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7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes Smart People Make

Aug 17, 2007
We often find ourselves amid the wreckage of a love gone wrong, wringing our hands and asking, "Why did he or she turn out to be such a jerk?" I'm sure that person made many of the 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes, but what you should be asking yourself is, "Which mistakes did I make and how could I have prevented this?"

Sure, it takes two to tango, and if he (or she) was really a jerk, you think you probably couldn't have done anything differently, but you could have. A change in your behavior may have changed his (or her) behavior, or it may have ended the relationship early on before you were too invested. You see, couples are often unknowingly attracted because their "dysfunction" fits their mate's "dysfunction," which then creates an addictive dysfunctional relationship.

We learn our bad behaviors and choices in childhood. What we actually experienced as a child or what we observed from watching our parents relationship is how we now play out our relationships. This is why we make so many mistakes. But we can learn, become healthier, and stop choosing dysfunctional partners AND/OR not stay in a relationship that we know is bad for us. Most people make one or more of these mistakes repeatedly in their relationships.

The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes Smart People Make:
1) Forcing Intimacy
2) Expecting Your Mate to Read Your Mind
3) Playing the Martyr
4) Thinking You Are Always Right
5) Rescuing Your Mate
6) Taking Your Mate for Granted
7) Letting Passion Die

1) Forcing Intimacy: Men and women who force intimacy try to rush a relationship. They're in love with love. Men usually push sexual intimacy, while women comply by having sex too soon and then try to force the emotional intimacy. To stop making Mistake #1, You Must Take the Relationship Slow: 1 date a week or less and no sex for 5 dates minimum, and keep dating others until your partner is committed to you).

2) Expecting Your Mate to Read Your Mind: Couples constantly complain about poor communication, yet they think their mate "should know" how they feel and what they want. To stop making Mistake #2, You Need To Communicate: what you feel, what you want, ask if they get what you're saying, and then give them an ultimatum (tell them what you'll do if you don't get what you asked for).

3) Playing the Martyr: Martyrs believe that "justice will prevail." They think that if they are good and sweet and nice and sacrificing, then they will get their reward and others will do good things for them. So they keep overgiving and waiting for someone else to make their life better. But it never happens, so they become passive/aggressive and difficult to be around. To stop making Mistake #3, You Must Not Give More Than You Get.

4) Thinking You Are Always Right: There is a big difference between self-confident and self-righteous. When someone is truly confident, they are open to others' ideas. When someone is self-righteous, they are rigid in their thinking and afraid to listen to someone else's point of view. People who think they are always right are often admired (foolishly). But they are seldom loved and cherished (because no one can get close to them). To stop making Mistake #4, You Must Be Vulnerable With Your Mate.

5) Rescuing Your Mate: It feels so good to "help" others, and we're taught that it's the right thing to do. There's just one problem. To "help" someone, you must first assume that you are better or stronger than they are in some way. Rescuing is a "one-upmanship" behavior that is "controlling." So if you are "helping" your mate, you are also looking down on him or her -- and probably controlling their life. Rescuing causes much more resentment from others than gratefulness (which is what we expect). To stop making Mistake #5, You Need To Control Your Own Life and Expect Your Mate To Do the Same.

6) Taking Your Mate for Granted: We get comfortable and expect our partner to be around forever. We don't think we have to spend quality time with them or remind them how we feel about them. Afterall, we're just too busy for that. Feeling "taken for granted" is the major cause of cheating. To not make Mistake #6, You Need To Regularly Show Respect and Love for Your Mate.

7) Letting Passion Die: People say passion will eventually die in any long-term relationship. But I disagree. Granted, it usually does, but that's because couples allow everything, except sex, to become a priority. The only thing that keeps a "love" relationship different from any other relationship (friend, roommate, family member) is the sexual connection. If a couple lets that go, they are letting go of "being IN love." To not make Mistake #7, You Need To Continually Show Your Mate that You Desire Him or Her.
About the Author
Carolyn Bushong, a Denver,CO licensed therapist, helps couples and singles in her office, on-line,& by phone. Author of: Loving Him Without Losing You, Bring Back the Man You Fell in Love With, & The 7 Dumbest Relationship Mistakes. Has appeared on Oprah. http://www.carolynsays.com. 303-333-1888.
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