What do you think is the biggest mistake that people tend to make in relationships?

During the course of all relationships, people make one of two mistakes:

Mistake #1: Being too focused on yourself and not focused enough on the other person.  The tough thing about relationships is that you are no longer the center of the universe.  You have to find a way to share that spotlight with another person.  For many people, it is difficult to remember that and so you subconsciously (or not so subconsciously) keep the spotlight trained on yourself, to the neglect of your partner.  No matter how understanding the other person is, or how much they are too focused on you instead of themselves (see Mistake #2, below), it will eventually sow the seeds of conflict that, if not weeded out, will choke the relationship’s growth.

Mistake #2: Being too focused on the other person and not focused enough on yourself.  This is the situation where people end up in abusive or co-dependent relationships.  For any number of reasons (“I don’t deserve love”, “He’s so good to me”, “He’s so great in bed”, “That’s my role in my culture”) some people put up with an unbelievable amount of crap in a relationship, being subservient to the wishes and desires of their partner, tolerating unacceptable behavior and feeling meek and miserable about it.  No matter how great that other person is or how fearful you are that if you leave, you’ll be alone, people need to stand up for their rights in a relationship, for their dignity and equality.

There may be some people who manage to make both mistakes in a single relationship, but I think generally they are more likely to be inclined to one or the other mistake.  They good news: we can correct the mistakes we make and even if we have to do so several times before learning our lesson, we can learn the lesson and go on to a much healthier and happier relationship.

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22 thoughts on “What do you think is the biggest mistake that people tend to make in relationships?

  1. All relationship troubles can be resolved with regular, shared, amicable communication! Simple as that!
    The resolution might not be a happy one, but its still a resolution!

  2. Must keep those in mind…Ah… it’s human nature to go to one extreme or another. And it is a long, hard battle against nature.One that I’m willing to fight.Excuse me while I prep my broadsword.

  3. @reallifedemo – There’s a nugget of wisdom in what you said: “it is a long, hard battle against [human] nature.”  Maybe a key point of success in a relationship is recognizing when you (or the other person) is acting in their nature, even if it isn’t in the best interests of the reltaionship, and having some patience and sympathy for how hard that battle is.
    That way, you can ease up on the battle and recognize that you (and everyone else) is inclined to fall back into natural patterns of behavior because we’re all human.
    Just a thought…

  4. @christao408 – A thought that I agree with. I think the best route is to try and realize what your “natural patterns” are so you can recognize when you fall back on them. For example, I know I can be a little… um… harsh and um… mean. But I try! I swear I do!

  5. I used to live mistake #2. Fortunately, I mustered enough courage to command some sort of self-respect by balancing my life more. It’s funny how a relationship can be separated into these two categories. Simply complicated. :o)

  6. @whonose – Well, as long as you don’t damage the goods…hehe. Just keep him in one piece. Thanks. :o) I’m a nice guy. I can share. :o) Just gotta return the favor when I come to London! :o)Let’s do Brighton. I hear all the gays are there. Hehe.

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