Of the many topics I write about, relationships top them. I am literally inundated with questions about what people should and shouldn’t do in relationships, how certain scenarios should be handled, and when it’s time to pull the plug. In light of this, here is an incomplete list of things you should never do in a relationship:
Check his/her personal devices. I don’t care what your reasons are. If you need to check email, texts, etc., you’ve got bigger problems than those you’re aware of. Head to a shrink.
Projectile vomit more than 1 request at a time. People can only process a request at a time. If you inundate your partner with requests they’ll become flooded, nothing will resonate and you’ll be having the same conversation in a month. Take a deep breath, use the emotional muscles that I’ve been helping you to develop and share just 1 request. Tomorrow’s another day, although I don’t suggest you hit him/her up with another request quite so soon.
Bring up past incidents. Don’t be a douchebag. You forgave your partner. The hallmark of an adult is the ability to let it go after apologies have been accepted. You do long-term damage to the relationship when you bring up past incidents. If you find yourself doing this, you’ve got bigger problems than those you’re aware of. Head to a shrink.
Encourage or engage in a platonic relationship with someone who you’re attracted to. Listen, I didn’t tell you to get into a committed relationship. That was your choice. And now that you’re in one, you need to act like an adult, and that means not engaging in a platonic relationship with someone who could become a potential threat to your romantic relationship. Hey, I know you’re not an asshole. I know you’d never have meaningless sex outside of your relationship. That’s why I want to caution you against developing feelings for this person. We can’t control our feelings, but you’ve now been warned. If you’re attracted to your bestie, you’re playing with an atomic bomb.
Communicate when you’re escalated. You’re going to say things that you’ll regret in the morning. An adult who has developed an emotional core can postpone communication until he/she is deescalated. Sleep on it. If you still feel the same way tomorrow, by all means, share.
Talk shit about him/her with your family members. You’re in love with your partner, but your family isn’t. They may love your partner, but that love is contingent on how your partner treats you. When you use your family members as confidants, you put them in the difficult position of having to forgive your partner – but since they are not in love with your partner, it’s an impossible situation because they’ll never be as forgiving as you will be. Spare your family the gory details of your relationship. Choose to lean on a friend. But remember, the same goes for friends. It’s always going to be easier for you to forgive your partner than it will be for members of your support system.
Avoid couple’s counseling. Newsflash: If you’re one of those people who talks about how pointless therapy is and how fucked up shrinks themselves are, you’re the poster child for needing counseling. Your thoughts are nothing more than defense mechanisms except instead of keeping you safe, those defense mechanisms are keeping you from getting your needs met.
None of us were taught socialization skills, emotional management skills, or relationships skills. Do you think that you were gifted by being born with more knowledge and skills than the rest of us? You are not special. You took lessons to learn how to drive a car. You went through years of school or training to learn your profession. You can either choose to be ignorant and have failed relationship after failed relationship, or get the goddamned training you need to learn how to have successful relationships. And since every great thinker has said that the key to happiness is contingent on the level of satisfaction in our relationships, I’d say it’s worth challenging your beliefs.
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