A good, healthy relationship all comes down to effective communication between partners — something I am admittedly very sh*tty at. I'm always worried about being perceived as high maintenance, a nag, or a burden. I don't want to inconvenience my partner with my standards and desires to be "treated well," "not cheated on," or "respected!"
God forbid I have feelings or needs in a relationship! That would be awful for everyone involved, wouldn't it?
But then, someone once told me that there is a difference between having needs and being needy, which put a lot of things into perspective. My desire to be pleasant and polite in all of my relationships were actually the exact things ruining my relationship.
Who knew? Not me, apparently.
1. You Assume Things Instead Of Communicating
Have you ever liked someone, but assumed the worst about them or something they did and started a fight over an insecurity, instead of just talking it out? Yeah, that is a bad thing.
"Relying on assumptions instead of actual communication is the best way to set yourself up for relationship failure. You are expecting yourself AND your partner to be mind readers, which will lead to a lot of unmet expectations and misunderstandings," says Rogers. In a real, healthy relationship, two adults talk things out.
She continues that when you catch yourself jumping to conclusions, take a step back and ask your partner about the issue. "Ask the question. Talk about it a little more. Be direct," she says. "The more communication that exists between the two of you, the easier time you will have understanding each other."
2. You Give The Silent Treatment
Going to bed angry or giving your partner the silent treatment never helps your relationship. Doing so just leads to resentment.
"Silence is not golden in any relationship. Ignoring the problem, or the messenger, will lead to unresolved issues coupled with a lot of resentment toward each other as the time passes," Rogers explains. "Silence can easily be considered emotional abuse given the context, and is by far one of the worst ways to solve conflict in your relationship."
So it seems like direct, authentic, and explicit communication — without playing any games — is the key to a good relationship. And Rogers continues that using "silence as a weapon" is an absolute no-go:
Put it aside, and will yourself to continue engaging as much as possible. If you need to take a break in order to calm yourself down, that's completely acceptable (and even encouraged), but make sure you announce it first. Otherwise, it could be conveyed as stonewalling, which will simply fuel the fire.
3. You "Bottle Up Feelings"
I am definitely someone who has bottled up their feelings because I don't want to seem like an emotional burden. But this always ends up backfiring. No one wants to date an emotionless doormat or someone who is bound to finally erupt in a rage at any second. Rogers says a lot of women experience this same feeling: "Most women are deathly afraid of being pegged as 'that girl.' The nag. The one who constantly is upset about something or always has her feelings hurt."
Because of this, Rogers explains we're more like to "brush things to the side" and overlook it. "They are actually bottling up feeling after feeling. Naturally, emotions start to build up. And then, at the drop of a hat, something rubs them the wrong way, and all of the feelings explode everywhere!" she continues. "It's practically a volcano that cannot be capped. And usually, it's not a very appropriate or proportional reaction to the present moment."
One time, I had a feeling my ex-boyfriend was cheating on me, I didn't say anything for a full year, and then, I decided to flip out about it at his office Christmas party. Imagine if I just hadn't bottled up my feelings! Things would have gone a lot more smoothly! (That wouldn't have fixed the cheating part, though.)
Rogers says, "Instead of letting an epic emotional storm flood your house, get over the fear of being 'that girl.' Learn how to calmly communicate when things bother you and what hurts your feelings, so you can a) avoid that in the future and b) release the associated emotion so it doesn't pile up. You will avoid a lot of meltdowns in your future!"
So if your relationship is failing, it might be because you're expecting your significant other to be a psychic, or you're constantly giving him the silent treatment when things don't go your way. Remember, healthy communication is the key to a good relationship, and there's a difference between having needs and being needy.
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