If men were from Venus and women were from Mars — or, heck, if men and women were from the same planet, everything might be different. Ah, relationships. So much that can go right. So much that can go wrong. If you’re looking to avoid stumbling into the most common relationship traps, it may behoove you to consider the biggest relationship mistakes you can make along the way. Love is great, but it’s knowing what you’re doing when you’re in it that makes a loving relationship last. 1. Moving Too Fast. It all seemed like such a good idea at the time! If you’re in love, you can’t get there — wherever “there” is — fast in enough. So you see each other every night, move in together within a month, get engaged after less than a year, and boom you’re at the altar before your next birthday has a chance to roll around. Sure, sometimes this methodology works, and who wants to play “better safe than sorry” when it comes to matters of the heart? But there’s nothing wrong with taking it slow, with letting him court you, letting him get to know you, and letting the universe be your guide. Rather than your desire to be committed to each other forever. After all, that’s a damn long time.
2. Saying “I Love You” First. Almost two years ago, Wendy wrote one of this site’s most controversial, and widely read, posts ever: “Why A Woman Shouldn’t Say ‘I Love You’ First.” Don’t like the sound of that? Your shrink have a problem with that? Is it, um, too late anyway? Wendy hit the nail on the head when she noted of men and love: “[I]t often takes men longer to get there than it does for women.” It may not be politically correct or perfectly feminist, but there are times when it’s better to let the guy take the lead. When you’re venturing into serious emotional territory, give your man the space to fall in love.
3. Not Having Sex. It’s really amazing how little importance too many people place on sex in a relationship. In fact, if you’re looking for a true status update on the well-being of your relationship, you may be best served by taking a closer look at your sex life. If you aren’t doing it, there is a problem. There may be reasons galore. Maybe it’s his problem. Maybe it’s your problem. But if you aren’t being physically intimate with each other on a mutually satisfactory basis, there’s a good chance that your relationship foundation is slipping.
4. Ill Communication. Lord knows men aren’t always the greatest when it comes to talking freely about how they feel, and, ladies, well, there are some among you who maybe should spend less time talking about your relationships. Guys are doers. Women are emoters. But this crazy clash can be overcome by learning each other’s language. You could stand around all day waiting for a guy to talk about his inner-most issues, and, truth be told, it may never happen. In all likelihood, our ongoing desire to get a man to really understand what we are saying may never reach fruition. The answer isn’t making the other person into what you want them to be. It’s about figuring out how they communicate, and speaking to them in their language.
5. The Grass Is Greener. It may seem obvious, but you really shouldn’t cheat. All of us would like to believe that cheating on our significant other is something “other people” do, but is it? Cheating happens, and it happens more than you’d think. Whether or not to tell your partner once it’s happened can be decided only on a case-by-case basis, but the fact of that matter is that once the dirty deed has been done, you’ve poisoned the well. If you don’t tell, you’re a liar. If you do tell, you’re a cheat. And if he cheats, what’s a girl to do? You can forgive, but you may never forget. Cheating is like hiring a boxer to come and beat up your relationship. It’s not worth the metaphorical black eye.
6. It Ain’t Monopoly Money. If you’re in a serious, adult, committed relationship, if you’re married, or if you’re living together, you’re financially intertwined. Especially in this economy, money matters are a potential minefield for lovers. Generally, finances have the potential to impact a relationship negatively for one clear-cut reason: if you’re not dealing with your mutual financial reality. If you’re on the money with your money, more power to you. If you’re not — if you’d rather avoid the subject, if your spending habits are totally out of sync, if you enable one another financially — there’s no time like the present to straighten out your shared relationship to cash flow. Most times, couples seek out a counselor to solve relationship issues, but there’s no shame in booking an appointment with a financial expert to help resolve your money issues.
7. Don’t Get Lazy. Think your job is work? Well, your relationship is work, too. Ask yourself: What makes your relationship work? Really work? Do you feel happier when you go to the gym? Is he more relaxed when he hangs out with the boys every once in a while? Is it undeniable that if you don’t get a date night going soon, you’re going to go on strike? Relationships don’t pilot themselves. If you’re in a relationship rut, it’s up to both of you to get proactive and steer yourselves into a happier, brighter future.