
6 Ways to Start Saying No
Incorporating that little word ‘no’ into your life can be transformational. Turning some things down will mean you can open doors to what really matters. Here are some essential tips to learn the art of no:
1. Check in With Your Obligation Meter
One of the biggest challenges to saying ‘no’ is a feeling of obligation. Do you feel you have a responsibility to say yes and worry that saying no reflect poorly on you?
Ask yourself whether you truly have the duty to say yes. Check your assumptions or beliefs about whether you carry the responsibility to say yes. Turn it around and instead ask what duty you owe to yourself.
2. Resist the Fear of Missing out (FOMO)
Do you have a fear of missing out (FOMO)? FOMO can follow us around in so many ways. At work, we volunteer our time because we fear we won’t move ahead. In our personal lives, we agree to join the crowd because FOMO even while we ourselves aren’t enjoying the fun.
Check in with yourself. Are you saying yes because of FOMO or because you really want to say yes? More often than not, running after fear doesn’t make us feel better.
3. Check Your Assumptions About What It Means to Say ‘No’
Do you dread the reaction you will get if you say no? Often, we say ‘yes’ because we worry about how others will respond or the consequences of saying no or because of the consequences. We may be afraid to disappoint others or think we will lose respect from others. We often forget how much we are disappointing ourselves along the way.
Keep in mind that saying ‘no’ can be exactly what is needed to send the right message that you have limited time. In the tips below, you will see how to communicate your no in a gentle and loving way. You might disappoint someone initially but drawing a boundary can bring you the freedom you need so that you can give freely of yourself when you truly want to.
4. When the Request Comes In, Sit on It
Sometimes, when we are in the moment, we instinctively agree. The request might make sense at first. Or we typically have said yes to this request in the past.
Give yourself a little time to reflect on whether you really have the time, or can do the task properly. You may decide the best option is to say ‘no.’ There is no harm in giving yourself the time to decide.
5. Communicate Your ‘No’ with Transparency and Kindness
When you are ready to tell someone no, communicate your decision clearly. The message can be open and honest to ensure the recipient that your reasons have to do with your limited time.
Resist the temptation not to respond or communicate all. But do not feel obligated to provide a lengthy account about why you are saying no.
A clear communication with a short explanation is all that is needed. I have found it useful to tell people that I have many demands and need to be careful with how I allocate my time. I will sometimes say I really appreciate that they came to me and for them to check in again if the opportunity arises another time.
6. Consider How to Use a Modified ‘No’
If you are under pressure to say yes but want to say no, you may want to consider downgrading a “yes” to a “yes but…” giving you an opportunity to condition your agreement to what works best for you.
Sometimes, the condition can be to do the task but not in the time frame that was originally requested. Or perhaps you can do part of what has been asked.
Beginning right now, you can change how you respond to requests for your time. When the request comes in, take yourself off autopilot where you might normally say yes.
Use the request as a fresh request to draw a healthy boundary around your time. Pay particular attention to when you place certain demands on yourself. If you are the one placing the demand on yourself, try to evaluate the demand as if it were coming from somewhere else.
Try it now. Say no to a friend who continues to take advantage of your goodwill. Or, draw the line with a workaholic colleague and tell them you will complete the project but not by working all weekend. Or, tell someone in your family you can’t loan them money again because they never paid you back the last time. You’ll find yourself much happier.
More Self-Care Tips
- How Self Care Can Help You Live Your Best Life
- 12 Rules for Self-Management
- 40 Self Care Techniques To Rejuvenate And Restore Yourself
Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com