Hey guys! Today I’ve got something a little special for you. Maria Benson, one of the authors of ‘Driving Me Wild’ is here today to give us some advice about relationships and what we can do to avoid basically killing them. – Cam
Nearly every person in the dating game has had a relationship fall apart without having a clue where it all started going wrong. Being creatures of habit who fail to identify our role in the faulty foundation of our relationships, we often repeat the behaviors that doomed us in the first place.
See how to rid your life of these common mistakes:
1) Giving 90%, Getting 10
Find yourself constantly dropping everything at a moment’s notice for your latest suitor? Answering the phone at 2am for a booty call? Do you text him throughout the day, only to get a “Out w my friends. Come if u want.” response 6 hours later? Do you respond to “Mystery Man” by re-arranging everything to be at his side? If so, we have a problem. While it’s important to be dedicated and available to your partner, you must also expect them to meet you in the middle. Anything less is an early marker of future catastrophe.
2) Trying to fix the other person
We have all heard the saying, “you can’t control anyone except yourself.” So, why do we keep trying to control, mold, and shape other people? Look, I’m a believer in the human capacity for positive change. However, nearly a decade as a licensed mental health counselor has show me that if the desire to change does not come from within the individual (notice that I did not say from a girlfriend with great intentions and a beautiful vision for their future together), lasting change ain’t gonna happen.
3) Distancing yourself from family and friends
We’ve all experienced the captivating desire and obsession that come with the initial stages of love. These stages are beautiful and often form the foundation for long-term relationships. However, too often we let our new love influence us to neglect friends and family who have offered us support, feedback, and reflection for years. They know us better than anyone else. If your partner doesn’t mesh with your closest friends and family, realize there’s a chance they will fail to mesh with you down the line.
4) Avoiding conflict so they will “like” you
I’m the first to admit that conflict is scary in a new relationship. If you dare to speak your mind about his dog using your laundry pile as an outhouse, or about his snide remarks about your sister, will he still like you? As you try to decide what to do in situations like these, remember: Healthy conflict is healthy. Let’s say it again: HEALTHY CONFLICT IS HEALTHY. This means that you each have to learn to disagree and speak your minds in a way that feels safe for both of you. Unaddressed issues always lead to resentment.
5) Ignoring your non-negotiables
Every person should have a list of non-negotiables that they want in their partner. If you don’t have this list- I mean an actual, physical list- you need to make one ASAP! These are items that, at your core, you must have or avoid in a future partner. They can be concrete qualities, personality characteristics, or both. Personally, my list included a partner with ambition and compassion for others, someone who wouldn’t be vindictive when arguing, and who had no history of violence. In my experience, deviating from these standards has only led to heartache.
The experiences of Aimee Chase, the protagonist of my new novel Driving Me Wild, are hopefully a humorous reminder that eliminating these “killers” from our behavior patterns doesn’t happen overnight. Be patient with yourself and give it time. In addition to my own work, I recommend you check out Anxious To Please by James Rapson and Craig English as you develop the confidence needed to foster healthy relationship behaviors – before and after you find Mr. Right.
Maria Benson, co-author of the novel Driving Me Wild, is a licensed mental health and addictions therapist in Indianapolis. Maria’s drive for adventure and her dedication to helping women find their identity and voice in the face of adversity motivate her professional pursuits and her writing. Learn more at authormariabenson.com.