Relationships can be tough to navigate. Just when we think we’ve got it down, something changes, because people change, and when we’re dating new people, we have to figure out what works and what doesn’t all over again. No two relationships are quite alike and, if you’ve been involved with a couple people, you can attest that the last one is nothing like the first.
Because of this, it can be difficult to figure out what mistakes we might be making in relationships. What works in one situation isn’t guaranteed to work in another and, even though we’re aware of how we’re screwing up, sometimes we can’t seem to help ourselves. Fortunately, you have this article, which will outline 18 of the biggest mistakes all women make in relationships – no matter how long they’ve been dating, no matter how many relationships they’ve been in, no matter how series any of those relationships have been. Everyone screws up, but it shouldn’t get in the way of your happiness. By learning what NOT to do with these 18 things, hopefully, your next relationship can be your best one!
18 You Overanalyze Everything He Does
When we first get involved in a relationship – or when we start sensing signs of trouble – we have a tendency to overanalyze everything our SO does. We dissect his texts and our encounters, we read way too much into the restaurant he picked for a date or what he meant by using a certain emoji. Either way, when we overanalyze every little detail about our guy, we’re trying to find evidence that will confirm our suspicions of whatever it is we’re suspicious about!
Overanalyzing is kind of a self-fulfilling prophecy: You assume something is a certain way, so you behave as if it’s already fact, and thus, make it so. For example, you think your guy is being distant, so you give him space, then he thinks you’re being cold, so he gets distant. It’s a losing situation for everyone.
17 You Only Complain To Your Friends
It’s normal to talk to our friends about problems we’re having with our partner. The issue arises when that becomes the ONLY information we’re giving about them. If our BFFs are only hearing the negative about our SO, they’re not going to like him very much, which will make him more of a hard sell whenever they hang around one another. You get to see all your partner’s good stuff when your friend isn’t around, but they only hear about the bad, which makes it hard for them to see anything positive. Plus, whining about your guy to everyone BUT him means that you have zero hope of changing whatever it is that’s bothering you! Communication is key and if you’re talking around him instead of to him, nothing is going to get fixed.
16 You Never Make The First Move
It can be scary to make the first move in a relationship or when you’re dating, especially when you’re really into the person. Being the first one to say “I love you” or ask the other to move in together or even ask them out in the first place puts you in the position of possible rejection, and that’s not fun for anyone.
However, it can be liberating to put yourself out there and it puts you in control, even as you feel vulnerable. Waiting on him to always make the first move is putting your life on hold and when you rip of the Band-Aid, you find out what you need to without further wasting your time. It’s terrifying, sure, but it allows you to gauge where you both are and if you want the same things.
15 You Don't Tend To Set Any Boundaries
In a healthy relationship, boundaries are an absolute necessity. If you find yourself putting up with behaviors you swore you’d never tolerate, you need to take a good hard look at the two of you and see if this is what you really want your love life to be.
Creating boundaries can keep the romance alive in your relationship (like refusing to let one another watch the other go to the bathroom, even if you live together, because a little mystery and privacy is a good thing), can ensure that arguments remain healthy and productive instead of hurtful (like making any type of name-calling a no-go), and can build trust (like keeping pillow talk to the bedroom and not divulging all the dirty deets to your friends). Refusing to set boundaries – or failing to enforce them – may seem relaxed, but it does more harm than good.
14 You Play Way Too Many Games
You can play games on date night, but don’t do it in your relationship, okay? Playing games or manipulating your man into getting what you want is extremely unhealthy behavior in a relationship, and often, it’s exhibited through passive-aggression.
Expecting your guy to read your mind without telling him what’s bothering you, sulking because he didn’t do something you thought he knew to do, or playing him hot and cold are things that children do, not grown women, and if you want to be in a successful relationship, you need to stop this sort of thing right now. You hate when you get messed with, so why would you do the same to him? Any sense of control or power you get from game-playing isn’t worth the inevitable heartache.
13 You're Too Selfish
It’s always good to be independent in a relationship – you are your own person, after all – but there comes a point where independence can morph into selfishness, and that’s something every woman should watch out for.
You shouldn’t get involved with someone because of what they might be able to offer you, and you shouldn’t assume that everything gets to go your way. In a relationship, you are two individuals, but you’re coming together in something that is mutually beneficial and complementary. Taking everything and giving nothing makes things very one-sided and isn’t the foundation for a long-lasting relationship. You might not notice your selfish ways, but expecting your guy to drop everything to cater to you (or your friends, family members, and pets) is something you should watch out for and curb as best you can.
12 You Make Yourself Too Available
The saying, “Play hard to get” is old-fashioned and kind of sexist, so that’s not what we’re advocating here – especially since we already said that playing games is rarely a good idea. That being said, making yourself too available by being the kind of girl who drops any and all obligations or plans to meet her guy the moment he deigns to call isn’t the kind of girl who stays in relationships for very long.
While there is definitely some truth to the idea that men enjoy a good chase and want to work at winning a woman’s affections to feel like she’s “worth it”, there’s something undeniably more appealing about a woman whose life is so full and interesting that she enjoys it – without him always being in it.
11 You Look For Perfection
Making a list of what you need in a guy seems like a good idea in theory, but in practice, it’s just you eliminating a bunch of equally awesome dudes in the hopes of finding this nebulous idea of perfection you’ve decided that you absolutely require.
The best way to figure out what you’re looking for is to make a different kind of list – of “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves”. That way, you won’t reject the guy who has a great job, an awesome relationship with his parents, and a stellar sense of humor – but doesn’t live in a penthouse suite with two dogs. Looking for perfection is the surest way to find anything but because, hello, perfect doesn’t exist! Keeping an open mind is a better way to figure out what you want and allows you to be happily surprised when you discover someone who doesn’t fit your arbitrarily “perfect” description.
10 The Romance Is Gone, And You're Causing It
After you’ve been dating someone for a while, it can feel like the spark has died out to just a few glowing embers – or maybe it’s become ash altogether. When you’re in a long-term relationship, especially if you’re cohabiting, things can feel routine. You see each other every day, you know one another’s bathroom habits, you opt to stay in rather than try something new. After a while, it can get very boring and feel like you’ve lost the romance and become more like roommates than partners.
Instead of giving up right away, try and do new things together to capture that exhilaration of when you first started dating. Or, if you are total homebodies, try to be more physical with one another. Humans thrive on touch, so things like caressing his hair when you’re on the couch or kissing him when he’s cooking will help rebuild that intimacy and reignite attraction.
9 You End Up Settling
Partly in thanks to all the pressure from Facebook, our friends, and our family, we feel the need to settle down and create a life of our own. An invisible clock is ticking to let you know that time is running out: for a solid relationship, for marriage, for children, for whatever. Because of that, you might decide that this guy you’re currently with is fine. You’re not crazy about him, but he’ll do, you guess.
Settling is selling yourself short, plain and simple. While we’re not saying you should be ridiculous in your expectations for a partner, you shouldn’t simply stay with someone because it’s easy and you’ve come this far already. Fearing that nothing better will come along for whatever reason isn’t a good enough excuse to stay with someone, and, in all honesty, you’re just setting yourself up for failure down the road.
8 You Try And Fix Him
Maybe it’s because women are told that we’re the nurturers, but when it comes to relationships, we have a terrible habit of trying to fix the person we’re with. In fact, if we’re really drawn to hopeless cases, we might ONLY date guys with the hopes of turning them into better people!
The thing is, when you get involved with someone, you need to like them for who they are – like really, genuinely like them. While parts of people can change over time, the core of who we are tends to stay the same, and hoping for something different just disappoints everyone involved. If you end up failing to rehabilitate your bad boy – and let’s be honest, that’s usually what happens – you take it as a mark against you and your abilities. Look, compatibility is a thing, and if it wasn’t meant to be, it wasn’t meant to be.
7 You Make Your Life All About Him
Like being too available, making your life all about him is a huge relationship mistake far too many women make, assuming it shows devotion. Relying on your guy for everything, from your moods to your social life, isn’t healthy, and contributes to emotional dependency, which can feel suffocating and push him away.
You need to figure out who you are as an individual rather than depend on your partner to make you feel like a whole person. You also need to practice independence, even if it’s just in the small things. Learning how to operate without him constantly at your side will make you a better adult – and it’ll also give you guys something new to talk about since you won’t have been hanging around him all day!
6 You Set Timelines
Creating timelines for yourself can be good if you’re working at a career that relies on deadlines, but in relationships, it can spell breakup. Ideally, when you’re in a relationship with someone you care about, both of you are working towards something together, with similar goals in mind. Maybe that’s the standard marriage and kids, maybe it’s opening a business together, maybe it’s traveling the world, but giving yourself strict timelines that he has to meet in order to fulfill your schedule isn’t a good way to go about it.
More often than not, you’ve given yourself these timelines – kids by age 30, marriage by age 27, engaged by 25 – without telling him. As each year passes and you haven’t met these arbitrary goals, you can feel like a failure. Do yourself a favor and live your life without some invisible countdown.
5 You Go Back To The Losers Again And Again
It’s deceptively easy to go back to the f-boys over and over again, even against our better instincts and all the advice of our friends. We think we don’t deserve something good or maybe we’ve convinced ourselves that we’re not ready for something stable. We want to have fun, but we don’t tell ourselves that it stopped being fun a long time ago.
Until we’ve realized that we deserve better than the guy who booty-texts us at 3 am or the series of bad Tinder dates, we’ll keep going back to them because it’s all we know. Taking time for ourselves – dating ourselves, actually – can recalibrate our hearts and let us know what we need, deserve, and want. Until then, though, we’ll keep coming back for more.
4 Communication Isn't Quite Your Thing
We’ve mentioned time and time again that communication is one of the biggest indicators of success in a relationship. A healthy relationship requires frequent communication – about your needs, wants, goals, and issues – but it can fall by the wayside. As couples rack up the months or years, they grow apart, grow closer, and grow together, but if you don’t talk, then you’re stuck wondering what the other is thinking and feeling like you’re no longer connected.
Communication is key, and while it can be uncomfortable or messy, it’s so necessary in order to keep moving forward. Talking things out is the only way the two of you will learn about one another and any shifts in your relationship. Talk, listen, and ask questions, even if it scares you.
3 You Give Up On Him
A relationship requires support between partners. You’re always supposed to be in your guy’s corner, but the moment you give up on him, you’ve thrown in the towel on your relationship.
We all go through challenges, and they’re not often pleasant. Sometimes, those challenges can make our SO unpleasant to deal with, too! While you might want to pull away and nurse your own hurt because of it, you need to still be there for him and support him, even if that means giving him some space. Letting him know you’re there and that you’re concerned – without telling him that everything is simply going to be “okay” – is important to show your commitment to your relationship. You guys are a team, and a team helps one another through the hard times.
2 You Forget Your Manners
Manners say a lot about a person. We associate good manners with good breeding and being an overall good person. Well, the same goes for relationships. We’re not talking about table manners here, exactly, but the kind of behaviour that means that you’re a courteous, compassionate, and empathetic individual.
When you get further on in a relationship, you can take things for granted from your guy, and so you might find yourself forgetting to say “please” or “thank you”, or to ask him how his day went. These may seem like small things, but they show that you genuinely care about him and acknowledge the effort he went to, even if it was just picking up take-out on his way home. Those in failed relationships often say it was the little things that wore them down, so don’t let this be another little thing for you.
1 You Think There’s “The One”
Blame it on rom-coms, blame it on Nicholas Sparks, blame it on fairy tales, but we’ve all been told that there is “The One”. Our one true love, our soulmate, the person we’re meant to be happily ever after with – we’re always on the lookout for the guy who will sweep us of our feet and give us those belly butterflies.
But let’s take a cue from the men of the world, who haven’t been sold such a line, and look at this logically. We should approach dating and relationships for what it is: the possibility of finding multiple people who can make us laugh, give the best kisses, and encourage us in our professional pursuits. There are likely a lot of people who we could be compatible with – the world does have seven billion people, after all! Ditch the pressure of finding “The One”, and enjoy your time with SOMEONE (or no one)!