Do you find yourself fighting with your partner often or wondering why you don’t feel satisfied in your relationship? Have you tried to think of everything possible to help your partner change so that you can have the relationship that you want but you still don’t have it? The answer may not be with your partner but with you.
While unhealthy conflict is due to the mistakes of both parties, sometimes if dissatisfaction is the primary feeling, it is possible that you are sabotaging your chances of having the relationship that you dream of. Here are the five common ways that partners shoot themselves in the foot and prevent the relationship from being what they want it to be:
1) You look for mistakes. Do you watch as your partner unloads the dishwasher, expecting him/her to put the pot in the wrong shelf? If you look for mistakes in your partner all you will find are errors and you will miss the things that your partner does well giving you a skewed view of your relationship. In addition, your partner most likely can tell you don’t trust him/her and in return they will feel more defensive and less likely to work with you to create a loving relationship that you want.
2) You back down to avoid conflict. Conflict and arguments are natural and normal part of any relationship. Regularly giving in to avoid arguing can result in built up resentment that will come out in another way later. You are also more likely to develop depression as a result of keeping things inside. When you are resentful or depressed, you are less likely to give to your partner what they need and you’re also less accurate about what you need creating a cycle of always feeling dissatisfied.
3) You want to be right. Asserting that you are right may feel satisfying in the moment but by insisting this creates a sense of powerlessness for your partner. It sends a message to your partner that being right is more important than their experience or opinion and also more important than resolving the conflict. This will make your partner feel undervalued or defensive and less likely to be open to giving you what you need in the relationship because the relationship may feel one-sided.
4) You expect your partner to be a mind-reader. No person on this earth can be 100% correct in guessing what you need, not even your mother. Often when partners expect the other to know what they want without explicitly stating it, they put their partner in a situation where they’re likely to fail. No person likes to be set up to under-perform and they may become upset or resentful toward you for not helping them succeed instead.
5) You don’t give what your partner needs. Simply put, you will get out what you put in. If you are not invested in the relationship, not listening to your partner’s needs or not prioritizing giving them what they want, it is difficult for them to do the same back. Often this is the case when partners don’t trust each other very much and want to see the other take the first step before they follow suit. Couples then get into a stalemate on who should act first. If trust runs rampant in your relationship, then make the first move to give your partner what he/she wants and trust that they will do the same back.
If you are dissatisfied in your relationship and you don’t know how to get what you need, look at yourself first and see if you are stepping on some of these minefields that guarantee your relationship won’t be what you want it to be. Change has to come from both people to improve a relationship but you are only in control of yourself. If you make the necessary changes to improve yourself, you may be surprised at how your relationship starts to reflect those changes in a positive way!