If you’re like many of the individuals I help, you’re wondering why your relationships never seem to work out as happily as you intend. Certainly there are relationships that can surprise you in some very unsavory ways, no matter how much foresight you have or how long you’ve been together (think mid-life crisis gone very bad).
However, my experience is that for those who suffer again and again in relationships, there are several key mistakes that they are making…repeatedly. Some of these relationship mistakes are easily avoidable in the beginning, whereas others are mistakes that one makes after getting a little too comfortable.
I have listed 5 relationship mistakes that are probably tripping you up.
Ignoring Your Internal Compass
Your intuition is the single most important tool you have in your dating adventures. Intuition, or what is sometimes referred to as your gut, is “the voice” inside that gives you that intangible information about someone and who they are. More importantly, it provides information about who you are and how you feel with that person.
Your gut communicates to you the vital information that sometimes only your subconscious self can pick up on. This includes how emotionally and physically safe you feel with a person. Learning how to read your intuition reliably can be difficult. It’s a skill that takes practice. However, with some tuning in, you will begin making relationship decisions from a wiser place inside of you.
This is perhaps the single biggest relationship pit-fall and it involves daters placing physical attraction (which can also include financial prowess and social stature) above how you connect to a partner on more emotional levels (which can include spirituality, values and interests).
Am I saying that you shouldn’t be physically attracted the person who lies before you?Goodness, no! However, there is somewhat of an optimal ratio associated with more satisfying relationships. Those who are more equally attracted (physically andemotionally) to his/her partner usually fair the best.
So, if you’ve been pursuing those whom you are physically attracted to, with little attention to the level of emotional attraction, perhaps you should mix it up and start searching with your heart rather than your eyes.
That Lil’ Ol’ Ex
It is completely normal for your ex to pop into your mind when an anniversary passes or you happen to pass by a place that triggers an old memory. Humans are hard-wired to recall memories when cued by your environment.
Stalking your ex on social media sites, intentionally passing by his/her home or frequently visited spots or fantasizing about what it would feel like if he/she would come waltzing back into your life, this is a whole ‘nother story entirely. If you are one foot out and one foot in a past relationship, your current relationship is doomed for failure. Building a healthy current relationship means you have put in the time and energy to move on from the past.
Old Wounds vs. New Upsets
If you’ve lived long enough you’ve probably been wounded in one way or another. Yes, even those with seemingly “normal” childhoods have wounds. Wounds are caused by hurtful, confusing and/or painful experiences in childhood or adulthood. They leave some sort of imprint on you internally. Examples of such experiences can involve losing a loved one, having difficulty with your parent’s divorce, being bullied or rejected by peers, your first major heartbreak or being cheated on. Wounds not only cause painful memories, they may alter how you move forward in your life and in your relationships.
Fast forward to your adult relationships. Ask yourself, “are there instances in which my partner said or did something relatively mild in nature, but I responded with a high level of emotion?” This may be a sign that you are responding more to an old wound rather than a new upset. If so, you will want to take a closer look at what aspects of your past may be getting in the way of your present (and future) relationships.
If you have passed the internal compass, attraction, old wounds vs new upsets and ex test, you now need to focus on not taking this developing relationship for granted. Even couples who have been married for 30+ years will tell you that they have to work at their relationship.
You can avoid getting complacent by making a commitment to demonstrating your interest, appreciation and love on a consistent basis by using words and gestures. It’s also important to continue to be and become the exciting, caring, healthy and adventurous person they fell for. Nothing kills a mistake-free relationship faster than letting a good thing go bad.
You Might Also Like These by MeetMindful On The Good Men Project
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by Dr. Kristen Hick
This post originally appeared at MeetMindful. Reprinted with permission.
Dr. Kristen Hick, Psy.D. is a Clinical Psychologist who specializes in the area of awakened dating and healthy relationships. She is the founder of The Center for Shared Insight, a private psychotherapy practice in Denver where she and her clients focus on Individual Relationship Therapy. Dr. Hick’s expertise lies in helping individuals create healthy, meaningful, and loving relationships with others through healing, strengthening and transforming their most essential relationship, with themselves. Dr. Hick holds a Master’s and Doctoral Degree in Clinical Psychology and is a Community Supervisor for doctoral-level students in the Graduate School of Professional Psychology at the University of Denver. She is a former Associate Professor, Adjunct Faculty member at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. When not helping clients fulfill their personal relationship goals, she enjoys the Colorado outdoors, capturing life through photography, spending time with family and friends, practicing yoga and hopes to one day manage her first unassisted headstand. You can connect with Dr. Hick on her site,Facebook or Google+
Photo: Jonathan Kos-Read/Flickr