Relationships are fun and rewarding. They can also be a struggle, heartbreaking, and exhausting. We all make mistakes in relationships. It can be challenging to pick back up and move on when they end.
Failed relationships are hard but a good learning opportunity for future ones. Understanding past mistakes will help improve and protect your future relationships.
Own Your Mistakes
No relationship is going to be perfect. Both you and your partner will likely make mistakes. Feelings can get hurt in those instances. Try to avoid analyzing whether those feelings are valid, and don’t assume irrationality.
Negating feelings or not owning up to your mistake can invalidate your partner. The last thing you want to do is cause more pain in any situation, especially an emotionally charged one. Take responsibility for your role in the situation, and apologize. Leave any defensiveness off the table.
If an apology is warranted, be careful not to throw out a bad one. Apologies can turn into blame real quick. Watch for “but” or “because” in an apology.
Be Authentically You
In the early stages of a relationship, it can be easy to mold yourself into doing or liking things your partner does. This can give off a false reality when creating the foundation of a relationship. Then, when these things no longer appeal to you, they can shock your partner and create turbulence.
The same goes for remaining true to yourself. Don’t dull your quirks or interests in an attempt to win over a partner. For a relationship to thrive, you want someone who is your best friend, lover, and person. You don’t want to sell a false narrative, then wonder why they aren’t buying the real you in the future. If they are your person, they will love your quirks.
Communication Is Key
Anyone can have small talk. In a productive relationship, good communication is key, meaning emotional, difficult, and substantial conversations matter. Not everyone excels at this, and it often takes work, mainly for the fact that it can be uncomfortable. It’s human nature to avoid things that make you uncomfortable, but when it comes to communicating, it can be life or death in a relationship.
Be mindful of your tone and keep aggression to a minimum. Learn to express your feelings rather than hope your partner can mind-read them. Be proactive in having important conversations rather than reactive. And remember to actively listen, so your partner gets the same opportunity to express themselves.
Intimacy Is The Tip Of The Iceberg
Almost everyone has heard of the honeymoon phase of a relationship—sunshine, rainbows, and butterflies. That particular phase does fade, but intimacy should remain intact.
When intimacy becomes strained, it is often due to underlying problems. You might not have known what those are, but it becomes a flag worth paying attention to. Problems can be fixed if caught early and addressed appropriately.
Comparison Is The Root Of All Evil
Don’t compare your relationship to those around you. It can be difficult to do with social media, reality TV, or outside opinions. Even social “norms” play into our subconscious human nature.
Every person is different. Every relationship will be different. You may have been a child of divorce, but that doesn’t mean your relationship will end like that. Your friend may have gotten engaged, married, or pregnant faster than you, but that doesn’t make yours wrong. Social media may tell you that you need to do x, y, and z when you only want to cook dinner at home and watch Netflix with your partner.
Whatever makes you happy is ok. If it doesn’t look like relationships around you, that’s ok, too.
Help May Be Needed
No matter how hard you’ve tried, maybe you’ve had one or more failed relationships. Sometimes, outside support is needed to keep the same mistakes from happening. If you find yourself in this pattern, connect with me for relationship counseling, and let me help you.