A relationship can begin with just a spark and it can die with an explosion.
Relationships are really quite simple when you understand the core dynamics at play. When you don’t, however, you can drive yourself half insane trying to figure it all out.
Most relationships are heavily laden with expectations. These first show up as romantic fantasy and can often turn into a hostile hostage situation because expectations have the ability to squelch freedom. Further, romance can actually put a relationship in a chokehold until it taps out.
Conversely, romance can also catalyze the beginning of a life-long partnership. A relationship can begin with just a spark and it can die with an explosion.
1. Neglecting to Take Care of your Appearance
While this may sound superficial, the level of pride that you take in your appearance often reflects you inherent values and the attitude that you have towards your relationship. Those who neglect to take care of themselves are essentially revealing a lack of drive or hunger for self-improvement, while also underlining the fact that they are not prepared to make an effort to look nice for their partner. This can slowly eat away at the foundations of a relationship, especially if your partner is extremely motivated to keep fit and take care of the image that they present.
The most asinine and the most applied expectation goes something like, “If you loved me, you would just know.”
Expecting that the amount of love your partner has for you is contingent on how well he/she can read your mind is like saying you are going to play a friendly game of paintball and then bring an AK47 filled with live ammunition.
Someone is going down. That someone is you if you are in relationship with “Love me like this, not that.” That being said, everyone has their own Love Language*. For some people, it is being touched while others show love by giving gifts. Suffice to say, there are several ways to express love and to receive it.
In other terms, contracts are not signed with telepathy. Agreements are not arrived at through staring contests. You have to use your words.
When you go mute and when you go all psychic-hotline on your partner (as in you wish you could just call in, not say anything, and get what you need), your relationship is going to tank.
How about this: If you love someone, you tell them what is going on with you, apply honesty to all situations, and expect the unexpected.
3. Being too selfless
Which sounds ridiculous, but if one person constantly adheres to the others wants and needs without considering their own, the two are not in a relationship. (Depending on the rent situation, this might be more of an indentured servitude.)
Anyone looking for a fulfilling relationship will shy away from this sort of thing. It’s sure nice to have someone on call, but it can get kind of old. Sometimes, it’s best to speak up.
4. Jumping the gun
This scenario might sound familiar to you. You meet a guy and instantly hit it off. You go out a few times and realize that he basically has every quality you want in a man. You don’t want to do it….but you can’t help but think how perfect it would be if it worked out and you ended up together. You think about all the crazy coincidences that lead to you meeting him (if there weren’t any, you’ll find some to make this a great “how we met” story!), and feel certain that this union was written in the stars. You’re not even official with him yet, but you could never conceive of dating another guy…that would almost be like having an affair! You’re sure this guy is the one, you’re positive of it. You have an amazing time together, you talk for hours, things are great except…you’re on two completely different pages!
What’s the harm, you might wonder, it’s not like he knows you’ve already picked out the china pattern for the wedding reception. Oh but he does. They always do. Men are not the boneheads sitcoms would have you believe. They are very much in tune with the vibe and energy a woman gives off. And when a man feels that pressure, even on the slightest level, he will back off. When this happens, you will of course start to panic and will cling even tighter, thinking you’d be a fool to let the love of your life slip away! The more you push, the more he pulls away until there’s nothing left but the memory of him and the pain of thinking what might have been.
5. Stockpiling Negative Emotions
Relationships are not always easy, as even genuine soul mates can encounter periods of turbulence, conflict and even infidelity. While the power of love can go a long way towards resolving these individual issues, however, it is crucial that you do not stockpile negative emotions in a way the breeds resentment, jealously or paranoia. If you continue to harbor negative feelings after a relationship breakdown, you must communicate this openly and ensure that they are resolved before you move on.
6. Loss of passion
In old school terms, as in early-century Greek, the word passion would be expressed aspathos. Translate that into new school terms and we are talking about suffering. In that sense, how could loss of passion be a bad thing? I will tell you.
How hot is desire? Lust has a rage to it. Sexual drive has a hunger to it. Even orgasm means “small death” which is expressed by the French as “la petite mort”. Simply, suffering is sexy.
There is nothing like predictability and routine to quell suffering and put a damper on passion. I’m sure there is a bundle of relationship experts and self-helpers out there that are primed and ready to tell you how to keep passion alive. I however am going to let you in on a secret. Passion dies.
Everything dies. Then it comes back to life again. Your relationship is headed for certain death if you hold onto passion like parents who are about to send their last born off to college. It’s going to go. Let it. Or tank your relationship instead.
Try this on for size: Feel your pulse. That is the rhythm of life. It expands and contracts. It ends and begins. You set the rate concurrent with your activity level and participation.
7. Dropping your life for him (Or her!)
This is another common relationship trap. You start seeing a guy, you spend more and more time together, and suddenly, he is just about the only thing you have going on in your life. You ditch your friends for him, don’t go to the gym as often, don’t go to book club. The reason this guy was drawn to you in the first place is because you had a well-rounded, fulfilling life that you enjoyed. You can’t expect to abandon that and have him feel the same level of attraction and intrigue towards you.
Men have an innate fear of being tied down. It doesn’t mean men are anti-relationships or commitment-phobes, it’s just the nature of a man to want to go out and spread his seed, if you will. When you abandon all the other areas of your life, it forces him to fill in the empty space and be the sole source of your happiness and fulfillment. That is way too much pressure for anyone to deal with! Also, if you give up all these things for him and come to expect him to do the same for you, he will begin to resent you for reigning in on his freedom.
The point is, don’t stop being who you were before the relationship once you’re in a relationship. Keep your life balanced, fun, and fulfilling with many sources of happiness.
8. Talking in a condescending tone when discussing something they don’t understand too well,
or something you think they don’t understand too well. Condescension is the ultimate relationship ruiner–it implies you’re not on the same plane.
Oh love with your promises and endless supply of inspiration to poets and country musicians alike; thanks for giving judgment a bad name. Love’s promise to be unconditional is bull-shit. It is a nice place to visit, but no one lives there. We all judge each other.
Here’s the kicker—being judged by the one you love can feel like betrayal. It is a violation of the contract in which you clearly stated in clause four, paragraph thirteen, “You will love me and accept me no matter what.”
However, the fine print reads, “Yes, but I don’t have to like it.”
The wisest response to being judged comes from the mouth of babes, “You’re not the boss of me!” Judgment tanks a relationship dependent on how willing you are to swallow it whole. Spitting it out is usually the better option.
Reflect on this: When it comes to judgments it is better to spit than to swallow.
10. Complaining at the wrong time
Like, if you’re out having a great time at a really nice restaurant in the West Village, and all of a sudden you make a huge scene because it’s taking 5 minutes longer than necessary to get the check back.
Totally avoidable, self-inflicted evening ruiners such as the one described above sometimes reveal the fatal flaw that is you–and can make a guy or girl run of the hills of bachelorhood faster than you can say “but he was kind of a dick, right?”