With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, love is on the mind of many. Finding that special someone to share your life with can be a wonderful thing, but relationships are notoriously tricky to navigate – whether you’re just starting out or are in a committed long-term relationship. So we’ve rounded up five of the biggest mistakes women make throughout all stages of relationships.
Pay attention, because these common mistakes are easy to avoid, but can destroy relationships if you don’t know about them.
1- First date: Jumping into a relationship too quickly
The fear of being alone and ending up a “crazy cat lady” is intense. But to create a meaningful, lasting relationship, it’s important to choose your partner wisely. Spend some time single. Be sure you know who you are as a person and what you want outside of a relationship. Once you figure out your long-term goals, make sure to discuss that with your potential partner. You don’t want to find out two years later that you want kids and they don’t.
2- A couple months in: Ignoring red flags and assuming time will fix them
So you’ve been in a relationship for a few months. The sex is great, you want to spend all your time together and you’re secretly planning your wedding in your head. Except there’s this one thing your partner does that really bothers you. But no big deal right? Over time it’ll work itself out. It’s easy to see your partner through rose-colored glasses early in the relationship, but it’s important to listen to your intuition. Talk about little things that could potentially develop into real problems.
3- After a year: Losing touch with your friends
We all know that friend who got into a serious relationship and suddenly went MIA. In this fast-paced world, just managing to juggle work and a relationship can seem daunting. But it’s important to continue to cultivate your friendships outside the relationship. You’ll be grateful you did when your partner is driving you crazy and you need a shoulder to cry on (or someone to complain to over margaritas). It’s perfectly natural to spend less time with your friends than when you were single, but spending all your time with your partner is unhealthy. Plus your friends can offer outside perspectives that can actually help strengthen your relationship.
4- Moving in together: Failing to discuss money/finances
Talking about money is awkward. It’s not sexy and can be embarrassing, but you just have to grit your teeth and do it anyway. If your credit is trash from student loans you need to tell your partner before you attempt to move in together. If their paycheck is twice what you make but you’re still splitting expenses equally you may become resentful. It’s important to have the frank discussion so that you both know where you stand. That way you can work out a fair way to split expenses and save for your future together.
5- After 5 years: Falling into a rut
When you’ve been in a relationship for a long time, it’s easy to fall into the same routine out of comfort. There’s nothing wrong with having Taco Tuesday night every week, but it’s important to find some variety to prevent boredom. It’s unreasonable to expect to have the same passion and excitement you had at the beginning of the relationship but that doesn’t mean you should settle for safe. For your own self-development and the growth of the relationship, it’s important to find little changes that will keep you and your partner both engaged.