Every relationship goes through its share of trials, but just when you think things are going great, something happens. It’s over! “It’s not you, it’s me,” they say. But what if it was you? What if you’re the reason that seemingly great relationship went to hell?
Here’s five steps on how not to screw up your next relationship. Maybe this time you can make it last.
1. Leave the drama
Forget what happened in the past and look at this relationship as a brand new opportunity to get it right. Where people go wrong is that they take the baggage of old and introduce it to the new, and expect the new to just accept it.
No, no, no, I say. You have to make a decision. Do you want this relationship to be better than the last, or do you want it to end up in the “didn’t work out” reject pile? Don’t expect sympathy for being a jerk because your ex-partner did some terrible things to you. Leave the drama at the door and don’t look back. Your new love will thank you for it.
2. Become a better communicator
Communication is not just a term experts throw around to sound intelligent. It is the hallmark of any relationship, and in order for that relationship to progress, you have to become great at it.
What does this mean? It means sharing how you feel rather than being passive-aggressive. If your boyfriend leaves the toilet seat down and it bothers you, tell him! Don’t give him the silent treatment for 3 days and expect him to “just know” why you’re not speaking to him. He is not a mind reader.
Discuss the things that matter to you so that your partner can understand and connect with you better. How else can they make a correction or become a better participant in your relationship if you fail to communicate?
3. Become a better listener
You can share, share, share all of the things you want in a relationship, but if you suck at listening, you mind as well throw in the towel. Relationships are not a one-way experience. They require two people who are willing to be receptive to each other’s wants, needs and desires in order to sustain.
If your partner confides in you, don’t discard it. Listening to how they feel and making positive changes for your relationship is not just about them, it’s about you too! You want to become a better version of yourself for the one you love, so do what you can to become a better listener.
4. Don’t sweat the small stuff
Long-term partners learn how to let stuff go, and if you are the type that holds on to grudges, you will likely become single again very quickly. Unless the infraction is detrimental to the relationship (i.e. abuse or cheating), you have to learn how to forgive and move on.
When you love someone, you don’t keep score. You don’t count how many times your boyfriend forgot to take out the trash; that’s immature thinking. This kind of behavior will most definitely end your relationship, so don’t “go to bed angry” as some say. Instead, give your partner grace when the issue is insignificant.
5. Make it count
Being present in your relationship is a good way to ensure that it does not become doomed, and committing yourself to your partner by making time both physically and emotionally is essential to any success you hope to have.
Should the relationship fail for reasons that are beyond your control, at least you will be able to say that you did everything you could to make it work.