There’s a whole lot to learn when you are building a new romantic relationship. You might be at the point you know you love each other and want it to last, but you don’t yet know each other well enough to have the patterns down pat.
It takes time and understanding to manage a loving relationship. Especially early on, we often sabotage or damage our partnerships without realizing it until later. Here are three important things to watch out for so that doesn’t happen.
Blaming the Other Person for Your Feelings
We all know we shouldn’t do it, but too often we do it anyway. We make statements like, “You make me so angry!” or “You never listen to me!” We make them responsible for our feelings, but in reality, we are the only ones who can make us feel a certain way.
It’s always better to say instead, “I feel angry when you do that.” or “I feel like you often don’t listen to me.” This puts the responsibility of our feelings firmly in our camp, not making the other person responsible for them but still letting them know their choices have an effect they might want to consider.
This might seem like a small difference, but it helps keep them from feeling attacked so that they are less likely to lash out, and increases the options we have in reconciling our differences.
Discounting Their Feelings
We do this when we argue about the way they say they feel. Things like, “You shouldn’t feel that way because I didn’t mean it like that,” or getting angry when they share their feelings, even in a non-accusatory way. These can make the other person feel like their feelings don’t matter to you or that you’re trying to control them.
You can’t build a firm connection with another person when they think their feelings aren’t important to you. Our feelings are part of our reality, and everyone’s reality is different because the way we experience things is different. Take care to avoid making your loved one believe they are wrong for having the experience that they are.
Believing One of You Is Right and the Other Is Wrong
Too often we live in a world of dichotomies. If something is wrong then something else must be right, and vice versa. But just as we explained above, everyone experiences the same situations differently based on our upbringing and background and individual perceptions and sensitivities.
These things shape the way we view situations. Many times, no one is absolutely right or wrong, just approaching the same things through different perspectives and priorities. We just need to come together long enough to understand that we don’t see things the same way and that that’s okay. We can still build a committed relationship despite our differing views of reality.