1. Putting the needs of your partner first before yourself
There’s a fine line between acknowledging your partner’s need and prioritizing theirs before your own. Every. Single. Time. It can be draining when your sense of purpose in the relationship and even in other life aspects revolve around making sacrifices to satisfy your partner’s need. One example is when you put your job on hold (or completely quit) to accommodate your partner. You won’t grow. You’ll likely to lose your self-worth and identity. You’ll be codependent, and it’s never healthy.
The idiom “you’re the icing on the top of my cake” only works if the cake is great in itself, right? So nurture yourself first before you nurture others.
2. Offering too much help
Okay, being helpful and supportive, like when your partner is drowning with his/her work, is nice.
You can offer your help with his/her paperwork or initiate running some errands for him/her to lighten your partner’s load. But when you constantly do these things, chances are that you’re not being helpful – you are discouraging them from learning to stand on their own.
3. Thinking it’s your responsibility to make your partner happy
When your partner is feeling down, you do everything in your power to make her smile and laugh. You crack jokes. You cook comfort food. You even dance like a weirdo to see a hint of his/her teeth. Sure, you can do these things, but don’t expect him/her to change her mood instantly after you do. Happiness is a personal choice an individual makes, not a responsibility of others. It is something you have no control over, and it’s okay. The best thing you can do is be with them.
4. Always asking your partner to be optimistic
“You know what? Brush it off. Life is beautiful and there are a lot of things to be grateful for. Think positive” – this seemingly “uplifting” approach may end up sending the message that your partner’s emotional reactions are unreal and you’re being insensitive about them.
Unpleasant emotions like sadness, fear, and anger are parts of becoming “human.” They, too, should be expressed. Instead of saying vague terms like “cheer up” or “think positive”, it would be better to lend an open ear and don’t stop your partner from expressing vulnerability.
5. Emotional blackmailing
“Do this and I swear, I’ll leave you.”
Constantly threatening to end your relationship is never sweet, even if you say these things in your sweetest and most charming voice. Though your intention is to address relationship issues, it won’t hide the fact that you’re trying to instill fear, obligation, and guilt. What it usually does is not keep someone faithful – it makes someone really clever at hiding.
6. Avoiding conflicts persistently
You may have a quite valid intention for avoiding an argument, however, it is rarely beneficial for the relationship. Keeping conflicts under the rug, for now, leads to resentment in the long run when these issues are left unaddressed. Talking about issues, no matter how small or big they are, with the intention of resolving them demonstrates trust in your partner and in the relationship. Instead of avoiding them, experts suggest both parties to remain assertive.
7. Lying to spare your partner’s feelings
The gravity of lies can go from making your partner believe his new hairdo suits him (even if it doesn’t) to hiding you had an affair three times over the course of two weeks. A lie will always be a lie – at the end of the day, you end up hurting someone every time you omit the truth. Trusting someone is a big decision. Sometimes, the mere act of lying is more hurting than the lie itself, because you’re crushing your partner’s personal decision to trust you, to expect authenticity from you.
8. Posting relationship details on social media
Posting stuff on social media can either work for or against your relationship. You can use the digital platform to express how much you love your partner by sharing your pictures together and letting the whole world to see. But if you document your private moments in order to gain attention and seek validation (likes, comments, etc), then you might be better off without social media. Some couples even give their so-called “followers” access to their relationship’s dirty laundries by putting their arguments on a broadcast.
Your relationship is a part of your private life, so you might as well keep it that way.
9. Saying you can’t live without each other
While it’s obviously a hyperbole, but the heart of it is still lethal. Implying that someone wouldn’t be able to live (or would commit suicide) when his/her partner leaves him/her manifests a severe flaw in the individuality of the obsessive one. Such thinking puts way too much pressure on the partner to be this “perfect” person for his/her significant other.
10. Normalizing jealousy
Jealousy is romanticized in our culture. Some people think it’s “cute” and “caring” when a guy prohibits a girl from wearing short dresses at work, or when a girl interrupts a conversation between her guy and a female colleague to show dominance. It’s not okay, especially if you have to (always) cuddle your overly-attached partner or use puppy eyes for him/her to gain approval.
Excessive jealousy is selfishness, don’t sugarcoat it. It implies lack of trust and respect to one’s privacy. It even connotes domination and control, which isn’t vital to a relationship.