7 Relationship Mistakes That Are OK Initially, But Not After The First Year
Making mistakes in a relationship is only natural. Even as the years go by, you and your partner will likely slip up sometimes. But certain mistakes in a relationship are best confined to the first year or so, since they could be serious red flags once you and your partner have developed a strong partnership.
The first year of a relationship is a major test. You and your partner will not only be getting to know one another as individuals, but also how you two work as a team. "After a year, couples have had time to work out some of the 'bugs' in the relationship, as well as having had time to get a feel for each other's values and idiosyncrasies," David Bennett, certified counselor and relationship expert, tells Bustle. "So, at this point, the relationship should have matured and deepened." With maturity, a lot of mistakes will likely stop happening.
Some mistakes are external, and others are internal. You may slip up and hurt your partners feelings, but you also may struggle with your perspective on the relationship, and how you relate to your partner, within the first year. As your connection grows, you may also be able to stop making mistakes that could sabotage your connection through insecurity or distrust.
Here are seven relationship mistakes that are OK at first, but may not be after the first year.
1. Holding In Feelings
It makes sense to be trepidatious about a relationship in its early stages. But after a year, it is best not to hold in your feelings around your partner anymore.
"Early on, as you're getting a sense of where each other stands, holding in feelings makes more sense," Bennett says. "However, after a year, couples are hopefully more able to be honest about feelings, and express them clearly." Finding ways to be emotionally vulnerable is important in a relationship.
2. Forgetting Major Dates
Learning another person's important dates takes a bit of time to pick up. After a year, however, the same mistakes can take on a lot more meaning.
"Early on it may be hard to recall things like birthdays and other special events, but after a year, if you can't ever recall important dates, it's likely a result of just not caring enough to pay attention," Bennett says. Trying to commit these dates to memory, even if it takes a phone calendar reminder, is important.
3. Being Overly Jealous
A relationship, at the beginning, involves defining a lot of boundaries. During this time period, it makes sense that you might feel jealous as you figure out what exclusivity or commitment means to you.
"Early on, as you're getting a feel for relationship boundaries and the trustworthiness of your partner, feelings of jealousy are more likely to be common," Bennett says. "However, after a year, you've had time to work out boundaries and figure out if you trust your partner." If you're still jealous after a year, it may be worth it to examine your underlying trust issues.
4. Not Showing Anger
While some couples get into fights early on, a lot of others make the mistake of holding back their anger during conflict. Holding anger back, however, can be a really big mistake after a year.
"Not showing anger later in the relationship is another concern as it should be something that can be discussed," psychotherapist Laura Dabney, M.D., tells Bustle. "If someone is not showing anger, there is a red flag there, as anger is normal and should be dealt with." Reminding yourself, that anger and frustration are part of being human, and as long as they're expressed in a healthy way are completely OK, can help.
5. Pushing Off Difficult Conversations
If you're in the honeymoon phase, you may think it's OK to push off difficult conversations to later in the relationship. In the first year, this mistake can be understood, but after a year, it's a major issue.
"At the beginning of any relationship, it may be hard to talk about difficult subjects, especially if it’s something the two of you disagree about," therapist Adina Mahalli, MSW, tells Bustle. "After the first year, though, you shouldn't be pushing these conversations under the rug. You need to have the discussions before they become more of a bigger problem." Difficult conversations are often worth it.
6. Thinking Your Partner Can't Make Mistakes
Seeing flaws in your partner can be difficult when you're first falling in love. After the first year, however, the mistake of thinking your partner can do no wrong can become a more serious misconception.
"[...] The biggest mistake, the one that really matters for the life or death of long-term love, is believing that you or your partner will not be susceptible to making the full spectrum of mistakes throughout the course of your relationship," clinical and community psychologist and psychoanalyst Mark B. Borg, Jr., Ph.D., tells Bustle. Knowing your partner may one day make a mistake can help lower the stakes and make conflict resolution easier when something eventually does go wrong.
7. Feeling Really Insecure Around Your Partner
While being insecure isn't always within someone's control, within the realm of a relationship, it can be a mistake to allow insecurity to take control after your first anniversary.
"Once you have been together for over a year, insecurity should decrease as the partner should be able to help some of that insecurity subside by discussing them with you," Dr. Dabney says. "If one can not get over the insecurity it can be a red flag as they are not listening or trusting their partner's words." Couples counseling can help with this if insecurity becomes a chronic issue within your relationship.
Making mistakes in a relationship is natural. How you deal with them, and whether they become recurring mistakes, is more within your control. The first year will likely look a lot different than the subsequent years in your relationship, so paying attention early, and fixing what could be more serious issues down the line, can be really helpful.