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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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Ellen Eldridge

Ellen is a passionate journalist. She shares her everyday life tips at Lifehack.

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

How to Say No When You Say Yes Too Often

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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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Featured photo credit: Chris Ainsworth via unsplash.com

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