Long-term relationships can be very difficult. Even the ones that start incredibly well often go sideways really fast, ending in boredom, infidelity, breakup, or divorce. But why does this happen?
Well, there are several causes. But in most cases, it’s because of these five mistakes we are about to discuss. Couples who make these mistakes often ruin their relationships without knowing it. It will usually start with the love and passion drowning out, after which the relationship reaches its inevitable end. So, whether you are looking for a serious partner or you’re already in a committed relationship, this article is going to be an eye-opener for you.
Insecurity in relationships isn’t something we often talk about, but it’s a huge relationship killer. Many people feel like they don’t deserve to be with the person they are in a relationship with. They feel like their partner is somehow better than them, and that they could easily leave them for someone else at any time if they wanted to.
But unknowingly, this fear of not being good enough for their partners manifests in the real world in some nasty ways like anxiety and jealousy.
If you’re the insecure one in your relationship, you may worry, without any apparent reason, that your partner is cheating or losing interest in you. And this will easily make you feel threatened whenever he/she talks to another person of the opposite sex. You’ll always feel suspicious about where your partner is and what he or she is doing.
You’ll snoop through their phones, comparing yourself to the others they’ve dated in the past, or even those they hang around with now, thinking they don’t find you attractive anymore.
What these acts of anxiety and jealousy do is make you paranoid and needy. And you’ll feel like you’ll always need reassurance about your partner’s commitment to you. And as Susan Whitbourne Ph.D., explained in Psychology Today,
“People who are anxiously attached become so clingy and dependent that they can drive their partners away through their excessive need for affection and reassurance.”
What to do about it
Remind yourself that your partner chose you for a reason. You didn’t force or manipulate him or her in any way. He/she came to you because something about you caught their attention. You are the woman that he chose to be with, so what’s the point of questioning it without any apparent reason?
Arguing to win
Arguments are an inevitable part of any relationship. No matter how well you get along with your partner, they’ll happen. But the common instinct most of us have during arguments is that we want to win. And as most of us must have learned through experience, this hardly does any good for any relationship. Why?
Winning picks your partner as the enemy. It means you’re against them. If the argument is really heated, it just creates bitterness, resentment, and animosity. And with enough disagreement and winning, this resentment can keep building to the point where one partner decides they can’t handle any more of it.
What to do about it
Change your mindset about arguments. Instead of focusing on being right, you need to focus on finding a solution to the problem at hand. Understand and figure out how you both can get your needs met. As Dr. Lisa Firestone advised on Psychology Today, we don’t have to agree with everything our partner says,
“However, we can strive to be open and seek feedback from people we care about and trust, so that they feel comfortable to talk to us about the more difficult subjects.”
More time doesn’t equal quality time
As relationship therapist Esther Perel famously said, “Desire needs space.”
This may seem counterintuitive to you, but what Esther Perel is saying, in other words, is this: If you spend too much time with your partner, doing things together, talking, hanging out, but spend little or no time apart, you’re hurting your relationship.
Desire, as a longing to be with another person, can only grow when there is space. If you’re with your partner all the time, things can get monotonous. To foster desire, you’ll need to give your partner the space to miss you, think about you, and want to be with you. As Esther Perel explained, space is what makes people desire what they already have.
What to do about it
Many couples make the mistake of suffocating their partners because they believe that more time spent together equals a stronger relationship. In reality, however, what you need for a stronger relationship is quality time, not more time.
Have other things in your life to focus on besides your partner. It could be work, hobbies, hanging out with friends, personal projects, etc. This will benefit your personal growth and give you a sense of meaning while also creating space for desire to grow in your relationship.
Thinking the grass must be greener on the other side
Generally, after the initial excitement of a relationship fades away, or, after the “honeymoon phase,” as they say, many people begin to compare their partners to someone else. They start to judge their partners based on what they see around them.
Faults and flaws they didn’t care about in the beginning become a huge problem now. And this can kill a relationship quickly. Why?
The moment you begin to focus on your partner’s flaws instead of highlighting her positives, that’s the minute you begin to kill your love and passion for them. You form a new picture of what the perfect girl/guy should look like and you’ll demand that perfection from your partner. And since the standards in your head are usually impossible to meet up with, your partner will likely fall short, making you lose interest even more.
Soon you’ll consider ending the relationship and moving on to someone you believe has the perfect traits you have in your head.
What to do about it
The truth is, comparison in a relationship isn’t anyone’s fault. It’s a natural tendency for humans to think that the grass is always greener on the other side.
If you’ve made this mistake in the past or find yourself making it now, you’re not alone. But now that you’re aware of it, you’ll need to understand one thing: Once you start comparing your partner to others, it’s very easy to find faults in them. Hence, ask yourself,
“Do I really know this person I’m comparing my partner to or I’m I merely assuming the grass will be greener on the other side?”
Stop comparing your partner’s flaws to the perfect outsides of others and give your relationship a true chance. Remember no one’s perfect. What’s most important is that you’re comfortable with your partner, you share similar values, and he or she likes you for who you are.
Ignoring the power of physical contact
As the novelty of a relationship fades out, physical intimacy also starts to decrease. There’s less touching, kissing, sex, holding hands, hugging, cuddling, etc. All forms of physical contact, compared to what it used to be, drop. And when this happens, as you will expect, the sexual and romantic spark in the relationship starts to die.
That raw, primal attraction that you felt for each other in the beginning starts to diminish, making the relationship turn into a platonic friendship. In fact, According to Marni Kinrys, a relationship coach, when people say, “I don’t feel attracted to my partner anymore, more often than not, it’s because of a lack of physical intimacy.”
What to do about it
As much as we like to focus on factors like love, emotional intimacy, or appreciation for your partner, if you want a long-lasting romantic relationship, you have to make an effort to be physically intimate. Touch your partner more often. Hold hands, make out, cuddle in bed after a movie night, have sex, dance together.
Indeed, these mistakes are common, but they are still the most common reasons relationships end. Most of us have been guilty of some of them, and that’s okay. What’s important is what you do from now on with this knowledge.
Building a great relationship is hard work, and it’s one of the most important things we will do in our lifetime. Hence, taking these practical steps is worth the effort. To recap, here are five mistakes you should avoid making in your relationship:
- Arguing to win
- Never giving your partner space
- Lack of physical intimacy