During second grade when we started learning to divide numbers in math class, I remember not knowing that I was confused.
To me on that first day of doing division, the division symbol ÷ looked like a poorly printed plus + sign. Figuring the printing ink got messed up, I just added up the numbers and proudly finished the assignment before any of my classmates did.
Fortunately, I had a kind teacher who gently showed me I was making a mistake that I didn’t even know I was making.
Just like my second grade math class, we can all make mistakes in our relationships without realizing that we are doing so. When this happens, you can be creating a lot of stress and difficulty without even realizing it.
1. Believing hypnotic societal messages about relationships
The media, television, books and children’s fairy tales are full of the message that relationships are easy and should look a certain way.
The truth is that relationships take work. With the right intention and some mutual effort put into healthy communication they can be relatively easy.
Still, even the healthiest relationships will push your buttons and give you a chance to grow into a happier and better version of all that’s great about you.
This is especially true as your relationship goes deeper into emotional intimacy rather than keeping everything on the surface and without real emotional depth.
The key to make things easier is to become aware of the hypnotic social conditioning that relationships should be completely easy and always stress free.
If you do not consciously reset your expectations, things will always seem harder than they should be. You might even feel shame, wondering if something is wrong with you.
2. Looking for love from others that you can only give to yourself
Relationships are a wonderful place to receive attention, affirmation, and validation.
It is wonderful to know someone loves you.
However, if you go into relationships looking for love then it puts stress and strain on everyone involved.
The deepest longing in all of us is a yearning for a love that only we can give ourselves. No one else can fill that hunger but you.
Whether you call it self-love, self-compassion, or simply self-care, your attitude toward yourself will be like the steering wheel in the car of your relationship.
If you turn the steering wheel toward the right, you can’t reasonably expect your car to go left.
Many people do exactly that in their relationships. If you have a harsh, unloving or judgmental attitude toward yourself, you block your ability to feel loved by others.
3. Not asking for what you want
If you go into any restaurant they will ask you what you want.
If you tell the waiter to give you “anything” or “whatever” you’re setting yourself up for disappointment. The waiter might just bring you something that you don’t like or something you can’t eat due to allergies or medical issues.
Now, imagine that after asking the waiter to choose the food, you become furious with the waiter for bringing a dish you are allergic to.
To put it mildly, that is a pretty unreasonable response. You can’t blame the waiter when you didn’t state your needs, right?
This is exactly what many people do whether they’re in a long-term relationship, dating around or having casual sex.
Of course your partner is not a waitress, but she does probably want you to be happy. Give her a decent chance to succeed by figuring out what you want and asking for it.
Sure, you have some responsibility to help your partner. But if you focus exclusively on your partner’s wants and needs, and ignore your own needs and desires, you’re setting the relationship up for unnecessary suffering – if not failure.
Relationship mistakes are easy to make. Awareness and small changes can shift things
It’s easy to make relationship mistakes we aren’t aware of while we’re making them. Take a look at your own life to see if you’ve been unconsciously believing hypnotic but inaccurate social conditioning messages, are looking for something only you can give yourself or are not asking for what you want.