As much as we'd all love for it to be true, relationships aren't like fairytales. Relationships can be tricky and almost all come with some challenges. If you're lucky, you'll notice the red flags before they become too serious. There are the obvious ones like verbal, emotional or physical abuse that are automatic grounds for ending things.
But then there are the less obvious mistakes. The ones that, if left ignored, lead to resentment and could ruin your happily ever after. If you're guilty of any of the below, it's okay. All relationships involve learning from our mistakes and growing.
Forgetting to appreciate your partner and getting lazy with affection/romance
At the beginning of a relationship, you noticed all the kind, sweet things your partner is doing for you and you praised them accordingly. You said you loved each other all of the time and couldn't keep your hands off each other. Once you've been with someone for awhile though, sometimes you tend to get a bit lax when it comes to piling on the affection.
The Fix: When your partner does something sweet for you, acknowledge it! Tell them how much you love them and what they mean to you. Create little routines, like always kissing them goodbye or hugging them when they get home and add in little things, like holding hands, giving them a little head massage during Netflix time or even just randomly touching throughout the day.
No one wants to fight, so sometimes it's just easier to sweep things under the carpet to keep the peace. The problem with doing that is that the problem will continue to fester which will ultimately end up in an argument anyway.
The Fix: You just have to communicate with your partner. If the situation is something you can't let go of then you need to speak up - its hard but it's worth it. Otherwise, those little things that bother you will build up and you'll come to resent your partner.
Not taking time for yourself and being too co-dependent
So many people lose their identity in relationships which isn't healthy. It's important to maintain your own independence while also fostering your closeness (yes, it's possible to do both!).
The Fix: Do your own thing every now and then - have your own interests, hobbies and friends and spend time alone as well. You have to be able to stand on your own two feet.
Trying to change and/or control them
There are always going to be things about your partner that will annoy you, especially if you've been together for a significant amount of time. Maybe you wish they were more organised or weren't such a fussy eater. And while it can be tempting to try and mould them to be the same as us, you need to remember why you fell for them in the first place.
The Fix: You have to realise that you can't change or control your partner. Would you like them to treat you like that? Nope, didn't think so.
Making unrealistic promises
When you make unrealistic promises, you'll probably end up eventually breaking them, and breaking promises is a sure-fire way to destroy the trust you've worked so hard to build.
The Fix: Instead of saying "I will never hurt you" say, "I will do my best to never hurt you."
Not communicating changing needs and feelings
Couples either grow apart or grow together. To grow together, you need to keep getting to know each other all the time, month after month, year after year. If you're not regularly checking in with one another on an emotional level, you'll lose your connection.
The Fix: Talk often and discuss big, important things like jobs, interests, family and kids regularly. Support each other during times of growth and change.
Not putting in the work
Relationships can be hard sometimes and they take a lot of effort, compromising and communication to make them work. It's all part of the game. If you get too comfortable in your relationship and you get lazy, you're in for a bad time.
The Fix: There's no other way to say it, you just have to do the work. Sometimes you have to suck it up and do things you don't want to do. If your relationship and your partner is worth it, you'll put the effort in.
Emma is just your average book loving, tea drinking, story writing, narcissistic millennial on an eternal quest for the perfect t-shirt. Ever since she picked up her first copy of Dolly when she was twelve, she always knew she wanted to work in magazines. She would describe herself as a bit of a hopeless romantic with an obsession for true crime and horror and a love for red wine, whiskey or a stiff gin and tonic. When she's not binge watching Netflix or buying things she can't afford online, she spends her weekends trawling through bookstores and eating her way through Brisbane.
He’s hot, funny, smart and seems like the perfect date. You want to get to take things to a deeper level but how can you tell if he wants you or if he just wants you out of your clothes?
He only notices your looks
While it is nice for someone to think you look great, it’s even better when he can also appreciate what’s inside your head as well. Guys who are actually interested in you will compliment you on everything from your manicured nails to your intelligence.
He doesn’t want to ‘date’ you
Dates are for men who want relationships, not for people like him. At the most you might get invited to watch a movie or listen to music- at his house, in his room, with a bed very close by. If you decide you actually want to watch the movie he will suddenly be super tired and will ask you to leave.
He only ever sends you sexual messages asking you to come over
All contact with him has a way of turning sexual quickly. You can tell a lot about a person by his communication skills. The men who are only interested in sex will have a way of turning even the most innocent conversation into something flirty and sexual.
He doesn’t want to introduce you to his friends or family
If he really wanted to make you a part of his life he would definitely introduce you to his friends. By not introducing you, he can easily move on without questions from anyone on his end.
He’s shady AF when it comes to details about his life
The same with meeting his friends and family, the less information he gives you the easier it is for him to play the phantom. When you know almost nothing about him, he can disappear into the night like the ghost he is.
He doesn’t know anything about you
Again- the same logic applies here. The less he asks about you, the less he has to deal with the messiness that comes along with relationships.
If no strings attached is what you want from the guy you’re seeing- great- you’ve found yourself the perfect man. But remember that you are worth more than a booty call or a late night quickie. You deserve a man willing to deal with morning after and messiness.
Do you get frustrated or upset when your partner clams up and runs to their “cave” to be alone? Is your partner’s silence and desire to be alone affecting your relationship?
The Cave and The Field
Regardless of gender, generation or cultural background, when faced with a challenge some people prefer a quiet space to think, reflect on and to work through the challenge. They go into the metaphorical cave to be alone. Other people like to work through their challenges by talking about them with their partner and getting the other person’s input. They stay in the metaphorical open field and share their challenges with their partner. Some people even alternate between the cave and the field depending on the challenge they face.
Please talk to me
In a relationship there can be challenges when two partners have a different preference. One partner will want to talk about the issue (the partner with a field preference), while the other partner will want to think about the issue on their own (the partner with the cave preference).
The partner with the field preference may feel left out, rejected or hurt because the partner with the cave preference does not open up and talk to them about a problem. As a result, the filed partner may run after their significant other and want to follow them into their cave. This will upset the partner with a cave preference and will have them go deeper into their space.
Another frustration for the partner with a field preference is that they will usually notice when there is something concerning the partner with the cave preference. They will notice this before their partner realises something is concerning them because the partner with the cave preference has not yet had the opportunity to reflect and realise that there is an issue.
To further add to the frustration of the partner with a field preference, when the partner with the cave preference comes out of their cave, the partner with the field preference will want to know all about the issue. However, the partner with the cave preference will have dealt with the issue and will have nothing to say to their partner.
Meeting half way
An easy way to end both partners’ frustration is for both partners to identify and respect the different preferences and then to meet each other half way as follows.
The partner with the field preference needs to allow the partner with the cave preference the space to deal with issues in their way, and give them the time to fulfil their need to think about the challenge on their own first. Avoid “pouncing” on the partner with the cave preference when they come out of their cave. The former needs to respectfully and gently check that the latter is fine about the challenge.
Meanwhile, the partner with the cave preference needs to let the partner with the field preference know that they have a challenge to think about and that they are about to go into their cave so that the other partner avoids worrying, and can respect their need to be alone. They must at least have an overview of the issue and assure them that all is well when they come out of their cave.
So how do you get your partner out of their cave? Allow them the time and space to reflect on challenges. The sooner they go into their cave, the sooner they have time to think about things and come out afresh. By understanding the differences and respecting each others’ needs, partners of different preferences can get along more easily and develop an even more fulfilling and lasting relationship with each other.
Dr. Vesna Grubacevic is an author, speaker, media commentator, the founder and Performance Transformation Expert® with award-winning company, Qt. She is the creator of breakthrough behavioural change techniques, holds a PhD, a BEc and has over 35 years’ business experience. She is passionate about helping people to improve their relationships and confidence. Her Amazon best-selling book, Stop Sabotaging Your Confidence, has also been gifted to Hollywood and Australian award winners, nominees, hosts and celebrities. For more free resources on improving your relationships, please visit www.qttransformation.com.
Dating is HARD, right? Even with the addition of apps like Tinder where you literally swipe to indicate interest, the modern dating scene can feel like a minefield. What does this text mean? He cancelled our date, does he really want to reschedule? WHAT DO I WEAR? It feels like there are all these rules, most of which are total BS, so how does the modern woman survive dating? We have some tips.
Dating isn’t a game
If it feels like your potential bae is trying to play games, abort mission. Someone who is genuinely interested in you will not mess with your mind or make you second-guess their intentions.
At first it’s normal to talk about his high-flying job – you did the general exchange of what you do for a living, et cetera. But if he seems to be constantly talking about all the things he can afford because of his fancy career, or how you should see his nice car, or how he’s going to take you to expensive restaurants, he is using his wealth to try to impress you. It shows insecurity, but also that he thinks women want guys for their money! Nuh uh honey.
Sure, if you aren’t exclusive or looking for anything serious, he might be seeing other people. But to constantly make this known and point out that you aren’t his only girl is rude and disrespectful. Get outta there girl! “Play it cool” is BAD advice!
Gone are the days of playing hard to get. Pretending you aren’t that interested so you don’t appear too eager is so high school. If someone is genuinely keen on beginning a relationship, admitting you have feelings for them won’t scare them off! Anyone who is scared off by that isn’t worth your time.
Don’t put up with it
The most important rule of modern dating: do not put up with anything less than what you deserve! Demand to be treated right and the good guys will stick around. Don’t make excuses for his bad behaviour. Life is too short to put up with f*ckboys and mind games! #slaymamaslay
Hanna Sloan is studying a Creative and Professional Writing degree at QUT. She grew up wanting to be either a writer or a professional dancer, or both. Nothing has changed. She is passionate about performance, fashion, and social progress, and is a confirmed #NastyWoman. Hanna is the proud curator of a shoe collection surpassing sixty pairs, and always thought Andie Anderson in 'How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days' was crazy for not wanting to write about shoes for a living. In her spare time Hanna can be found devouring a book or magazine, watching 'Friends' or asking her parents for Snapchats of the family’s two beagles.