by Edel Jarboe
When you enter a committed relationship, there is a period of adjustment that can take months or even years.
While you are getting into your couple groove, be careful that you don't fall into any of these following relationship pitfalls that can lead to the dissolution of your love partnership.
Watch out for these danger signs in your relationship while staying focused on building & nurturing a healthy long-term relationship based on positive communication & of course, love.
Expecting to change another person or to "fix' their flaws after committing to a long-term relationship is a big no-no.
For one thing, who says they need fixing besides you?
Aren't you supposed to love your honey flaws & all?
Now, for truly reprehensible flaws - such as belching in public - go ahead and give lessons in etiquette.
But for more subtle personality traits, ask yourself if it's worth making a big issue out of it.
We all do something that drives our loved ones nuts.
So learn to be flexible.
Love is about compromise & should never be about making another person into someone else.
Moreover, expecting to change someone else's problem (drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence, or criminal behavior) doesn't work either.
It is one thing to be supportive if your partner is truly making an effort to change, but it is quite another to be their willing accomplice.
Bottom line: you cannot change someone else.
In a healthy relationship the best you can do is compromise, and in a bad relationship, it is better to walk away in order to preserve your dignity, health, and self-respect.
Another example of unrealistic relationship expectations is thinking that the other person is the solution to all your problems.
Sure, love makes the world go round but expecting your sweetie to fix all that is wrong in your life is unfair to them.
And living through them or solely for them is not fair to you either.
You are still responsible for your life & your self-esteem.
Sure, love can help smooth out the rest of your life, but by no means is it a cure-all.
There is no getting around it -- you are responsible for your own happiness.
Love is simply the icing on the cake.
Depending on how busy & stressed out we are, we are all guilty of tuning each other out from time to time. The danger is when this becomes a relationship habit.
Not listening to each other's hopes, dreams, and fears on a regular basis can lead to a lack of true intimacy.
It is impossible to feel connected to someone when you feel aren't there for you.
The hallmark of this pitfall is when one partner is unwilling to discuss certain issues and they either avoid the discussion altogether or withdraw verbally or physically.
This leaves the other partner to tiptoe around them because they are afraid of risking anger, withdrawal, or avoidance.
When the discussion is curtailed indefinitely so is the relationship.
In order for a relationship to grow, you have to be able to talk about the good, the bad, the ugly, and even the painful truth.
In other words, make honesty, expressing your feelings, and sharing ideas a priority because sharing the good times and the bad times deepens and strengthens your relationship.
And you want this to happen, right?
Take the woman who gives her husband the silent treatment and withholds her affection until he gives into her demands -- whether it is canceling a trip, buying a new car, or having a baby.
This is definitely not the way to go if you want both your sweetie's cooperation and their lasting affection on a long-term basis.
When you control your partner by constantly harassing them, withholding your love, and issuing ultimatums you are demonstrating that your needs and desires come before your love for them.
Who's going to stick around for this type of treatment?
In short, avoid controlling behavior in a relationship.
Just because you have pledged your love for someone does not give you the right to run his or her life.
Even though the person pulling the strings may think they're winning, ultimately, it is the relationship that loses out.
In the same vein, when one partner puts the other person down or constantly second-guesses them, whether it is intentional or not, they are chipping away at their partner's self-esteem.
When you invalidate your partner, you are effectively telling them that they don't matter.
As a result, the victim of this type of behavior will start to cover up who they are and what they think in order to protect his or her self-esteem.
Sadly, this is another example of a one-sided relationship where one partner holds all the emotional cards. And this is a sure-fire recipe for relationship disaster.
After being with someone for a while, we know what buttons to push to make the other person feel bad about themselves.
Yes, you have this power but if you want a healthy, loving, and lasting relationship, you will keep the door to this arsenal securely locked.
Always ask yourself how you would feel if someone spoke to you the way you are speaking to your significant other.
Hold back on insults, put-downs, as well as non-verbal body language that convey disgust, mockery, or disbelief such as rolling your eyes.
In other words, avoid (non) verbally striking your mate.
Instead, focus on building each other's self-esteem, not destroying it.
And when you do this, you build a healthier, happier relationship.
Note: If you recognize any of these danger signs in your relationship, please seek couples counseling.
About the Author:
Edel Jarboe is the founder of Self Help for Her.com (http://www.selfhelpforher.com), an online self-help magazine helping you create your better life. She also publishes a free weekly newsletter, which features advice on goal setting, stress management, coping with difficult people, and overcoming obstacles: Subscribe (firstname.lastname@example.org) and receive a FREE stress report.