It takes two to tango, and while we view the world through lenses where we are the protagonist and the others are mere participants in our story, the reality of it is that we are supporting characters in other people’s lives too. This is why maintaining a healthy relationship is a challenge – we may see faults in another person but it’s far more difficult to realize our own.
This article will list 7 signs you may be unable to manage a relationship to help you to take a step back and evaluate if you have what it takes to keep a partnership going. Make sure to read until number 1, because it’s one of the most indicative signs we’ve ever seen!
Number 7: You spend too much time at work.
We live in a very work-centered world. For many people, success in life is measured by the size of their paycheck or by the position they occupy in a company. While work is undeniably a key aspect of life, it is also important to not forget what else matters in life – relationships with people close to us. You should of course focus on your career, but if it’s at the expense of the time you spend with your partner, that should be a red flag for you. It may be a sign for you to re-evaluate the choices you’re making and think about what is most important to you right now.
Opting for your career is of course a respectable choice and you’re the only one who should make the decision. However, you should also take into account the feelings of your partner, and if you aren’t ready to commit to a serious relationship in your life you should let them know. Honesty and an informed decision can go a long way when you’re planning out your life.
Number 6: You spend too much time on social media.
Social media is an invariable part of our daily life, but do we stop to ask ourselves how beneficial it is? Past a certain threshold, social media usage can be harmful to a relationship. Some studies have linked social media intrusion in a person’s intimate life to relationship dissatisfaction.
In particular, social media-induced jealousy and surveillance behaviors can be more detrimental to a relationship than you know it. If you are compulsively monitoring your partner’s activities online and watching out for clues of infidelity, it is certainly not healthy behavior. Have you heard about confirmation bias? This is the tendency to purposefully look for signs and information that conform to your expectations and to interpret facts in a way that supports your views.
Remember to respect your partner’s boundaries and to engage in activities that bring you fulfillment and happiness rather than feelings of emotional malaise. Social media indisputably has its positive sides as long as you don’t immerse yourself too much in the virtual world, so don’t forget to live in the real one.
Number 5: You expect more than you can give.
A relationship is all about reciprocity – you shouldn’t expect more than you can offer. According to the equity theory, two people are happiest in a relationship when they have approximately the same contributions and respective costs and rewards. Of course, the complex interaction between two individuals cant is reduced to a simple exchange. What you can give to your significant other is far beyond any material aspect that may have come to mind.
For instance, active listening and positive regard and support for your partner may go way beyond which one of you paid for your last date. If you’re emotionally unavailable for your partner when they need you, whereas they’re always there for you, you may be expecting more from them than you give in return. Every relationship is different, so no generalizations should be made about the roles either of you two has. However, it is always good to take a step back and ask yourself if this relationship brings the same value to both of you.
Number 4: Communication isn’t your strong suit.
A relationship is a two-way street and communication is vital for reaching mutual understanding and relationship satisfaction. Good communication has many facets – active listening is indeed key when it comes to building a strong connection, but that’s not all that there is to it. Nobody enjoys difficult conversations about the problems in a relationship, but it turns out these are indispensable. Avoidance of discussing one’s problems with a couple typically leads to worsening the situation.
So, if you feel uncomfortable bringing up what is bothering you or participating in a discussion where your partner shares their dissatisfaction, keep in mind that this will only lead to more problems. Issues left unattended only escalate and multiply. To maintain a healthy relationship, keep in mind it’s not all roses and rainbows. There are difficult moments too, but talking them over and getting through them together will strengthen your bond. And if this seems unthinkable to you, remember that you don’t have to do this alone. A licensed couples therapist can walk you through it and give you tips on how to go about it on your own next time.
Number 3: You cant put yourself in other people’s shoes.
Understanding each other is one of the building blocks of a relationship, and one of the integral parts of mutual understanding is perspective-taking. Being able to imagine a situation through the eyes of your partner and detach yourself from your own point of view is not an easy task, but it can help avoid a good deal of misunderstanding. For instance, imagine you’re having a bad day at work – you spilled coffee on your shirt, you’re not going to meet the deadline your boss has set for a project, and you got into an argument with one of your colleagues.
You text the details to your significant other, seeking reassurance and an escape from the discouraging day you’re experiencing. A few hours pass, but they don’t reply. How do you interpret this? Do you tell yourself that they’re ignoring you and that you’re apparently not as important to them since they don’t take your problems to heart? Or do you think that there could be an alternative explanation for their silence? Maybe they’re also having a busy and a difficult day at work or maybe they simply forgot their phone at home.
A Book: Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men.
Now imagine what your reaction would be when they eventually get back to you in either of these scenarios. If you suspect that they were neglecting you, you’re likely to respond in a cold or a passive-aggressive manner. But what if there were unforeseen circumstances? In this case, you’re bound to ask them what happened and listen to their story. It’s possible they had an even more unpleasant day than you did. By trying to see a situation from your partner’s perspective, you keep an open mind and avoid unnecessary tension and negativity in your relationship.
Number 2: You don’t put effort into the relationship.
Every relationship requires nurturing and effort from both sides in order to maintain it. Even if you and your partner generally share similar values and opinions, the more familiar you become with each other and the more time you spend together, the more you need to compromise, take initiative and be tolerant. If you become inactive, set in your ways, and unwilling to understand your significant other’s point of view, it may put your relationship at risk.
Lack of effort can be demonstrated in many ways – neglect of or diminished interest in the other person, taking them for granted, or even behaving badly towards them. To keep the flame alive, try to be more open, take action, and plan activities that you both enjoy even if staying in and watching a movie seems easier. Remember to pay attention to the other person and to listen to them, and when you disagree, don’t rush in with counter-arguments. Instead, give what they suggest a try, or try to find a middle ground that suits you both.
Recommended: Healing from Hidden Abuse: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovery from Psychological Abuse.
Number 1: You don’t have positive regard for your partner.
According to studies investigating what leads to satisfaction in a relationship, it is your perception of your partner’s ability to open up rather than their actual disclosure that makes you happier in a relationship. So what does this mean? To answer this, we need to look at our understanding of the world. Our perception of it isn’t an accurate depiction at all. Let’s take vision, for example.
What allows us to see our environment is light entering through the retina in our eyes and then being converted into electrical signals by specialized cells called photoreceptors. These signals reach the brain through the optic nerve, where they’re translated into images. Therefore, the resulting image is simply a reconstruction of reality. It would be impossible for us to recognize a pair of keys, let’s say if we didn’t have the construct of keys coded in our brain. So, our vision of our surroundings is refracted through the prism of our knowledge, experience, and memories.
Now, if we apply this to our perception of a relationship it becomes clear how we choose to view our partner is invaluable. If you’re readily accusatory, impatient, and negative towards them, regardless of their behavior, you will see them in an unfavorable light, which could lead to conflict. In order to avoid this, try not to be presumptuous and to see things in a positive manner. The more you do this exercise, the more it becomes a habit and hardwired into your brain.
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