We all want the fairytale. We want a relationship with no fighting, loads of laughter, tons of memories, and all the romance. But it usually doesn’t end up that way; reality sets in and the fairytale becomes a nightmare. O.K., maybe it doesn’t become a nightmare, but it probably turns into a mundane ordinary relationship. Well, as normal as that is, there are ways to keep a fraction of the fairytale relationship alive, even in the long-term scale. And the best, and also the worst part about these things, is that they are completely in your hands. It is you who is either keeping the romance alive or sending you and you’re SO into a rut. So if you are starting to see more fighting and less laughter in your relationship, and want to save it, here are five things you’re probably doing that are hurting your relationship.
1. Redirecting anger
We all do this. Again, we ALL do this. Your boss yelled at you, you got a bad grade on a final you studied hard for, you are pissed at yourself for not making it to the gym this week… whatever has made you upset, all pours out on the person you are nearest to… your SO. This is especially true if you live with your SO, but it’s always a factor. Ask yourself anytime you are about to snap at your partner, are you mad at them for something they did, or are you just in a bad mood and they have become the target of those feelings? More often than not, they are innocent, so find a different way to vent. This is something that can really be hurting your relationship and you may not even notice it.
2. Complaining to your friends
I understand that it is nice to have a friend to talk to about your relationship but make sure it is in a healthy way. Don’t use time with your friend to roast your SO. This sets your relationship up for failure in several ways. It polarizes your friend to your SO, which means you have one less person who is really going to support and cheer on your relationship, and it destroys trust between you and your partner. If you are spilling the nitty gritty secrets about your relationship troubles with your friends, ask yourself if you are fine with him doing the same… I highly doubt it. Try instead to build your SO up to your friends and family so you have a support system and you don’t have to deal with the whole, my best friend hates my boyfriend issue. Take a step back and make sure you aren’t doing things that may be hurting your relationship. If you are, work towards changing that.
3. Unrealistic expectations
Now I clearly said you could keep a part of the fairytale alive, not the whole thing, and this is why. Having unrealistic expectations of your partner sets you up for disappointment and leaves your partner feeling like they always let you down… and no one wants to stay in a relationship where they constantly feel like a failure.
You need to recognize that your partner is as human as you are, so they don’t always want to do the dishes or give you every ounce of their attention all the time. They have crappy days just like you, they get moody just like you, and being aware of this will help you understand why they didn’t say goodnight before going up to bed, or call right after work. Give your partner a pass every now and again and they will love you all the more for it. You may not even realize you do these things that are hurting your relationship.
4. Too much space
I’m about to give some unpopular advice; spend more time together. These days, it seems like everyone is praising alone time, girl’s time, guy’s time, or simply independence, and while I completely support these as well, there is such a thing as too much space. If you feel the romance dying between you and your partner, evaluate your time together. Are all of your fun activities with your friends, and your time with your partner is the mundane weekday evenings?
If so, that maybe your problem. You always need to be creating fun memories with your partner. This reminds your brain that you enjoy being with this person, so they should be the person you want to be with for the good times. Honestly, if your partner isn’t the person you want to travel with, go on hikes with, go on adventures with, or make memories with, you may want to reconsider the entire relationship. A couple that makes memories together, stays together.
5. Killing his hobbies
I am so guilty of this one, it’s embarrassing. But I am keeping it honest with you, so it goes on the list. If you are feeling some tension in your relationship, or feel like your partner is angry with you for something, or is simply irritable, check to see if you are killing his hobbies. Does he still do the things he did before you got together? If he was a bit of a gamer and doesn’t play anymore, or if he used to go riding with the boys on Saturdays but now spends them with you, that might be the cause of the tension.
It doesn’t mean you asked him to stop, it simply means he gave those up to spend time with you, and now that you are past the honeymoon phase, he may want to pick them back up. And since we all suck at communication, chances are your partner simply doesn’t know how to tell you. My advice is to bring it up; simply say that you noticed he doesn’t do this or that anymore and you hope that it’s not because of you. This statement gives your SO an opportunity to get back a piece of himself without any judgments or arguments.