Let me ask you a question. Did you think about your relationship before diving headfirst into it, or were you a bit blinded by rose-colored glasses? Now the years have passed, and you start to feel the glasses’ rosy hue has faded. Or they’ve come off altogether and you begin to question your relationship. This wasn’t what you were feeling in the beginning—what happened?
Here are five relationship mistakes to avoid.
Relationship Mistake to Avoid #1
Not Having a Relationship Vision
A relationship vision is a picture of your ideal relationship. Being clear on this allows for you to check in with those you want to date or your current partner to see if you are an energetic match.
Ask yourself questions: What are my values? What are my future goals? What do I want to feel in my relationship?
Do this on your own first to be clear in your desires. Get your partner to do the same, and then you can come together and start the discussion around how to align your relationship visions.
Not having a relationship vision is an early relationship mistake to avoid.
Relationship Mistake to Avoid #2
Not Knowing Your Love Wounds
The majority of us have some sort of love wound, be it from our upbringing or from previous relationships. Love wounds are past inflictions from failed relationships or relationships where your needs were not being met. This results in you protecting yourself from love even though all you really want is to be loved! Seems counterintuitive, right? If you feel fear of being disappointed, fear of being abandoned, fear of being rejected, you’ve probably got love wounds!
To find out your love wounds ask yourself: What stories am I telling myself around love?
Have your partner examine their love wounds too. The next step is for you and your partner to share what your love wounds are.
[Read: “The One Question You Should Ask in Your Relationship.”]
Relationship Mistake to Avoid #3
The conversation you need to be having is the one you keep avoiding. Yes, you know what I am talking about! Being able to talk about your feelings is what creates a deeper connection between your partner and you.
With so many distractions, we often don’t take the time to talk about what is going on inside of us. Instead we make the assumption that our partner should automatically know how we feel and how to support us.
Set aside at least one time per week, totally undistracted (no phones!), to chat to your partner about what is going on inside their head, what they need from you, what isn’t working and what is working. Here you are demonstrating a willingness to listen and accommodate—your partner will (hopefully) reciprocate this courtesy as you ask your partner to listen to your own thoughts.
Relationship Mistake to Avoid #4
Are you listening to simply reply back and have your opinion or story heard? That is called passive listening and it is listening without presence. It’s like constantly looking for the small break in a conversation to jump right in and share.
When you’re having a conversation, watch out for the ways you use “I” and “me.” Is what you’re saying relevant to the conversation, or can it be saved for later? This is especially important when a partner is being vulnerable with you. If they are speaking to their struggle, the last thing you want to do is jump in and say “ME!”
The opposite of passive listening is active listening. This is when you listen with presence (without interrupting) and at the end of their sharing, you are able to repeat back what you heard.
Use these as guidelines: “What I heard you say is …” “Am I correct in hearing you say …”
Sometimes a partner is just looking to be heard—not every conversation is an advice session. Don’t feel you need to add anything to the conversation aside from your presence and an attentive ear.
When you practice active listening, you allow the person who just spoke to feel seen, heard, and validated in their existence.
[Try: “19 Affirmations For Listening.”]
Relationship Mistake to Avoid #5
Not Spending Quality Time Apart
Esther Perel, a psychotherapist who focuses on marriage, has said that desire needs space to flourish. Spending quality time apart is just as important as spending quality time together.
As they say: “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
Spending time apart allows you to miss your partner and be rewarded by a rush of those happy hormones when you see each other again. A good exercise for you and your partner could be to plan a solo vacation together—sounds contradictory, but it’s not. Take time to help one another plan each other’s vacation. You may find yourself feeling grateful for your partner as you lay out on the beach or get a facial at the spa. When you return from your trip the reunion will be even more electric.
Mistakes are inevitable in a relationship—but it’s important to stay mindful of the ones that can be avoided. Which one of these relationship mistakes to avoid do you feel like you could change with your partner?
Go forth and create the grand, supportive, sexy relationship you desire.
Keep reading about relationships: “3 Relationship Mistakes to Avoid (And Solutions for When You Can’t)”