Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Five Ways I Ruined My Relationship.

Think about how boring it would be if you ate the same thing every single day for breakfast for years on end or if you read the same book over and over again before you went to bed or if you watched the same movie every single day. Things would get pretty stale, huh?

Well that's kind of what being in a long-term relationship can be like if you let it.

There comes a point when it feels like you've learned all there is to learn about the other person. There comes a point when you feel like maybe you shouldn't even try that hard anymore because who cares! it's just them. Worst of all, sometimes if you're in something long enough, it can start to feel like a right more than a privilege.

I had a lot of time to think about all the ways I screwed up when I was in what was a nearly seven-year relationship & let me tell you, I messed up a lot. No, I wasn't the only one who messed up, it definitely takes two, to have a successful relationship. But regardless, I messed up & I learned a lot about the kind of relationship I wanted and what I needed to do to get that.

And because I don't want you to do the same things I did, I'm sharing the ways I screwed up & what I'd do differently next time. I saw a blog post from a man who talked about the ways he screwed up his marriage & I could relate to almost every single one but still, I'm not even talking about marriage, I'm just talking about a relationship. So because I don't want you to experience the same things I did, I'm sharing the ways I messed up so maybe you can choose a detour & take the high road.


I stopped making him feel attractive. In the beginning of a relationship, making the other person feel attractive is really easy. You've just started dating, after all, so of course you think they're attractive & you're excited about everything new. But what about when you've been with that person for years? I mean, they just know you think they're attractive, right? Wrong. Everyone likes to be told they're good looking and everyone likes to know they're attractive to someone else. And it's not enough to just know. People want to hear it. Your boyfriend/girlfriend isn't any different. Next time, I'll make it a point to say it & make it meaningful because it matters.

I stopped appreciating him. I already said it in the beginning but sometimes, after being in a relationship, its easy to view things as a right, not a privilege. I did that. I took all the things I liked about him for granted. I didn't remind him of the things I liked about him. I might have said thank you when he folded my laundry or made a sandwich for me without me asking but I forgot about it quickly and I was moving on to the next request in minutes. Next time, I'm going to really think about the things I'm thankful for & spend time realizing how lucky I am to have those things to be thankful for.

I stopped "dating" him. Okay, it probably takes a long time for this to happen but when you've been hanging out since you were 13 & you're 20, it can happen. I mean yes we were "dating" but we weren't dating. We didn't do anything. Often times, our dates consisted of sitting on the couch at home. That can work sometimes but it needs to be the exception not the rule. When you stop having fun together, you stop having a good relationship. I don't care if its a picnic with food bought at The Dollar Store or a walk in a new place, I'm going to make sure we're doing something fun & often.

I stopped caring about being attractive. This is so, so easy to do. You're comfortable with someone? Wear your sweatpants! Throw your hair up! Heck, let your farts go!! No.  You wouldn't do that stuff in the beginning months of dating someone, don't do it now. There has to be some boundaries and frankly, if you want to be seen as attractive, well? you need to actually act attractive. A little effort goes a long way. I plan on remembering that.

I didn't appreciate his family. This one is huge. Huge. You want to have a good relationship with someone? You need to have a good relationship with their family. I didn't. I would even go so far as to make snide, snarky remarks about them. Let me tell you how helpful that was .... not at all. In the future, I plan on making a point to appreciate his family even when I don't feel like it or it seems hard to find things to appreciate. And? I'm even going to try to remind him of the things I like about them. Any snarky comments I have in the future, I plan to keep in my back pocket. My Nana always said, a still tongue makes a wise head. That applies here. Always.


These aren't the only ways I messed up, trust me, there were a lot of ways I sucked sometimes. But, in the interest of keeping your attention I'll stop here with the biggest mistakes I made so hopefully you've learned a thing or two you can keep in your back pocket or actually even pull out & use.

Have you ever made these same mistakes? Is there anything you would add?


K said...

I always like to look back on failed relationships and figure out what I learned from them. I had a horrible break-up from a 3 year relationship and it damn near broke me. But when I met my husband, I vowed never to do the crap that I did before. Thankfully it all worked out. It never would have lasted with my husband if I didn't go through what I went through before.

Anonymous said...

I loved this post and it is so true. I have had 2 long term relationships fail due to mistakes we both made... Learn from them, own up to them, and make it a growing experience for yourself and your future partner. My current relationship is going fabulously due to the mistakes I vowed I wouldn't make this time around. Good luck in future relationships :) glad you could learn from this experience!

Shana said...

I feel like I am doing some of these things now in the relationship I have been in for 1.5 years. We don't really go on dates anymore either. I think I am going to have to change that and become more spontaneous. Thank you so much for posting this Ali! A lot of people wouldn't have admitted their mistakes like you just did.

Brooke Stearns said...

This is one of the best posts I have read. I always like reading about how people have messed up because I so did these things with Chad. I even did more than this, but I think were going to work out the problems we have with each other and move on but move on together. Thank you Ali

Kelly said...

This is such a great post, not only for the single girls to learn from but the girls who have been in a relationship for a long time and need that reminder.. thank you for putting yourself out there and positing this I needed it this week!!

MissAshDG said...

I love this post. I'm in a 2.5yr relationship and I'm trying to not change anything. Thanks for the reminder to stay on my toes :)