Building a healthy relationship can be hard work. Focusing on the right things is key to success. Here are 4 mistakes that we often make that can lead to relationship failures.
1. Not Communicating Expectations
Expectations often lead us to assume how someone will behave. When expected behaviors are not clearly communicated in a relationship, it can lead to disappointment and failure. An example is if you expect to spend all your Fridays with your partner and haven’t expressed that expectation yet, you are likely going to face disappointment.
The Gottman Institute often recommends that couples be open in communicating what they desire and expect to each other. Make sure that your partner knows what you expect in the relationship, and that you have both are able to achieve a mutual agreement. For example, if you would like your partner to make an effort in planning your birthday celebrations, express that clearly to them instead of waiting around and sulk if they fail to meet your standards of expectations.
2. Lack of Trust
According to studies, trust is the number one thing that partners look for in their relationship. Without trust, it is only a matter of time before a relationship crumbles. Trust is as important when you are with your partner as when you aren’t. People who don’t trust their partner have the tendency to create stories in their mind and believe these stories without facts or experiences that can support the story.
Human beings have an inherent fear of uncertainty, and when we feel that our position in a relationship is threatened or not secure, our imagination and anxiety might start spiraling as a thousand ‘what ifs’ flood our brains.
The key to achieving trust in a relationship is for there to be open communication, for all conflict to be resolved calmly, and for partners to be mindful of each other’s feelings. If you expect a partner to trust you enough to tell you everything that goes on in their life, you need to also earn their trust that you’re not going to fly off the handle and act unreasonably in response to what they tell you. We tend not to realise it, but trust is a two-way street that needs to be slowly paved over time.
3. Lack of Compassion
Do you feel like your partner never seems to pay much attention to what you’re saying and tends to brush off any worries that you have? Or do you feel that, despite all the things that you do for the sake of the relationship, it never seems enough for them? If you answered yes to any of these, there might be a lack of compassion in the relationship.
Compassion is our capacity to recognize that someone is suffering or as a need and that we want to help that person by providing attention and energy to be present for that individual. According to Dr. Steven Stosny, founder of Compassion Power, compassion is often present at the beginning of a relationship but slowly declines as the relationship progresses.
The trick is to express compassion towards one another even when there are misunderstandings or conflicts. One way to do this is to always listen to your partner with the goal of understanding his or her perspective first. Then you can express your needs with a clear understanding of your partner’s perspective without blaming or attacking. Being kind when you express something is key to ensuring that you are staying in a compassionate communication that is not increasing the frustration and remaining loving.
4. Lack of Appreciation
Most of us love the feeling of being appreciated. It usually brings a sense of pride and joy but also makes us like the person who appreciates us. The University of Georgia recently published a research that confirmed the expression of gratitude and appreciation was the most important indicator for a couple’s happiness. After a while, couples can find themselves falling in a cycle of demands and negative communication.
The good news is that gratitude can stop this cycle and automatically improve a relationship. The other positive aspect about recognizing the good in others, is that it often leads the other person to recognize the good in you. This behavior has the capacity to bring back the love in one’s heart and share a positive experience in your relationship.