May 14, 2024 | Sarah Ng

10 Mistakes People Make In Their Relationships—And How To Fix Them


Relationships Are Hard Work

Ensuring that your relationship is healthy can be difficult. Nobody is perfect. These are some of the most common mistakes people make when navigating their love life—and some tips on how to fix them.

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Trying To Change Your Partner

If you enter into a relationship with the mindset of "I'm going to change him/her/them," you're already off to a rocky start. No amount of love can make a person change. In fact, your partner might even resent you for not accepting them as they are.

Photo of Couple Holding HandsMin An, Pexels

Trying To Change Your Partner: Solution

Your partner doesn't exist to meet your needs. If you're trying to change them into an ideal partner, you're setting yourself up for failure. The solution is simple. 

Before even entering into a relationship, assess the situation. If you can't accept the person as they are, then they probably aren't right for you. Waiting for them to change or trying to change them is never the answer.

Stressed young married family couple arguingfizkes, Shutterstock

Failing To Set Boundaries

Neglecting to set boundaries in your relationship can do more harm than good. Communicating with your partner about your expectations and how you want to be treated is essential. Many choose to remain silent about their boundaries, which will only lead to heartache in the long run.

image of a note to set boundariesairdone, Shutterstock

Failing To Set Boundaries: The Solution

You have to communicate with your partner any time they say or do something that makes you apprehensive. Instead of reprimanding them, however, try using a caring tone. 

For instance, you might say, "Instead of doing 'X,' I'd appreciate it if you did 'Y.'"

Or a more direct approach: "No matter the situation—even if we're just playing—please don't resort to rude name-calling."

a couple having conversationAugust de Richelieu, Pexels

Not Voicing Important Concerns

Nobody is perfect—and your partner is no exception. You can't go through life pretending that they never do anything wrong. However, criticizing their every move is also detrimental. Either extreme could lead to resentment and frustration.

Asian couple arguing with each otherTimeImage Production, Shutterstock

Not Voicing Important Concerns: The Solution

The solution to this problem may take time. You have to discern which situations need to be addressed, and which ones should be let go. If you stay quiet about the small things that annoy or anger you, resentment can grow over time—even turning into major regrets.

Tears on face of crop anonymous womanKarolina Grabowska, Pexels

A Lack Of Independence

Co-dependence is not a good thing. It can make some people feel like they've lost their true selves in their relationship. It's important to remember that each of you have to work at maintaining your own independence. 

Old vintage blue door background with handwritten textAriya J, Shutterstock

A Lack Of Independence: The Solution

As much as you enjoy spending time with your partner, it's important to spend time alone or with other people that are important to you. Dedicate time to your hobbies and make your own goals. Tend to your friendships and other interests. You may be in a relationship, but it does not define your life.

Three Women Posing For PhotoAdrienn, Pexels

Making Promises That Are Not Realistic

If you make unrealistic promises to your partner, there's a good chance that you're setting yourself up for failure. If you break promises in your relationship, you're breaking down trust. Without trust, a relationship will fail.

image of a man and woman holding hands with pinky fingersJasmine Carter, Pexels

Making Promises That Are Not Realistic: The Solution

If there's a chance you won't be able to keep a promise, don't make it. 

For instance, don't say, "I promise nothing will ever harm you." Instead, say, "I'll do my best to keep you out of harm's way."

image of a couple hugging and watching sunsetJasmin Wedding Photography, Pexels

Forgetting To Prioritize Romance

Physical touch is so important to maintaining your relationship. Our brains responds to touch so much more the we realize. If a couple has stopped giving one another physical affection, their relationship may be headed towards a breakup.

Man giving flowers to his girlfriendVija Rindo Pratama, Pexels

Forgetting To Prioritize Romance: The Solution

Implement physical touch into your everyday routines. For instance, make sure to kiss your partner goodbye, and greet them with a hug when you see them again. Even little gestures can make a big difference: holding their hand on a walk, squeezing their knee while you take transit, or leaning your head on their shoulder while you watch a movie.

couple cuddling and smiling on couchAndres Ayrton, Pexels

Trying To Please Your Partner All The Time

Many people put too much effort into pleasing their partner. Unfortunately, though there's loving intention behind this, it often leads to unrealistic expectations. You can't be perfect or accomodating all the time, but setting up the expectation that you can be will only lead to disappointment. Even worse?

If there's only one partner putting in all of the effort.

image of a man pleasing a sad womanVera Arsic, Pexels

Trying To Please Your Partner All The Time: The Solution

Instead of trying to please your partner 100% of the time, redirect that effort into yourself. Be the best person you can be, and it well benefit both of you. Of course, doing something special once in a while is a great practice, but you should never burn yourself out in the attempt to keep a partner happy.

image of a woman in white shirt and man drinking wine and playing gamecottonbro studio, Pexels

Not Communicating Your Changing Needs

As time passes, your goals, wants, and needs will inevitably change. Couples can face change together and grow together—but sometimes they grow apart instead. If you're not communicating your feelings with your partner, you'll become disconnected.

image of a sad girl laying in bedDarina Belonogova, Pexels

Not Communicating Your Changing Needs: The Solution

Check in with your partner regularly. Have those deep discussions even if they might be difficult. Talk about finances, jobs, children, and long-term goals. Never stop learning about one another. If your partner is going through a big shift in their life, be the support they need—and vice versa.

A Couple Looking at DocumentsMikhail Nilov, Pexels

Failing To Appreciate The Little Things

It might be easy to measure your relationship by the major milestones and achievements. However, in reality, your life together will boil down to the little things. If you stop appreciating the mundane, but beautiful, aspects of your relationship, you could be in big trouble.

Happy Couple Having Breakfastcottonbro studio, Pexels

Failing To Appreciate The Little Things: Solution

Be grateful for you partner and practice gratitude whenever you can. Gestures that are as small as cleaning up the kitchen or holding open the door should be recognized. Even a simple "thank you" does more than you think. Seemingly mundane acts of servitude may seem like nothing, but they help keep your little ship afloat.

image of handwriting text on yellow paperŘaj Vaishnaw, Pexels

Creating Drama And Fighting On Purpose

Many people equate drama and passionate fights with excitement. If you have a comfortable relationship, starting a fight might make it seem more enlivened. But making something out of nothing is a slippery slope.

Man Talking To Woman Feeling UpsetRDNE Stock project, Pexels

Creating Drama And Fighting On Purpose

The urge to instigate fighting can be rooted in childhood trauma. If you witnessed your parents fighting on a regular basis, they might be the only model for a relationship you have to work with.

parents fighting in front of a childfizkes, Shutterstock

Creating Drama And Fighting On Purpose

For some, seeing your partner emotional or angry might be a form of validation. It means they actually care. On the other hand, some may experience a "high" while fighting, which might become addictive. In an unhealthy relationship, one person might enjoy the feeling of being in control or dominating their partner in a fight.

image of a couple arguingTimur Weber, Pexels

Creating Drama And Fighting On Purpose: The Solution

When starting arguments, try being self-aware. Arguments can be positive if they're done in a calm, communicative way, with each partner actively listening to one another. However, if you're fighting for the sake of fighting, it becomes damaging rather than healing.

Misunderstanding between partners in relationshipInside Creative House, Shutterstock

Creating Drama And Fighting On Purpose: The Solution

If you realize that you "enjoy" fighting with your partner because of the "high" and the excitement, that might be something to address within yourself. You could be setting up a pattern within your relationship that will only destroy it—even if it scratches an "itch" in the short-term.

image of a woman seeing therapistSHVETS production, Pexels

Creating Drama And Fighting On Purpose: The Solution

Finally, if you think that your partner wants to fight with you to exercise their control over you, the red flags should be flying. If the fighting and domination is hurting you, this might be a sign for you to exit the abusive relationship.

image of a relationship breakupAlena Darmel, Pexels


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