6 Mistakes That Kill a Great Relationship
Have you ever wondered why some relationships thrive while other flounder? Maybe you’ve even evaluated your own failed relationships vs. your successful ones. I know I have. When my 13-year marriage ended I justified that I did everything I could to save it and we just grew apart. But having time and space has made me realize it was so much more than that. I sought therapy as a hail mary to save the relationship, or did I? I sometimes wonder if I wanted the therapist to side with me, to share with my husband that it was all his fault, the demise of our relationship was for him to own, and I got the gold star for being the model wife. I realize that I had 100% responsibility for my half of the relationship.
Working with thousands of couples I’ve found these 6 mistakes I see couples make that ruin their relationship and what you can do to insure you don’t make theses mistakes and kill your relationship.
Mistake # 1
Your life has become predictable. Are you just going through the motions? You go to work come home, have dinner, or watch TV before falling exhausted and depleted into bed. There isn’t much variance or excitement happening. You don’t have much to look forward to and it’s almost feels like Groundhog Day. You know the movie with Bill Murray where he wakes up every day and it’s the same day over and over again. You may just look forward to that annual vacation you take with your family. To live 51 weeks out of the year in boredom and stagnation only to celebrate life one week out of the year is NOT living.
Challenge yourself and your partner to try to do something different occasionally. Think outside the box even if it is getting dressed up in fancy clothes on a Tuesday night to head to an average restaurant for dinner. What will they think? Or the reverse, do a good will date. Head to your local thrift store and you each have a budget of $10 to pick out an outfit for each other and you must wear whatever your partner picks out. Put it on in the dressing room and then head to dinner. The fun part is watching the staff’s wonderment in why you’re wearing a Christmas vest in July. It’s a hoot.
Mistake # 2
You stopped dating each other. Your date night is relegated to dinner which is boring and predictable. You frequent the same restaurants and are creatures of habit. But it’s so comfortable to go to familiar spots for dinner. You can’t remember the last time you went on a real date, a doing date, an experience. You fantasize about the good old days before kids and the busyness of life when your partner would ask you on a date and you had no idea what you were doing or where the night may take you. The anticipation of what would transpire gave you goose bumps and your tummy felt like it was filled with butterflies of excitement of what was to be.
What causes those butterflies anyway? Is it possible to have them after the new love phase has passed?
We get those butterflies when we were excited with anticipation and maybe a little bit of fear. Fear of the unknown. Does your date like you as much as you like them? Will you make it to first base or a home run tonight? Will they like the experience? There are so many things that increase excitement and desire, and planning a date for your love is an easy way to fan the flames of love.
Mistake # 3
Conversations are relegated to work, kids, and logistics. While at your favorite local restaurant you frequent you are both surfing the web on your phones or having the same boring conversations about what happened at work that day. You may also talk about the kids or whose taking them to school or activities this week.
Did you talk about these things when you were first dating? You may have talked about your past and your future. Some topics of conversation may have been your hopes and dreams of the future. You may have discussed your bucket list desires. Where do you dream of traveling one day soon or in the future?
Buy a box of table topics or other conversations starters and take a few with you the next time you go out to dinner. Leave your phones at home or in the car and give each other your undivided attention. Maybe be incognito and give yourselves alter egos and a new identity for the night to spice things up.
Mistake # 4
Sex. You can’t remember the last time you had sex. Maybe you’ve noticed that you used to have sex once a day and now your lucky if its once a month. It’s a little bit of a conundrum because you need to be in the mood to desire sex and what makes you in the mood is usually feeling desired or appreciated. But if your love bank account isn’t full then you may feel depleted which makes you less interested in making your partner feel desired and appreciated which brings us back to the original point.
How do you get out of this vicious cycle? You need to connect with your partner and do things that fill their love account to get them in the mood and they need to do things to fill your love account, so you are in the mood.
Then each of you take turns planning something romantic that either starts or ends in the bedroom to spark the flames of love. I love having desert first and what I mean by desert is SEX. Start your night off with sex before dinner or any activity when your too tired or too full to feel sexy.
Mistake # 5
Sweep your irritations and disappointments under the rug. Your partner forgets your anniversary or maybe they don’t notice or appreciate that you spent several hours cleaning up the house because they love a neat and tidy house. When you want to stay up late with friends or go out dancing, they are too tired but have no problem staying out late kicking up their hills with work colleagues or friends. You hold it all inside for weeks or months but then one day you just burst and dump all your resentment and anger for all the things they did or didn’t do that depleted your love account and you end up in a huge fight with zero positive results.
Instead, when something bothers you, really look at how it made you feel. Then when you’re not triggered or upset, ask to speak with your partner and share why/how you feel and what could make you feel better or different in the situation. I also recommend having a monthly check in conversation. You can find more information in our recent blog 3 Ways to Bullet Proof your Relationship.
Mistake # 6
Neither of you express your deepest desires to your partner yet you secretly hope they will somehow just know what’s important to you. You secretly want them to help cook dinner more often or plan a surprise date for the two of you. Maybe you wish they would call you or text you sweet nothings during the middle of the day or bring home flowers just because. Whatever it is I’m pretty sure that your partner desires to see you happy but probably isn’t a mind reader. If you don’t share with them what you need how can they know?
Maybe you’re afraid they won’t act on your requests or maybe you’re afraid that you will seem needy or that you want too much and should be grateful for what you have.
We live in a world of infinite possibilities, and you desire to have the life of your dreams with the person of your dreams and have all your hopes and desires fulfilled right here right now. So, get going and ask for what you want. If you don’t ask, you don’t get!