He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me. He loves me not. Does your life ever feel like this? Sometimes it's amazing. Sometimes it's less than desirable? Do you ever feel this way toward your partner? Sometimes adoring everything about them and sometimes looking for the exit?
There are several habits that take us out of the fun, excitement, and joy of relationships and draw us into the trauma and drama that so often destroys them.
If you would like your relationship to thrive continually, to be continuously growing, lose these five common relationship-ruining habits:
1. Looking for what's wrong
How often do you focus on what's wrong? What's wrong with your partner, what's wrong with your relationship, and what's wrong with you? Judgment is the No. 1 relationship killer. Judging the wrongness of you, your partner, and your relationship will ruin it faster than anything.
If you have fallen into the habit of looking for what's wrong, a great question you can ask is, "What's right about this that I'm not getting?" You can also ask, "What's right about my partner that I'm not getting?" And, "What's right about me that I'm not getting?"
Asking these questions will take you from looking for what's wrong to having gratitude for all it. And gratitude is the antidote for judgment.
2. Mimicking other relationships
Often we try to mimic the relationship of others. Maybe we think that there's a right way and a wrong way to do relationships, so we try to figure out the right way and copy that.
Or, maybe we see a relationship that is working well and we decide that they've figured it out and we try to duplicate what's working for them. This only leads to frustration and more judgment of you and your partner because your relationship will not be like anyone else's. You need to do what works for you.
My friend Gary Douglas, who's also the founder of Access Consciousness®, tells a story about a toothpaste tube. Gary likes to squeeze the toothpaste tube from the bottom. His wife, however, likes to squeeze it in the middle. After 16 years of irritation over the toothpaste tube, he had an epiphany. Oh! We could have two tubes of toothpaste.
What if you could stop looking at relationships based on what everyone else is doing and ask, "What's the most pragmatic solution I can have here?" You might just find choices and solutions you never considered before!
3. Giving yourself up in the relationship
How many times have you entered a relationship only to find that a few weeks in, everything has become about the other person? You stop doing what's fun for you. You stop hanging out with people you enjoy. Your life becomes all about your partner, and you give up more of yourself than you bargained for.
This never works! You are the most valuable ingredient in your relationship. If you take yourself out, the relationship doesn't have a chance. Keep you in the relationship. Continue to do what you enjoy. Choose to spend time with people that you value and that value you. This adds to your relationships. It doesn't take away.
If you've stopped doing what you enjoy and stopped connecting with friends, you can start again today! Begin by taking one hour each day to do what you love.
4. Replaying the mistakes of the past
Do you ever wake up in the morning and the first thing you remember is how your partner messed up yesterday? Maybe they forgot to do something you wanted them to do. Maybe they were cranky and took it out on you. Whatever happened yesterday and every day before that, rather than replaying it in your head, could you let it go?
An effective way do this is, every morning when you wake up, is to destroy and uncreate your relationship. To destroy and uncreate your relationship doesn't mean to end the relationship. It means to end the judgment, the expectations, and the resentment that kill your relationship so that you can have all the joy of your relationship.
Every day say, "Everything that our relationship was yesterday, all the judgments, all the conclusions, all the expectations, I let those go now."
Use this tool and notice that every day the relationship is even better than it was the day before.
5. Getting into a relationship rut
Have you lost the fun and excitement that was there in the beginning of your relationship? Do you find yourself sometimes bored? Wondering what's next? Wishing you could ignite the spark again?
If that describes your relationship, you can change it! Make the choice daily to be in your relationship. If you do this, you will move from existing in the relationship back into the creativity, fun, and excitement that was there when it first began.
Whether your relationship is new or one you've been in for many years, it can still be fun, playful, and enjoyable. It's never too late to let go of the destructive habits that ruin relationships and begin to create something that works.
Choose gratitude. Choose to keep yourself in the relationship. Let go of the judgments, expectations, and conclusions that you may have picked up along the way and allow the sense of wonder, creativity, and adventure to be your relationship reality.