“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.
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.
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.
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.
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