As I'm sure you've come to realize on your own, it's very easy to overlook the effect individuals have on us. This is especially commonplace when love is involved. Overlooking our partners' flaws and how they really make us feel -- even if it's negative -- is easy.
We can handle a lot of this negativity before we reach our breaking point. But we all have a breaking point. The real issue is that we don't all have the same breaking point. I'm sure we all know people who seem like they could carry the world on their shoulders, just as we know people who break under the lightest of stresses. Some of us can just deal with more sh*t than others.
Though we may all have different breaking points, we all have the same reasons for wanting to call it quits, for wanting to get out and run away. Understanding these reasons -- and making changes to your actions accordingly -- is what we call compromise. Many relationships that could have been saved aren't saved because we don't make a real effort to understand our partners.
For this reason, I've created a list to help you better understand what's going on in your lover's head. Regardless of who he or she is, you'll drive your partner away if you do at least one of these things.
1. You're not giving your partner the support he or she needs.
A relationship is little more than a partnership built upon support. Sure, those butterflies that you're feeling are important, as is the physical chemistry that you share. But there's nothing more important than the way you two support each other.
If you aren't there for your partner when he or she needs you, then what good are you? If your partner calls out for help enough times only to be let down by you, you're conditioning him or her to move away from seeing you as a support system.
And if you won't be your partner's support system, he or she will have to move on to find another one.
Not all of us have family and friends that help hold us up. Those who don't rely especially on the person they love to be there. If you won't let it be you, then it'll be someone else.
2. You're not giving your partner the space he or she needs.
Space isn't just physical. It's mental and emotional as well.
We all want to feel independent (the keyword being "feel"). When we're in a partnership, complete independence goes out the window. When we love someone, our happiness quite literally depends on that person.
However, we still want to feel free. We want physical space to do the things we want to do solo or with other people in our life. We want mental and emotional space to think, experience and enjoy other things and people in our life.
Have you ever had something on your mind that at first made you feel like it was the best thing ever, but then it eventually ended up weighing you down? Our minds need space to allow for personal growth. How much space or in what sense we need that space depends on the individual.
And if you care for your partner enough, you'll make an effort to understand what kind of space, and how much of it, he or she needs.
3. You're either too jealous or not jealous enough.
Passion. Too little of it and your relationship will wither away, but too much of it and your relationship will explode. There's a right way to be passionate, and there's the wrong way. Jealousy in particular is necessary for this.
If you disagree, let me ask you this: Wouldn't you be disappointed to learn that your man or woman feels absolutely no jealousy when someone else hits on you? Of course you'd be hurt. We want to be independent, but we also want the person we love to feel like he or she has some ownership over us. We want them to believe we are theirs and only theirs -- even though we know that's never truly the case.
Never being jealous is the equivalent of not caring, just as being too jealous is being unrealistically demanding and overly egotistical.
4. You're not giving your partner the security he or she needs.
We, like other animals, are designed to need security. It's one of our most basic needs, right up there with food, water and sleep.
If we feel insecure, our fight-or-flight response is triggered. We become restless. We begin to see the worst in things and start contemplating whether or not it would just be best to run away.
What exactly is security? I can give you a dictionary definition if you'd like, but truth be told, it's not so much security that you need to give as it is the feeling of security you need to elicit.
You need to make him or her feel safe. That's Relationships 101. You need to make your partner feel secure in the relationship, secure in his or her own skin, secure in his or her positive outlook and way of thinking.
Again, how you make that happen will depend on the person you love. Have confidence that you can figure it out, because you can. Often at times, all it takes is a conversation.
5. You're not helping your partner enjoy today.
We all have bad days. We all have days when we need to take care of ourselves and don't want to deal with anybody else.
On those days, we need our lover to help us understand why today is a great day. We need our partner to cheer us up, to make us laugh and smile. No matter how crappy things may be going, we want someone in our lives that will make us feel better.
To be such a partner, you need to be selfless. You need to overlook how sh*tty you may be feeling and focus on someone else's happiness instead. Of course, this isn't always possible. Sometimes, our own sh*t is piled so high that we can't see anything past it.
The good news is that you have someone in your life that can, even if only for a brief moment, make you happy. And all you need to do is to make them happy in return.
Don't let the world weigh you guys down and possibly destroy something that's so beautiful. Help each other find the good in even the worst situations, and I promise you that you'll have the best possible chance at getting things to work themselves out.
6. You're not helping your partner look forward to tomorrow.
If I had to pick the single most important aspect of any romantic relationship -- one that really either makes or breaks a relationship -- it's this one.
Feeling good today is important, but it's not as important as feeling good about tomorrow. You need to give your partner that. You need to give your partner hope.
If he or she looks at you and sees a bleak future filled with a rollercoaster of emotions and uncertainty, then I can tell you right now that things aren't going to last. They can't last. Eventually, that horrible tomorrow that he or she is afraid of will make its way to today.
If, on the other hand, you give the one you love a reason to look forward to tomorrow, a reason to let go of their past, enjoy the moment and wait in anticipation for all that the future holds for the two of you, then the two of you won't only create a lasting love -- you'll create a future that surpasses all your wildest dreams.
If you don't want to drive your partner away, show him or her that a tomorrow with you is better than any possible tomorrow without you.