Dating Experts Share Tips For Avoiding Common Pitfalls Early In A Relationship
Every relationship teaches us a lesson - even if that lesson is that you suck at picking people to be in a relationship with. Ideally, we'd take these lessons with us as we move on into new ones. But if you guys are anything like me you've probably forgotten to do that a time or two.
No worries! One Reddit user asked:
What common mistakes do people make early on in a relationship that causes issues further down the line?
And yeah we're pretty much going to print these all out and tape them around our crib for reminders.
Find Your Happy
Don't be with someone that makes you unhappy. Good friend of mine got out of a 15 year relationship (10 years of it being marriage) at 51. 3 years later he gathered new hobbies, opened himself up to more social events, made more friends, got a better job, and is very happy with a lady for a year now. We have one shot on life, don't trudge along with someone.
It is really important to be yourself, otherwise you'll be acting your whole life whenever you're near your partner.
There's a difference between improving yourself and living a lie, though. I feel like a healthy relationship is one where you do improve yourself. But only because you want to and the person you're with is someone that you can learn from and that can help you achieve those goals. I want to be a better person for my girlfriend because I respect her and want her to have the best possible me that I can be. And she feels the same way toward me. But we've always been ourselves with each other.
Not talking about things. Don't hold that sh!t in - the one you can be open and honest with (that doesn't run) is the one for you.
This would be my #1 piece of advice.
Nobody breaks up over dirty dishes, or shoes laying around the house, or overspending. These are all stress moments that have been building momentum over the course of weeks or years. When you decide to avoid talking about things that hurt you or made you feel unloved or disrespected, you're building a bomb. It will explode one day and it will be terrible.
Commit to being respectfully honest with each other from the start. Learn how to hear uncomfortable things without getting defensive. Listen to each other. You'll build great habits and soon all the uncomfortable moments will be quick and easy, relatively speaking.
Lying about dealbreakers early on because they want the relationship to work and hope the other party will change their mind.
- S/He says they do not want children, or that they absolutely want 3+ kids. You disagree but hope to change their mind.
- S/He says they are deeply ir/religious and intend to live a lifestyle consistent with that, including with the rearing of their children in accordance with said religion/lack of religion. You do not share these beliefs and think they will or can be swayed to eventually chill out and tone it down a bit.
- S/He was raised in a manner that women are the house keepers and stay-at home caretaker/wives/mothers, meanwhile you are more modern and expect a more equal household both in chores and providing income for the household.
- S/He is deeply dedicated to their job or a goal (like traveling the world) and wants you to do these things with them when you would rather stay settled down and not (or vice versus).
You should not lie about who you are, what's important to you, or your life goals and ambitions, nor should you expect that your partner will change those same things about themselves. If you do and you compromise on those things or expect them to compromise on those things at best you might find yourselves resentful of each other, or worse, getting a divorce after years of dating and marriage over something that cannot be compromised (e.g. children).
Discuss their relationship problems with others rather than with each other.
There's nothing wrong with sharing your problems or venting. Sometimes it's great to get a different perspective but if you're looking to save the relationship always go back to discussing things with your partner instead.
If you think he/she isn't good enough for you just end it don't ask for anyone's approval, end it mutually on a good note and wish your partner good luck.
Infatuation. I actually struggle with this, and it's a pain to manage. Basically putting that person on a pedestal will lead to really bad things overtime. It sets oneself up for manipulation, disappointment, and unhappiness.
If you put your partner on a pedestal, you are forcing them to look down on you.
Don't Ignore The Facts
When we first met I ignored the fact that she was super family oriented and wanted a simple life and for me to work a 9-5 and to move to her hometown.
She ignored that I wanted to keep working as a traveling musician and other artistic gigs. Which put me on the road away from her 1-2 weeks once a month or sometimes more. I was also a part-time bartender only because it paid so well.
She told me what she wanted, I told her what I wanted, and then we pretty much ignored, blamed and resented each other for not compromising enough. Distance grew, hostilities, fighting, frustration, confusion. We went over a year without any intimacy. Affairs happened. When we tried to reconcile she said she changed from the person she was when we met and wanted me to change, too.
It was clear we had basically gotten married and immediately began moving in different directions. We really thought love was enough and that would solve all our problems. It doesn't work like that. We were naive as hell. I'm 35, she's 29. We should've plotted out what we wanted in life and made 100% sure the other was on board, and if not, we should've separated.
But, now we have a beautiful child. I'm even at her house right now and our divorce was finalized just last week. Still very close, just need different things the other can't offer. It is sad, for our child. But we're committed parents. It's just always better to communicate exactly what you want your life to look like, and agree on it.
Idealization And Reality
So this is going to be purely from personal experince but it is something I am working on with my therapist as it has been something ive done in two of my relationships that ended up hurting me in the end.
There needs to be a difference and a defining line of your idealization of the relationship or person in question, and the reality of it. Let me explain.
I see this girl and ive been trying to date her for seven years. Over the course of that time, even though I got romantically involved with other people, I created this idea of her in my head that she is beyond reproach and just a perfect fit. When we finally get together, I go overboard with her and we get too serious too fast. Of course getting so many emotions off of someone is heavy, and when she needs some "me time" I start freaking out thinking I've done something to royally f*** up and start having negative thoughts about myself. I put her on a pedestal and now I think im not worthy of being with her and get insecure. This all leads to a negative and dark trail of thoughts and you end up destroying the relationship before the good part even began and you just re-affirm yourself that you weren't "good enough" for her in the first place. Rinse repeat.
Just be proud of who you are, be calm and loving and realize that someone chose to be with you because of who you are. Let things happen organically and don't dwell too much in fantasies.
Your Obligation To Tell
Relationships are all about compromise, so what if there is something that you will never ever under any circumstance compromise on? Then you have tell the other person. They need to know! I don't care if it's business, personal, or romantic. Please for the love of god, tell your partner before anyone gets invested.
I tried to make a relationship work once after a girl cheated on me. Shocking, but it didn't work out. After that I decided, I'd never do that again. It's something I can't work through no matter the reason. So before I got involved with my very serious girlfriend now, I said "I'm a pretty laid back guy, I can compromise on just about everything, but if you cheat on me. this relationship is over. There is no discussion. There is no working it out. There is also no argument. I don't care the reason, I don't care who. I'm not leaving upset, I'm just leaving."
People think "Well it was just one stupid thing, I'm sure we can work through it!" And that's when relationships go past the point they should not. When one party violates the others personal code, but the offended party didn't voice it before hand, so how could they have known?!
Save yourself from wasting your time. When someone tells you, "I'll marry you, but I'll never want kids" or the opposite "I'll have kids with you, but I don't believe in marriage" you need to listen! and you need to ask yourself, "Am I okay with never having that? or never doing that?" If you're not then you need to leave.
So think long and hard about what you can compromise on and what you can not. I don't care what it is! It could be anything! And when you've thought about what you will never compromise on, then you have an obligation to tell your partner before you enter a serious relationship.
Don't Fake It
Faking orgasms. SERIOUSLY. If you start doing this early on and your partner thinks exactly what they're doing is satisfying you, how can you expect them to ever get it right
Make Your Own Rules
It all depends on the couple. My wife and I had sex on our first date, moved in together after dating for 3 months, then didn't get married until we were together for 9 years.
The best thing you can do is be open and honest with each other, and always be yourself, so don't do the opposite of those things I guess.
Lie to themselves about the relationship. Lie to person they are in a relationship with. Lie about what they want in a relationship.
Always be honest in a relationship. Always make it clear what you want, what you don't want and what is a deal breaker. You will save yourself and the other person a lot of time.
That tiny, insignificant, slightly annoying quirk about them that you don't feel justified in pointing out because everything else is perfect?
Yeah, that's going to be the cause for screaming matches down the road. Point it out now and come to some resolution, even if your resolution with your partner is to just deal with it. Save yourself some heartache and say something now.
That doesn't mean you just throw the relationship away. If this person that I love were to die suddenly, would I think about the silly things they did with fondness and nostalgia, or not? SO leaves empty cups everywhere, like that kid in Signs. It drives me bananas. But if something happened to him, I know I'd see a tidy nightstand by my bed and remember a time when it would have been crowded with cups and be so sad. Take it or leave it.
The take it pile is usually bigger than you imagine.
You Need More Than Physical
Ignoring things because of physical attraction or good sex. Both of those things will diminish with time and then you'll be left dealing with cons with no pros. Go for a well rounded relationship.
Immediately starting to take care of their SO. If this is how you show affection, great! But make sure they appreciate it and they aren't just getting comfortable doing less.
Not getting out of the relationship when you notice a red flag really early. Lots of relationships end because of red flags you noticed on the first date. "You know, it's funny; when you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags."
Early, Often, Always
Communicate everything, early, often, always. It's the only way to know you're compatibility. Lack of talking is what killed my marriage to my best friend. Plus, if you have issues, work on them. Don't just let your mess sit there unattended, go to therapy.
Keep Your Friends
Not keeping up friendships and relationships with people other than your significant other. You can't be solely dependent on one person to be your social and emotional support. You need to maintain friendships, interests, and activities outside of your relationship. Finding the balance might be tough, but it's crucial. You don't want to break up with someone you dated for 3 years and realize you don't have any close friends anymore because you spent the last 3 years ignoring requests to hang out and be social with them.
Years ago I had a situation where a close friend's boyfriend had feelings for me. I barely knew the guy and had never done anything to encourage his feelings, but it destroyed my friendship with his girlfriend.
When I eventually confronted him, he literally could not comprehend that I never had feelings for him. The problem wasn't the he idealized me, the problem was he didn't see me as a person with my own wants and needs. He had feelings for me, and wanted me to have feelings for him, so every interaction we had was tainted with his idea that those feelings existed. He wasn't being real about what the situation actually was.
It is okay to think someone is the cat's pajamas. To some extent, that is a natural part of being in love. It doesn't mean they look down on you or that you don't value yourself. What is a problem is shutting yourself off from reality and from actually knowing someone because you've already decided who/what they are.
You have to be able to honestly evaluate and RE-evaluate situations or you'll end up living in a whole made-up world and get really hurt when reality eventually kicks in.
The Break Up Threat
Never use the threat of 'breaking up' as a weapon to achieve something.
Don't even joke about it.
Only bring up the notion if you're willing to lose the other person. Once that possibility is out in the open, its a bitch to get back in.