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5 Common Mistakes in Relationships

No wonder many people want a relationship. But for some people, it's harder for new relationships to 'take', to grow and thrive. What are the seven most destructive relationship mistakes? And how can we avoid them? Here they are...

Mistake 1:
This is a classic and universal relationship mistake whereby wannting a relationship' is not the same as wanting to be in a relationship with a particular person. If you get too hung up on wanting 'a relationship' as a general idea, you may fall into the trap of: biological clocks are noisily ticking like estrogen-filled time bombs threatening to explode, and panic sets in. Suddenly, anyone with a pulse and clean fingernails starts to seem like a 'good bet'. 
solution : Remember the words of the song 'You Can't Hurry Love' and don't. Octogenarians can still hook up, so slow down. Starting a relationship with someone 'just because' is like setting out on a voyage without checking for rot, poor engine performance, sea worthiness, and your legal rights. And in the long run, if you have one eye on the stopwatch, starting up with the wrong person wastes more time. Which reminds me...

Mistake 2:
Wanting to peg someone down too quickly to see whether they're 'committed' is like trying to insist cabin crew serve you their delicious vacuum-packed fare during take off. Give it a chance!
Telling someone you love them on the first date, planning your retirement together, or talking about 'us' and 'we' prematurely applies too much pressure and saps the spontaneity and fun from the early stages. Having to 'know how they feel' may be fair enough down the line, but asking them too soon where they see this relationship going can make them feel like they're being interrogated in a job interview.
solution: Hold off for a while until you know each other better. Everything that exists in our Universe, as far as I know, has a time scale - including love. Don't be too quick to establish yourselves as a longstanding couple when you've known each other just a few weeks.

Mistake 3:
There is a great line from a Seinfeld episode, and I'll try not to misquote here, in which one of the characters says to Seinfeld, "You shouldn't play games in relationships!" to which he replies, "What's the point of dating without games? How do you know if you're winning or losing?"
If we view too much of life through a competitive lens, we come to treat everything like a tussle, a chance to score points and get ahead. Trying to make someone want you more by acting 'standoffish', ignoring them, or trying to make them jealous is, of course, all about manipulation. If a relationship starts off on a basis of game playing, don't expect any winners long-term.
solution: If you want a good quality relationship, be honest and upfront so you can both 'win' together. And refuse to be drawn into their games if that's what they do.

Mistake 4:
Fairy tales in real life may not look like fairy tales as presented by Mr Disney. Prince Charming may have a crooked nose, and your princess may have pigeon toes. What am I wittering about? Being so fussy that you miss genuine relationship opportunities.
I talked above about being too desperate, but it can work the other way. Expecting people to be perfect, then getting mad when their behaviour doesn't exactly accord with your imagination of how they should be is, frankly, some people cut off their own options to this extent. They may defend this with: "Why should I accept anything less?!" But this misses the point that, so often, something can seem to have all the right 'parts', but when those parts are put together, you find they don't really work as well as expected.
 solution: Open your mind to the possibility that you could be mistaken in assuming you can only have a relationship with a person who fits exactly what you have imagined. And remember that you are having a relationship with a real-life person, not a phantasm of your own making.

Mistake 5:
If you're in the market for relationship mistakes, this one can be neatly combined with the first mistake. If I repeatedly scrape my face on tarmac and then wonder why it hurts, I may need to take stock a little.
But hold on; anyone can mistakenly get together with a 'psycho'. Early on, they may be all charm and attentiveness (and you may be conveniently averting your eyes from early telltale signs - such as 24-hour surveillance on your house). Of the two points just covered, the first one is more forgivable (since I'm in a refreshingly judgemental mood), because it can feel harder to break free once you're in. But the second one?
solution: If you're chronically pursuing mates obviously flawed to the extent that relationships will be painful and doomed, then at least admit this to yourself and don't be surprised that 'relationships always go wrong'. 

Knowing your patterns is the first step to changing them.

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