It probably would have been better if love and relationships were as cut-and-dry as science. Take this ingredient, mix it with this other ingredient and voila, you have the perfect relationship. Unfortunately, this is not the case, and today’s dating culture has left us largely fumbling when it comes to dealing with each other.
Let’s look at a few things that might be ruining your relationship.
1. Keeping score.
You’ve heard about the relationship scorecard in one way or another and without a doubt, have kept one of your own at some point.
This is what happens – one of the people in the relationships does something wrong. Maybe they say something out of line, act in a hurtful manner or do something which the other person doesn’t approve of. But instead of addressing the issue or letting it go, you make it a card that goes into your log with the sole intention of pulling out or using this card at some point in the future.
So, she showed up late to your friend’s birthday party? Why not bring up this incident three years later when she asks you to attend a dinner that you don’t want to?
The above situation, or some variation of it probably sounds familiar to you. The relationship turns into a balancing sheets of rights and wrongs where each person is trying to make lesser mistakes than the other so they can hold the moral high ground. If you’re spending all your time trying to be less guilty than your partner, you are already down a completely wrong road.
How to fix this – Unless some situation is actually related to something that happened in the past, stop bringing it up. If you have a burning problem that you need to talk about, don’t wait until you end up in one of these situations where you can guilt the other person into talking about it. If it really hurt you that much three years ago, you should have talked about it three years ago. Let it go.
2. Being passive-aggressive or trying to drop subtle hints about your desires.
Unless one of you is Charles Xavier, you are probably going to have some situations where your partner cannot magically predict what it is you want. You let the fact that your partner doesn’t have telepathic powers bother you, and then you act weird and drop small insults or jabs during your time together hoping that they will eventually stumble upon your point.
This is indicative of a deeper problem in your relationship. If you are uncomfortable expressing your desires openly and clearly to your partner, maybe you need to address why this is so.
How to fix this – It’s been mentioned before, but it needs to be said again. Your partner doesn’t have magical powers. If you are going through life with notions that being in love people spontaneously telepathic, you are going to create a problems for yourself and your partners. Just tell them what you want. They may not agree, but you can forgo the needless song and dance.
3. Issuing ultimatums.
While the jury is still out about why we have certain behavior patterns, there is one thing they agree on – bringing a ton of neuroses into a relationship is a recipe for disaster. You might have experienced a situation like the following yourself.
One person in the relationship feels slighted in some way, and chooses to put the entire relationship on the line as a way to get the problem solved. For example, instead of telling the other person “I think you’re too judgmental at times,” they say “I can’t be in a relationship with someone who is judgmental all the time.”
This is a form of blackmail, and needless to say, it is extremely harmful to a relationship. If you or your partner believes that the future of the entire relationship hinges on every single decision you make, this creates a lot of stress and resentment that will eventually cripple the relationship.
How to fix this – Being upset at each other is normal. We’re all human, after all. But you need to realize that being in love doesn’t mean being in agreement about every single aspect of your personalities. If you want to be in a stable relationship, you should be able to convey disagreement to each other without feeling like the relationship could end because you did so.
4. Making your partner the center of your universe.
A lot of people exist in a weirdly codependent relationship with their partners. When they are happy, you are happy. When they are sad, you are sad as well. Conversely, some people might expect their partner to share their misery. So if they are having a bad day and their partner seems cheerful, they blame them for not paying enough attention or not being understanding enough. Even though you didn’t convey to your partner what the cause of your misery is, or tried to let them help you, you expect them to be bummed out just because you are. It doesn’t work that way.
How to fix this – You are responsible for your own happiness. Stop putting so much pressure on other people. You are an individual, even if you are in a relationship, and so is your partner. They are allowed to do things that they enjoy without letting you know first. If you’ve ever experienced a situation where someone just saps the joy out of a situation because they are feeling down, you know that they aren’t exactly a picnic to be around. Take responsibility for your own emotions, and set your boundaries. If your partner is developing the aforementioned codependent qualities, let them know that this isn’t acceptable.
5. Being overly jealous, and then rationalizing it to yourself as love.
We’ve all been guilty of this one at some point. We see our partners talking to somebody attractive, or texting someone, and immediately make up an imaginary story line in our heads. We then use this narrative to get angry at our partners and accuse them of cheating or worse yet, snoop around on their phones or emails when they aren’t looking. That anyone would consider this form of psychotic behavior as a form of affection is profoundly stupid. You don’t need to be in a Jerry Springer show to be in love.
How to fix this – It’s easier said than done, but you need to trust your partner. It’s alright to feel jealous once in a while, but you should never let these feelings take over you. If you keep projecting your insecurities onto your partner, you will end up creating the exact situation that you were afraid would happen.
6. Masking your relationship problems with money or gifts.
A lot of people use gifts and expensive trips or dinners as an attempt to mask the very real problems that exist in their relationships. Living in denial never really works out, and it definitely doesn’t work when you want to be in a committed relationships. By pretending the problem doesn’t exist and setting off on an elaborate picnic with your partner instead, you are creating a vicious circle. You won’t really be able to enjoy the trip completely because you will have these nagging doubts, and once you’re back from the trip, the problem won’t disappear magically.
How to fix this – Instead of booking plush seats at the most exotic Italian restaurant in town every time you have a disagreement, how about you actually sit down and talk about it? Don’t use gifts as some sort of emotional currency. You should only give them gifts or expensive things if you really want to because you love them and you want to show your appreciation, not if you have a hidden agenda.
If you’re guilty of some or all of the above things, it’s time for some introspection. Instead of being driven by your emotions and insecurities, ask yourself why you keep doing things that you know are hurting your relationship. Trust your partners enough to be open with them about your issues, and in turn you can have a bond that enriches you beyond your wildest dreams. – Rohit Raut