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12 Mistakes That Sabotage Relationships

7. Focusing on potential and not the present.

Key points

  • Paying attention to a person's actions early in a relationship increases the likelihood that red flags won't be overlooked.
  • Some may feel apprehensive about communicating their needs or boundaries in the early stages of dating, but this can hide valuable information.
  • The stronger a person's relationship with themselves, the more likely they are to find their relationships satisfying.
G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock
Source: G-Stock Studio/Shutterstock

When you crave a fulfilling relationship but find yourself feeling frustrated because you keep repeating the same patterns, you may feel hopeless about your romantic future and wonder if you’ll ever find the meaningful connection you’re craving.

If you find that you typically fall for people who aren’t compatible with you, dating can feel like an emotional rollercoaster. It’s tough to continue putting yourself out there when you feel like you’re not getting the results you want.

If you want a meaningful relationship but find yourself frequently disappointed by your dating experiences, it can help to identify the obstacles that may be preventing you from getting the results you want. These 12 common mistakes may be impacting your love life more than you think:

1. You’re not observing whether the person’s actions align with their words. It’s important to observe a new person’s actions since many people tend to have blinders on at the beginning of a relationship. When you’re dating someone new and you pay attention to their actions, it increases the likelihood that you won’t overlook red flags that become apparent to you.

2. You’re assuming the other person is on the same page as you are about being exclusive. It’s not unusual for people to avoid having the exclusivity conversation due to fear that the other person won’t be on the same page. It takes a certain level of vulnerability to have this conversation, so some people may mistakenly assume the other person is on the same page, only to be surprised later when they discover the person they’re dating is seeing other people.

Regardless of how strong a connection you believe you have or how much time you’re spending together, if you assume anything about the status of your relationship before it has been discussed, you may be setting yourself up for becoming disappointed and getting prematurely attached to someone who is not compatible with you.

3. You’re dismissing red flags or signs of discomfort. When you’re dating someone new, observing how you feel around them physically and emotionally can provide you with valuable information about your sense of emotional safety with this person. Following the first few dates with a new person, it can be helpful to meditate and/or journal to explore how you felt spending time with them.

4. You decide after one or two dates that you're not open to seeing anyone else. When a relationship isn’t exclusive yet, you are still learning a lot about the person, and you may not know yet if you’re compatible or if the relationship has a long-term future. This is why the initial stages of dating can be a crucial time to explore other dating opportunities.

Feeling chemistry early on can trick you into falling for someone’s potential before discovering whether they’re compatible with you. Dating others can help give you perspective and decrease the likelihood of getting prematurely attached to the wrong partners.

If one person you’re dating is inconsistent in their communication and the other communicates their intentions clearly from the start, it provides helpful information when trying to decide who you may be more compatible with.

You may feel disappointed but ultimately this perspective can help you avoid wasting your time and energy.

5. You don’t know what your dealbreakers and relationship needs are. Reflecting on how you feel most loved and supported in a relationship can help you start to identify what your relationship needs are. Knowing your needs and dealbreakers can help you determine your compatibility with a potential partner and save you a lot of time.

6. You’re continuing to date someone hoping things will change when there is a dealbreaker or they can’t meet your relationship needs. If you are compromising your values and needs to be in a relationship, you are prolonging the inevitable. A potential partner may have most of the qualities you are looking for but if their core values aren’t aligned with yours or they have a dealbreaker that you are trying to convince yourself doesn’t matter, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.

7. You’re focusing on potential and not the present. It’s easy to get distracted by someone’s potential and get caught up in thoughts of your future together but it can cloud your judgment and make you more susceptible to missing red flags.

8. You’re ignoring how you feel when you’re not with the person. While it’s important to notice how you feel when you’re spending time with the person you’re dating, it’s also important to pay attention to how you feel when you’re not together.

When you’re not together, do you feel secure about your connection and this person’s communication with you or do you feel uncertain of where you stand and when they will be in contact?

9. You’re not setting boundaries and/or communicating your needs. In the initial stages of dating, some people may feel apprehensive about communicating their needs or boundaries due to fear that they will lose their connection to the other person or be judged. Doing so prevents you from the opportunity to see how the person you’re dating responds when you set boundaries or communicate your needs, which can provide valuable information about your compatibility early on.

10. You’re not taking the time to continue nurturing your relationship with yourself. The stronger your relationship with yourself, the more likely you are to communicate your needs effectively and find your relationships satisfying. Focus on the relationships and activities that bring you joy and help you feel present and grounded.

When you nurture your relationship with yourself, it becomes an anchor that you can turn to no matter what because ultimately you know you can trust yourself. When your relationship with yourself is a strong anchor, you are more likely to notice when someone is not treating you with the same level of respect and care.

11. You’re rushing the connection with someone before you’re ready (physically and/or emotionally) due to a desire to keep them interested. There is great value in pacing yourself if you know that you tend to get attached easily to the wrong partners during the initial stages of dating. Pacing yourself can help keep your expectations in check and protect you so that you can make an informed decision before you’re prematurely attached to someone you may not be compatible with.

12. You’re confusing chemistry with compatibility. You can have chemistry with plenty of people, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re compatible. Think of chemistry as the frosting on a cake, and the cake as the foundation of your relationship (which includes shared core values and compatibility). If the cake itself is missing ingredients, it doesn’t matter how much frosting you put on it; it’s not going to taste great and you’ll feel disappointed that you spent so much time trying to make it work.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional or psychological advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your mental health professional or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding your condition or well-being.

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