Over the years, I’ve evolved into some kind of support system for my friends who need emotional support during relationship crisis. I cannot count the number of times I’ve been woken up in the middle of the night by a phone call that begins with heavy breathing, followed by huge sobs. I also cannot recall the amount of times I’ve had to tell my dear ones “I told you so”. The running joke I have with everyone is that if I had a $1 coin each time a prediction I make comes true, I would be a millionaire by now.
This list is a reminder to myself and my dearest friends on what NEVER to do in a relationship.
1) Think about cheating
Such a simple one, but one that somehow many people ignore. Whether it is sleeping with someone else or getting emotionally affectionate, cheating is never a good sign. The moment you start entertaining thoughts about cheating is the moment you need to fess up to your partner. Something is wrong in the relationship and this is the only chance you will get to fix it. If you ignore it, your relationship is doomed. People only cheat when they are unhappy. No one ever cheats when they are happy. So if you have ever thought about cheating, this is the time to confess. It will save your relationship or at least give you a chance to.
2) Start a relationship either from cheating or as a rebound
Unless you are Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, this will never end well. A relationship started when one of you was the third party or even as a rebound means you start the relationship on uncertainty and distrust. Sure, you can use excuses such as you were rescuing him from a bad marriage or that she was in such a fragile state that you just wanted to take care of her. You can be a good friend, but don’t get romantically involved. Relationships built on the foundation of a failed relationship are fine and magical for a while, until reality sets in and paranoia begins. The ghost of the previous relationship and partner will keep haunting you and you will have fights about it. The inevitable accusations of “You still love her!” will come. Save yourself the heartache and don’t even start. However, if you have already started, then I can give you this advice: Trust and don’t bring up the past.
3) Keep score and punish your partner as a result
Humans are vengeful creatures. Even when we love our partners, when we perceive that our partner has done us wrong, we tend to want revenge. For some people it’s something small such as cold war. For others it is withholding affection or even sex. We think we will feel better after getting back at the other person and the score becomes even. The problem with doing this is it simply angers the other person and doesn’t really help with resolving the problem. In fact, it often makes the whole situation worst because you are making your partner feel like you don’t love her. A better way to handle it would be to communicate about the issue and come to an agreement on the resolution together. Once you’ve agreed on a resolution, move on and stop trying to use small actions to continue punishing your partner. If you treasure your relationship, you will realise each act of revenge is a piece of your relationship breaking away and dissolving into dust.
4) Over analyze
We are often our worst enemy. When things in a relationship are not going well, we tend to overthink and over analyze every single thing that happens. I assure you that thinking up the worst case scenarios are an exercise in futility. They sometimes become a self fulfilling prophecy as well. If you keep thinking that your partner is not replying to your WhatsApp message because she doesn’t love you enough and you start to to spam her with messages about how she doesn’t love you enough, she will very soon start loving you less because of the psychoticness she has to put up with. Stop thinking that every little thing that happens is a reflection of how little someone loves and cares for you. Start appreciating the actual love and care that person gives you instead.
5) Have Great Expectations
Expectations are often the thing that lets us down in relationships. We build a dream in our heads and imagine how beautiful life would be if everything went perfectly. The only problem with that is no one has the exact same dreams. So when we project these great expectations on our partners, it is easy for them to come up short and us be incredibly disappointed. Stop doing that. If you have certain expectations, communicate them early and communicate them clearly. This gives your partner a chance to let you know if they cannot fulfil those expectations. You’ll have a chance to negotiate the dream so you can build a realistic life together.
6) Talk down to your partner
No relationship is equal. Someone always makes more money, someone always has a better degree, someone is always smarter. Don’t obsess about it, don’t constantly point it out. No one likes to feel inferior, especially your partner. Learn to approach your relationship from a place of equality and respect. Just because you are often “right” about something, doesn’t make you better than your partner. Just because you have an established career and your partner is still trying to figure it out doesn’t make her a failure in life. People have different strengths and their own journey. Learn to recognise this, appreciate your partner’s strengths and support them in their journey. Don’t be an asshole about it.
7) Spy on your partner
I recently had a friend call me up because she found out her boyfriend had installed a keylogger on the computer in his home because he wanted to find out what she was doing in her free time. The keylogger he installed could take a photo every few minutes with the webcam, record any sounds that were made, save everything she typed including the username and passwords to her email accounts and ibanking details. This is a huge invasion of personal privacy and completely unacceptable. Even the police cannot seize your computer without a warrant so what gives you the right to invade your partner’s personal space and human rights like that? It shows utter disrespect for her and no matter how “justified” he feels, it is wrong. They are no longer together and I’m really glad because this is something that crosses a line. So the next time you are tempted to spy on your partner, by checking her phone, emails or installing a keylogger program, ask yourself why are you doing that and if you don’t trust her, should you even still be in that relationship?
Take some time to evaluate your relationship today and if you are doing any of these 7 things, see if you can stop doing them and start building your beautiful relationship.