8 Relationship Mistakes Everyone Makes


One of the biggest issues I've found with relationships — in practically all of them — is that there are cracks in every façade; we just don't like to talk about them.

Even though it's not the easiest topic of conversation to engage in, I'm a staunch advocate for laying our problems out on the table with people we trust. Among close friends, we can talk about what's going on in our lives, receive feedback and advice, and most importantly, recognize that we're not alone in the problems we face with our significant others. After all, the truth will set you free, right?

In lieu of such grand admissions, let's back it up and start smaller, by identifying the universal relationship issues we all face but rarely talk about.

See also: 20 Money Mistakes Everyone Makes But No One Talks About

1. You Do Things Just to Please Your Partner

There's nothing wrong with doing something nice for your partner, even going out of your way at times to make them happy — consider it a byproduct of being in love. But when you start doing things just to please your partner – and you're doing them excessively – you run the risk of being disappointed, even more so when your proactiveness isn't warranted or requested. Eventually, you'll start to notice an imbalance in your relationship – you're pleasing your partner in various ways and he or she isn't following suit. It may be a situation that you created though, so how can you really be mad at that?

As a result, according to Michele Fabrega, love, intimacy, and sexuality coach for men, we can feel resentful when we start to expect our partner to make sacrifices for us.

"It can end up being a sort of ledger that we keep inside our heads, a competition of sorts," she says. "Instead, I like to invite my clients to really ask themselves, before they say yes to their partner's request, 'Is this something I can feel good about?' And if not, I invite partners to collaborate, not compromise."

2. You Become Codependent on One Another

We've all seen it happen to our friends: They start dating and spending more time together until eventually they can't spend time apart. That's not healthy, and if you're in this type of relationship, it's time to reevaluate your priorities.

"Some people don't allow themselves to sail through the infatuation stage, and because of this, some couples tend to lose their own lives and become intertwined in each other's," explains dating and life coach Annah Rose. "Their lives then become solely about each other."

Becoming codependent on one another is bad habit for any relationship, but especially one in the early stages. Even when you're trying to build the relationship in the beginning, each partner needs his or her space. Without breathing room, tensions eventually will mount, likely ending in a blow-up when someone feels smothered.

3. You Snoop on Each Other

"Once someone snoops they are labeled as 'crazy,' but here's the thing — in this day and age of social media and smartphones, more people than not are snooping. This becomes one of the unhealthiest traits to bring into a relationship," says Rose.

Let's dissect that. On one hand, most people in a relationship are guilty of snooping in some form of another; most likely as a result of something that raised their suspicion, but it's important to note here that it's not just women; men are doing it — in their own way, and whether they'd like to admit it or not. Secondly, snooping is never good for the relationship. People rarely get away with it, but it also signals a bigger problem — a complete lack of trust. Maybe that's justified, but I can tell you from firsthand experience that once this habit is established, it won't stop, and neither will the activity that facilitated it. In that case, you're both going to have a hard road trying to keep that relationship together… because it probably should've ended a long time ago.

4. You Blame Each Other When Things Go Wrong

Nobody likes to admit they're wrong or at fault for whatever goes awry in a relationship, and that's never clearer than when romantic partners are in an argument. Accusations fly and fingers are pointed in an attempt to absolve oneself from responsibility for whatever you're fighting about. As we all know, however, that gets us nowhere, and Fabrega offers an alternative solution.

"Relationships are complex and the way each of us responds or reacts to life situations are infinitely unique," she says. "Rather than go into blame or criticism, I like to encourage people to bring compassionate curiosity to the situation. What am I feeling? What happened here? What led to this outcome? What can I learn from this situation? What do I wish I had done differently? If partners can come together and be on the same team to address a problem, they can be part of the solution. This is key relationship skill that partners can strengthen over time."

5. You Try to Change the Other Person

I think we've all watched enough Oprah and Dr. Phil to know that we can't change our partners, no matter how hard we try. It's a fool's errand that will end up in heartbreak, so it's best to accept your partner's flaws, or move on.

You also should do some soul searching of your own. If you want your partner to change so badly, they're probably not right for you. Find someone else who more closely embodies what you want in a man or woman, if only so you're not making your partner feel like they're not good enough all the time. That's not fair to them, and you're doing what's best for you either.

6. You Aren't Empathetic Enough With One Another

When two people love each other, they want the best for each other. Which is why it's interesting and confusing and sad that when couples argue with one another, they can be downright evil. Passion has a way of taking over sometimes, but it's important to remember that there's no taking back what you say to one another.

"Humans are pretty self-centered and we rarely look at another person's circumstances," says couples' therapist and relationship podcaster Eboni Harris. "If your partner says something hurtful, think about times that you have used the wrong words and it led to an argument. Wouldn't you want the chance to explain what you meant in a safe conversation before your partner jumped down your throat? If you know that your partner loves you and is not in the habit of purposefully hurting you, give them an opportunity to explain."

7. You Withhold "Uncomfortable" Information

Here's something to chew on: We communicate more than ever with text messages, social media, dating apps, etc., but we rarely talk about anything worthwhile anymore. That goes double for those touchy subjects that we've always had a hard time discussing, and not being forthcoming with our partners can create a wedge in the relationship that sometimes drive us apart.

8. You Create Impossible Expectations

We've all pretty much been brainwashed to believe that we deserve the perfect partner. You know the one: amazing credentials online, they live incredible lives according to their various profiles, have the best families, are well-traveled, neatly dressed, blah blah blah. And physically, they're the ideal specimens — fit, attractive, curves in all the right places, and so on. So, of course, good luck (and God help you) with that!

But as Mitch Kahan, co-founder of the dating app InviteUp, warns, spending too much time cultivating relationships online instead of offline can set up you up for failure, over and over again.

"All the pre-date chatting builds up expectations, possibly to an unreachable level," he says. "The same goes for spending too much time texting your significant other; most people can't compete in person with the version of them you create in your head. Spending weeks chatting online are better served spending time in person where you can get a real feel for your chemistry without the buffer of text communications."

What other relationship mistakes are we making but not talking about? I'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.

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Catherine Basu

Great tips, especially #6 :)