Mature, stable relationships don't just happen. They're the result of hard work, communication, and trust between two people. But if your recent experiences felt more like a middle school relationship, then it's time to consider the things you're doing that keep you from having a grown-ass relationship.
Chaotic, drama-filled flings can be fun in their own way. (There's nothing wrong with thinking fondly about the person you met doing Jello shots on on spring break a few years back.) For many people, however, there comes a time when stability and maturity are more important factors to consider for relationships.
Taking responsibility for your behavior, treating a partner with respect, and communicating clearly are all key behaviors for a grown-up relationship. All the traits that sounded kind of boring a few years ago are now so important. On the other hand, trying to make someone change or putting up with crappy behavior will only keep you stuck in relationships that aren't working. Check out these common relationship mistakes you may be making so you can have a more grown-ass relationship in the future. (And remember that pretty much everyone has had problems with a few of these issues at some point, so you are far from alone.)
1. You Don't Respect Boundaries
If you read relationship articles very often, one theme sticks out: boundaries. In fact, boundaries are crucial in every healthy relationship, especially romantic ones, according to Psych Central. Knowing and communicating your likes, dislikes, and needs is key.
2. You Play The Blame Game
Everybody loses this game. According to The Gottman Institute, blaming your partner for things is an example of defensiveness, a serious predictor of relationship failure. Taking responsibility for your own actions when appropriate is the grown-up thing to do.
3. You Thrive On Drama
Torrid, torturous love affairs make for great TV, but they suck in real life. Learning that dramatic, dysfunctional relationships are damaging is a crucial step toward healthier choices, according to the website for Psychology Today. Leave that drama for your fiction.
4. You Air Dirty Laundry
Do you talk smack about your partner to your mom, social media friends, and strangers in line at Starbucks? Venting may seem like a good way to boost your mood. In fact, saying negative things about your partner will only make you feel worse, according to Psych Central. This negativity makes you feel bad, and it acts as a disincentive for your partner to act any differently. If your SO is just going to get griped about anyway, why change?
5. You Avoid Clear Communication
Dropping hints often leads to misunderstanding and frustration. On the flip side, clear communication brings couples closer together, according to The Forum for Family and Consumer Issues. Your SO won't be confused about where you stand on a particular topic.
6. You Get Needy
Most everyone has a moment of neediness every once in a while. Maybe when you're under the weather or super stressed-out, time with your SO is all you want. But expecting a partner to solve all of your problems regularly is unfair and unreasonable, according to Your Tango. Being in a relationship doesn't mean you get to stop being a responsible adult.
7. You Put Up With Crappy Behavior
Shadiness on Facebook, flakiness about dates, and adult temper tantrums are not cute. Seriously: you don't have to put up with crappy behavior to be with somebody. It's far better to be single than to tolerate someone who treats you like a garbage person.
8. You're Always Distracted
Have you ever tried to date someone with a severe phone addition? It sucks to feel like the third wheel on your own date, when your partner won't glance up from the screen for a minute. Being with a smartphone addict generally makes for a less satisfying relationship, according to the website for TIME. The need to scroll can be damaging.
9. You Change A Lot For Your Partner
It's acceptable to change a few things for your partner, such as the way you squeeze a toothpaste tube or hang a roll of toilet paper. (Over roll for life right here.) But if you let someone else dictate major changes about your appearance, social circle, or morals, then it's time to rethink the relationship and your role in it. Why not find someone else who already appreciates you?
10. You Try To Change Your Partner A Lot
On the flip side, forcing major changes on your partner is likely to backfire too. Basically, thinking you can make someone else change is foolish, according to the website for Psychology Today. It won't work, and you'll probably just piss off the other person by trying.
11. You Ignore Significant Differences
Sure, sometimes love can bring bring very different people together, and that's beautiful. In general, though, friends and romantic partners connect best over similarities, according to a 2017 study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Opposites might not attract so much after all.
12. You Never Talk Finances
No one expects you to bring a stack of tax returns to a first date. (Unless there are some very specific accounting fetishes I don't know about.) But once a relationship appears to have some sticking power, it's crucial to talk about money matters. Because money is the top cause of stress in a relationship, according to CNBC, it's crucial to make sure you and your SO are on the same page. Your attitudes about spending, saving, and investing need to match.
13. You Take Your SO For Granted
It's easy to let the annoyances take over, and forget why you ever fell in love in the first place. But taking your partner for granted all the time is unfair. Feeling gratitude for the good things your partner does will only benefit you both.