Looking back at my own interactions with my exes, I’ve compiled a list of seemingly innocuous “flubs” that are actually downright poisonous for your relationship.
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
1. Falling in Love with “Potential,” Not Reality
Quick background: A dear friend of mine whooped my a** into shape after I told her that a guy I was seeing had “potential” and, therefore, I would consider dating him.
She goes, “Potential isn’t guaranteed! You have to be invested in the man he is NOW — not the man you fantasize about.”
Hmm. She’s right. It’s very dangerous to date someone with the expectation of an “ideal” man or woman later on down the road. Nine times out of 10, you will be woefully disappointed. But if you are totally OK with who he or she is now, then chances are you’ll learn to work with what you have — not wait ages, or even ’til Neverdom, until your man (or woman) turns into the “quintessential” human being.
This is a silent relationship killer because a lot of people don’t realize that life never goes as planned — I’ve known a man who was a computer science major in college and was an Air Force academy grad a few years later. His girlfriend, who fell in love with his potential to become a computer engineer, was hit like a ton of bricks when here fantasies were swapped with nightmares of being an army wife.
I’ve known a couple who, like most parents, envisioned their unborn son as being an all-star athlete and a super smart, genius kid. As it turns out, their son ended up having autism — a developmental disorder — and their marriage ended up hanging by a thread. This wasn’t what they “signed up for.” They fell in love with potential, not with reality.
Happiness isn’t a destination — stop saying, “I’ll happy when he does this” or “I’ll be happy when she finally becomes this.” Start saying “I will accept things that I cannot change, learn to cope, and find peace within.”
2. Coddling Egos
I’ve definitely been guilty of this and I will never do it again.
It’s really simple — if the sex is wack, DON’T say it isn’t!
If you’re noticing your partner is losing pride in his or her appearance, F***ING say it!
If the gift he gave you on Christmas looked like it was made by one of Santa’s one-armed elves, SAY THAT SH**.
“Protecting feelings” is cool in all, but what happens is while you’re coddling egos and sh**, your partner has NO idea that he or she is causing YOU dissatisfaction. And nothing gets rectified and eventually you’ll begin to resent ’em for not being more considerate of you when, in actuality, it’s YOUR fault because you know good damn & well he or she ain’t a mind reader and has NO way of knowing that they’re causing you grief because you were too busy — er — “protecting feelings” *Take a breath* Whew…
You keep coddling egos and the relationship will never develop because neither party is aware of their shortcomings. You’ll run into a dead end and eventually things will fall apart. And trust me, if it ends up not working out, nothing is more aggravating than your ex-boyfriend struttin’ around town thinking that he “put it down on ya” in the bedroom.
Which brings me to my next point…
3. Waiting Too Long to Address an Issue
No matter how grave a problem may be, if you wait too long, the time you spent waiting until the “right time” to confront him or her will ALWAYS overshadow the issue at hand. Always.
You don’t want to give your partner any ammo to say “Well, it’s irrelevant now! Come on…you’ve waited THIS long?!”
I don’t think people do this intentionally. An ex has done this to me in the past and that was because, at the time, he tried to shove it under the rug and convince himself that it didn’t bother him and it’s not worth bringing it up.
Every once in a while, though, that pesky little problem would resurface from his subconscious and start to irk him. Again, he would try his best to psych himself out and say, “Hey, get over it. You shouldn’t be mad at this.” Days became weeks and weeks became months. Until finally, it consumed him so viciously, he blurted it out a whopping 4 months post the incident.
I wanted to understand his point, but not only did the incident feel too far in the past to be relevant, but I don’t even REMEMBER saying what he said I said. So as you can imagine, it was a lot of, “Why did you wait this long to tell me?” and me basically calling him a liar because I had no recollection of what he was saying.
Had he nipped it in the bud as quickly as possible, it would have still been fresh in my mind and I would have sincerely apologized — end of story.
This reminds me of my next point…
4. Not Putting Yourself in Other’s Shoes
Had I been more sympathetic — or better yet, empathetic — with my ex about waiting so long to confront me, I think things would have gone a lot smoother.
I think something a LOT of people lack is emotional intelligence, or the ability to place themselves in others’ shoes.
This trait will allows you to empathetically understand why your boyfriend, who is swamped with a new, demanding job, cannot spend as much time with you. Or why your wife, who recently spent 15 hours pushing a baby boy out of her hoo-ha, isn’t really in the “mood” these days. Or why your friend, who is feeling depressed after a job loss, seems to be distancing herself from the crew. Or why your husband, who lost a leg during service as a military member, has a dark cloud over his head.
All you need to do is ask yourself, “how would I feel if I were in her shoes?” And it surprises me how many people don’t have the capability of doing just that. Being “understood” is so crucial to a partnership — having a boyfriend or a girlfriend who keeps misreading you will, no doubt, cause the relationship to crumble.
5. Having Drastically Different Future Goals
I have so many examples of this from my own experience…where do I even start?
Scenario #1: There was a Christian, virgin man I met in college. His name is Adrian; he was deeply in love with his girlfriend. They had the same strong religious values — especially when it came to maintaining celibacy. In the end, though, despite their concordant morals, they ended up having to split apart. Adrian wanted to become a nomadic missionary and spread “The Word,” as he called it, to third-world countries. His girlfriend just wanted to live a normal life in a small town in Indiana with 2.5 kids and a white picket-fenced house. Their goals were too different and it came a time where there was a fork in the road — follow your dreams, or sacrifice that and take a risk with love. In the end, they figured they’d rather find someone with similar future goals, instead.
Scenario #2: A Jewish girl I know, her name is Apollonia, was doing the ugly cry because she realized she got involved with a man that she knew wasn’t going anywhere. He was a gentile and he wanted to raise his kids in New York and in a Christian household –Christmas, Easter, Palm Sunday, y’know, that kinda stuff. The Jewish girl, of course, wanted to raise her kids under Judaism, but she also wanted to live in Israel for the remainder of her life. They both knew this, but ignored the pink elephant in the room for months. And blah, blah, blah…y’know what happened.
*Insert obvious moral of the story here*
6. Bad Sex
Now by “bad sex”, I’m not talking about inexperience or not quite “getting” what it is that makes your partner “tick” — that can be fixed.
I’m talking bout sexual incompatibility! Let’s say, for example, you’re a woman who can only get turned on by playing the submissive role — that’s what gets you going — but your male partner is also submissive and hates playing the dominant role. He wants you to dress in spandex, carry a whip, tie him up and hand-cuff him. Meanwhile, the thought of that mortifies you. But because you love him so much, you give it a whirl — nine times out of 10, it will feel “unnatural” to you because you’re just not a dominant person.
With both parties wanting to be dominated, it’s just not. going. to. work!
And I’m definitely one of those people who believe that incompatible sex is just a dealbreaker.
Do you know any other silent relationship killers I may have missed? Comment down below!