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Relationship Pitfalls You Can Avoid to Keep your Relationship Alive

Relationship Pitfalls You Can Avoid to Keep your Relationship Alive

Human nature is all about relationships. Finding them, keeping them together and keeping each other happy are the things that keep us well. Stress and misery can destroy our minds as well as our bodies. A ruined relationship can ruin your outlook on life itself. Here are a few pitfalls and some suggestions for avoiding them.

1. Take time to celebrate.

Back in college I celebrated Valentine’s Day as “V-D” and associated its festivities with the festering wounds I’d suffered from relationships gone bad. My friends and roommates got together for “anti-V.D.” parties and we crafted hearts from cloth and pinned them to our sleeves. We replaced the four-letter word “love” with an abbreviation that doubled as a pun.

What changed? Well, I grew up. Got married to the right guy and had a couple of kids. I learned along the way just how to avoid the common relationship pitfalls that leave many lovers limp-legged on the side of the road of life.

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One of the pitfalls in a relationship is stagnation, so take time to celebrate holidays. You don’t have to wait until Valentine’s Day to celebrate your love; you can pick your anniversary or any other day, but take time to rekindle your love as often as possible.

However, be careful how you finance because—

2. Money truly is the root of all evil.

When it comes to romance, we think of long walks on the beach, champagne and relaxed lovers curled up by the fireplace. We don’t factor in the cost of the firewood. Those truly seeking love for love’s sake don’t ask for a balance sheet with the first dozen roses.

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The best way to avoid the money pitfall of a relationship is to watch your significant other while dating. No sleuthing required, but mentally fact-check what kind of work he or she does compared with how extravagantly he or she shops. Love has no price tag and a five-star restaurant can be less romantic than a peanut butter and jelly picnic if the couple can’t pay the tab.

Habits that will ultimately destroy your relationship show up throughout the dating process. We cannot help with whom we fall in love in, but we choose to accept that second or third date. If your date shows signs of spending that will create credit debt in a marriage, you may want to back out.

3. Examine motives for jealousy.

Once you make the decision to engage in a meaningful and monogamous relationship, watch out for jealousy on either side, as this pitfall can surely ruin the romance. If you feel jealous of your partner’s friends, associates or activities, don’t ignore it. Carefully consider the root of the jealousy and accept if you have a reason to worry about how your partner spends his or her time.

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If you worry about the choices your partner makes or if it seems like you are not a priority in your significant other’s life, you first need to openly communicate these feelings. Talking is the single best method for keeping a relationship alive.

True, sometimes jealousy is grounded and your partner has an issue worth confronting. When you start your relationship by talking about your dreams and goals, surprises shouldn’t sneak up. If your rocker boyfriend wants to go on tour with his band, this shouldn’t surprise the girl he met after a show.

4. Change together to keep the relationship strong.

Change is life in action. Similar to the stagnation pitfall, failing to change together is a pitfall that can reroute your partnership. Couples who meet young have much ground to cover and many experiences to weather together. These trials and tribulations of life can wear some couples down and bind others together. The difference lies in the couple’s commitment not only to each other but also to the relationship.

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Change involves an expanding family, a need to focus on health issues or physically moving locations, and through any of these a couple can best survive by staying in constant communication.

5. Stave off stress.

Loving someone means loving him or her on off-days, on stressed-out days and on the days when life blesses you. Avoid taking each other for granted and remember, words have power. Avoid the pitfall of stress by saying “I love you” when you leave the house, and kiss often to boost those endorphins as well as emotions.

6. Silence proves a pitfall.

Of all the relationship pitfalls, the one thing in common is the lack of communication. When an issue presents itself be honest with yourself and your partner. Avoid the temptation to be silent or avoid the situation. Take action for the sake of your relationship and talk it out. More often than not, talking will help you share the burden and shed the stress while strengthening your relationship.

7. Just don’t forget what sparked the relationship.

All relationships are marathons instead of sprints, but only if each partner takes the time to address and understand the journey. The pitfall of forgetting what attracted you to your partner can be best avoided by conscious dedication to the qualities of your partner that made you fall in love. When you follow the suggestions here to celebrate together, stay thrifty, squash jealousy, change together, stave off stress, talk it out and remember what you mean to your loved one your relationship will likely succeed for life.

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Last Updated on May 21, 2019

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

Example 1

You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

Example 2

You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

Example 3

You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

Example 4

You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

  • Understand your own communication style
  • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
  • Communicate with precision and care
  • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

1. Understand Your Communication Style

To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

2. Learn Others Communication Styles

Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

“How do you prefer to receive information?”

This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

3. Exercise Precision and Care

A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

“Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

The Bottom Line

When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

Reference

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