The Need to Always Be Right
No one is perfect. Likewise, no one is right all of the time. That said, it's important to recognize the difference between having a competitive nature and the constant need to be right. When it comes to changing any bad habit, you can always start small. Use little opportunities to practice giving up the need to be right. It might be hard at first, but ultimately it can help you create a deeper, more fulfilled connection with your significant other.
Oftentimes the need to be right forces you to focus on the wrong. Instead of looking for what's wrong with what your significant other said or did, try to focus on what's right. By changing your focus, you shift your outlook and you'll notice there will be fewer opportunities to point out that they're wrong and you're right.
A Technology Addiction
I love taking photos to document important life moments as much as the next person. I'll even admit that if I'm at an Instagrammable spot, I might take a few extra shots to make sure I get the right one. The key thing here is to recognize when usage becomes addiction. If the amount of time you're spending on your phone or on social media outweighs the amount of time you're connecting with your loved one, it's time for a change.
Technology lets us stay connected with those we love but it should never take us away from the present. If social media usage or being on your phone consumes a moment entirely, it can leave your partner feeling left out. If it's a pattern, the behavior can leave them feeling disconnected from the relationship entirely.
To help you break this habit, you can try downloading an app that locks the apps on your phone (except for emergency calls) during specific times of the day, like date night. You might be surprised by how a small change can drastically improve communication in your relationship.
In life, it can be easy to fall into comparisons. After all, each of us is always growing. But comparisons can have a negative impact on a relationship. Don't compare your partner to anyone who came before or any "type" they might fit into based on their tendencies or habits. It's also important not to compare your significant other to who they were when you first met. The goal should be to learn and continually grow as you build a life together. Focus on who you are with each day without an expectation of who this person needs to be. You'll find you'll be more motivated to be curious and ask more questions when you aren't boxing the person you're dating into the same shape they were when you first got to know them — whether that was days, weeks, months, or years ago.
Although you might think that criticism can inform positive change, there are more beneficial ways to get a point across. That's because there's a big difference between helping someone understand or grow and pointless criticism. Recognize that a relationship requires two people. You should work as a team to build each other up while also helping each other recognize flaws, mistakes, or faults in a constructive yet understanding manner. Learning and then using the communication method that works best for your relationship will be key.
Misfortunes happen, that's also sometimes life. Whether something is a fault of your own or one that you just perceive to be, self-blame is an important thing to give up if you want to live out a relationship to its fullest potential. Remember that communication needs to be at the core of every aspect of a relationship. If you made a mistake or believe you're at fault for something, voice any doubts or concerns to your partner and tackle the issue head on with discussion.
Just like self-blame, there's no room for outward blame in your party of two either. Blame can open the door for heightened emotions and tension. And under those circumstances, how can anything be solved? Instead of placing blame, try to understand where the other person is coming from and the line of thought behind their actions. If something still bothers you after you're able to understand the situation fully, then communicate your concerns and feelings to your partner and come to a resolution together.
"Fine, You Win" Arguments
When you're in a relationship, it's not just about you anymore. (Shocker, I know.) During arguments or conflict, it's especially important to ditch any individual mindset thinking. It's never about one person versus the other or one person winning an argument over the other. If one person gives in to the other, go back to the drawing board, because you haven't reached a healthy resolution yet. Never let an argument or disagreement end in "fine, you win" or "alright, alright, we'll just do it your way," because it's important for both parties to feel like they've arrived together at the best way to move forward.
Phones in Bed
Make the bed (pun intended) a place for good sleep, good company, and good conversations. Establish the bed as a no-phone zone.
Life is unexpected, and in the grand scheme of things, we hold control over very little. In a relationship, it's important to recognize each other as equals, and you should never seek to control a person. It's also important to allow room for the circumstances around your relationship to blossom. If you're a control freak and this tip frightens you, find comfort in the idea that letting go and giving up control can make space for beautiful things beyond your wildest expectations.
Forgiving but Not Forgetting
Relationships will have moments of forgiveness because no one person and no one relationship is perfect. It's important to learn to extend and accept forgiveness. But if you aren't ready to move forward and keep the past in the past, or if you're going to continue keeping tabs and revisiting a particular argument, you likely aren't extending or accepting forgiveness honestly. Be honest with yourself and with your partner about how an argument or circumstance is making you feel and use communication as a method of resolution. It will help you become a better partner and a better human.
In life I've learned that I only know what I know, what I've learned, and what I've been told. In terms of a relationship, a partner can only know what your expectations are if you voice them, and you'll only know theirs if they do the same. Share your expectations freely and often and ask questions to prompt the same from your partner. If you're unsure about your partner's expectations or if yours have evolved, talk about it.
A Strict Timeline
While it's important to have an idea of what you want in life and strive to reach goals and milestones, if you're living your life according to a strict timeline, you could be adding unneeded pressure to your relationship. Communicate and understand your expectations along with what your partner's are, but don't get married to the idea that your internal timeline needs to happen exactly as you imagine in order for both of you to find validation.