Making mistakes in relationships is normal – it happens to all couples, all families. But, making the same mistakes over and over will eventually destroy all your relationships. Here are the five most common relationship mistakes that many women repeatedly make.
“One makes mistakes; that is life. But it is never a mistake to have loved.” – Romain Rolland. The one relationship mistake you’re not making is loving your husband or boyfriend as best you’re able. What this means is different for every woman. What does it mean to you?
I used this argument (“it’s never a mistake to have loved”) when I convinced my husband we should adopt a second dog. That’s one relationship mistake I make over and over: I think I’m right about something, I push and push until I get my way…and sometimes I end up regretting it.
“You can never have too much love in your life,” I told my husband when he came home from two weeks away in the field. “It’s almost never a mistake to embark on a relationship with a creature of the furry kind.” I’d brought a second dog home on a fostering trial run. I wanted to see if she’d fit into our home, with our other dog and cat. My husband wasn’t keen on getting a second dog, but I was keening to adopt her. So I made one of the relationship mistakes that make women a cliche: I cried. I wanted to adopt the dog that bad – I wasn’t deliberately trying to manipulate my husband. I really was sad, and the thought of not keeping her made me cry.
The crying itself isn’t a relationship mistake. My mistake was letting my emotions dictate a major household decision. We kept the dog…and if I knew then what I know about this particular dog, I would’ve thought extra long and hard about adopting her. So it wasn’t just a relationship mistake I made, it was a big decision that affected our health, finances, vacation time, and entire household.
As I said, making mistakes in relationships is normal and even healthy. Making mistakes means we feel secure and able to take risks. It’s just making the same relationship mistakes over and over that’s a problem.
5 Relationship Mistakes You Might Be Making
Note that cheating, lying and deliberately hurting your husband or boyfriend aren’t on this list because they’re not mistakes. Cheating by having emotional and physical affairs aren’t relationship mistakes. They’re serious problems and betrayals, and need to be taken seriously.
If you make different relationship mistakes, feel free to share them below. I have a feeling you’re not alone!
1. You don’t take care of your appearance
I’m fit and healthy, but I have to admit I dress like a hobo (as my husband puts it). The thing is, I work from home as a writer, so I rarely need to put on good clothes. We have a dog, and I walk her four times a day. Sometimes I forget to wash my face or even brush my teeth until noon – and I think this is a mistake.
And the experts agree: “Every husband has seen his wife take an hour to get dressed and put her make-up on before going to a wedding or a party,” says marriage coach Mort Fertel. “Yet, what do most women do before their husband comes home? Put sweatpants on and take the make-up off! The most important person is not the acquaintance you’re going to see at a party…it’s your husband! Make yourself beautiful for him before he comes home.”
The same goes for husbands and boyfriends, of course! It’s not just about what you wear, it’s how fit and healthy you are.
2. You ignore money issues
“Often, when couples argue about money, it’s not money that’s the problem,” says William Harley, PhD, author of His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage. “Instead, the money fights are a by product of relationship neglect.”
It isn’t a surprise that letting financial problems get out of hand is a mistake in a relationship. But, it’s interesting to note that there is more to an average everyday “money fight” than meets the eye. In The Best Way to Stop Fighting About Money, I share a great tip for avoiding this mistake in relationships: get joint bank accounts.
3. You avoid conflict
It’s not a relationship mistake to fight; it’s a mistake to let conflict go unresolved, undiscussed, unaired. “When couples get together, one of their main jobs is reconciliation about conflict,” says researcher Ernest Harburg of the University of Michigan. “Usually nobody is trained to do this.”
His research reveals that couples who suppress anger are twice as likely to face early death as those who express it. Don’t make this mistake in relationships – make sure you learn how to express your anger, disappointment, stress, and other negative emotions.
4. You take your relationship for granted
“The #1 complaint amongst husbands is that they feel unappreciated or taken for granted,” says marriage coach Mort Fertel. “Get a journal from a stationary store and write down what you appreciated about your husband each day. What did your husband do today that was good? What quality did you notice about him? Write your observations. Then, share one with him. Don’t let a day go by without mentioning to your husband something you appreciated about him today.”
Of course, the same goes for husbands! I love this tip on how to avoid making mistakes because it helps you stay positive and optimistic about life, not just your relationship.
5. You criticize your husband
In my article about not having motivation to work on relationship problems, I describe how two friends are sick and tired of their marriages. I’ve known both women for several years, and have listened to their criticisms and complaints for the whole time.
It’s a mistake to let criticism, contempt, stonewalling and defensiveness creep into your relationship. “If these negative behaviors exist in a marriage, research shows that the chances are much higher for divorce,” says marriage and family therapist Lisa Brookes Kift.
Are you critical of your husband to other people? To him? Do you roll your eyes behind his back, or even to his face? These are relationship mistakes that will tear you apart.
Do you make these mistakes, too? It’s important to be aware of the relationship mistakes we make…because if we don’t know they exist, we can’t fix them. And then we’re hooped!