7 Seemingly Small Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Relationship
Big mistakes like lying and cheating can end a relationship pretty quickly. But the small things can do just as much damage over a longer period of time. According to experts, it's important to be mindful of the seemingly small mistakes you may be making because it can impact your relationship in a big way.
As dating coach Myles Scott, tells Bustle, small mistakes and bad habits can lead to fear, doubt, and trust issues within the relationship. If you're not mindful about your actions or apologetic when you make a mistake, it'll give your partner reason to doubt your love and level of commitment to them. "Too many bad things can build up and cause uncertainty around the entire relationship," Scott says.
For instance, one of the most common mistakes people tend to make in relationships is assuming to know what their partner is thinking or feeling. As harmless as mind reading can be, it can have some pretty negative consequences.
"When we're missing important pieces of information, we tend to fill in the blanks through the filter of our own childhood wounding," Christine Scott-Hudson, licensed psychotherapist and owner of Create Your Life Studio, tells Bustle.
It's why open and direct communication is so important. "By checking out your assumptions with your partner, you can spare yourself a lot of heartache," Scott-Hudson says. "Use your words, don't assume."
When it comes to relationships, the small things do matter. So here are some seemingly small mistakes that can impact your relationship in a big way, according to experts.
1. Making Decisions Without Your Partner
There's no need to check in with your partner about every little thing. "However, making some decisions without checking with your partner can go from a small, well-intended act to a big fight," Dr. Catherine Jackson, licensed psychologist and neurotherapist, tells Bustle. For instance, it doesn't hurt to check in with your partner before making plans with friends. You don't have to. But it can save you from an argument later on if you forgot that you two already had plans for that weekend.
2. Talking Over Your Partner
This tends to happen from time to time. But if it happens so much to the point that your partner can't ever get a word out, that's not a good thing. "Both partners should be able to feel as if they can talk and share their opinions when they're having a conversation," Mackenzie Riel, relationship expert with TooTimid, tells Bustle. "It can cause unnecessary problems, and could turn a regular discussion into a huge fight."
3. Making Jokes That You Think Are Harmless
"Offhanded comments can wreck any relationship," Riel says. "But the ones that cut the deepest, are the ones that target things about a person's life that they may not be able to change." You never know how harmful "jokes" about a person's appearance or past can be. You may have nothing but good intentions. But if you know your partner is insecure about something, don't try to make a joke out of it. It's not going to come off the way you intended it to. According to Riel, these types of comments can make your partner grow resentful even if it's just meant to be a joke. If you really want to infuse humor into your relationship, make jokes about things you both can laugh at.
4. Bringing Up The Past
"When you're constantly bringing up the past, you're not leaving any room to move forward with your current partner," Riel says. Constantly bringing up things that happened in your last relationship will only lead to resentment. It can also cause unnecessary tension. It's hard to let the past go, especially if you got hurt. But it's also important to give your new relationship a chance. Your partner and your ex are two totally different people no matter how similar they may seem. There's no need to punish your partner for things that your ex did.
5. Oversharing With Friends About Your Partner Or Relationship
It's completely normal to want to talk to your friends about everything that's going on in your relationship. But as Kelsey M. Latimer, PhD, CEDS-S, psychologist and founder of Hello Goodlife, tells Bustle, "I think the biggest thing someone can do to negatively impact their relationship is to be open about their partner’s business without knowing what their boundaries are around personal information."
This can get you into a lot of trouble if you're more open with your life and your partner is a lot more private with theirs. When you have a habit of telling everyone your business, it can make your partner feel like they can't trust you to keep secrets. The key here is to have a conversation about your boundaries. How private or open do you want your relationship to be? "We may not realize what's no big deal to us might be a huge deal to someone else," Latimer says. "Having this openness in a relationship can save the couple a lot of challenges in the long run and set the relationship up for success."
6. Failing To Celebrate Both The Small And Important Moments
Birthdays and anniversaries aren’t the only milestones you should be celebrating. You should also celebrate the everyday things like your partner doing a great job at work. "Sometimes we forget to remind our partners how good they’re doing and how proud we are of them," Jeannie Assimos, eharmony’s chief of advice, tells Bustle. "Positive reinforcement is great medicine." For the most part, everyone likes to feel like their hard work is being noticed and appreciated. So if you know that your partner is doing really well, celebrate that.
7. Complaining About Things That Won't Matter In The Long Run
It may not seem like a big deal to complain about small things. But as Scott-Hudson says, "Complaining is cumulative. People who constantly complain create a contagion effect, and nobody feels good after hanging out with a chronic complainer." Your complaints may not be directed at your partner, but it can still affect them by bringing negative energy into the relationship. The best way to overcome this issue is to catch yourself before you do it. According to Scott-Hudson, you can try writing your complaints out in your journal or work it out in the gym. Do what you need to do so you don't kill the good vibes in your relationship.
You and your partner will make your fair share of mistakes, and that's OK. Mistakes give us an opportunity to learn and grow. If you keep these small and common mistakes in mind, you can prevent yourself from doing any long-term damage to your relationship.