In Part 2, we continue to look at how we can build a healthy and exciting dating relationship, remembering that it takes two individuals to build it together. This blog helps us unlock how we avoid the trap of focusing on being an individual too much, which will damage us from being a united couple.  

I always say relationships don’t involve perfect people. No one is perfect, we all make mistakes, and no couple is perfect. 

Dating (and marriage) is about two flawed people committed to making it work; two individual people building something together. 

Part 1 examined how we can avoid the traps that cause us to focus on our relationship so much that we forget that we’re individuals with individual value. We can’t constantly sacrifice our own happiness, wider friendships and hobbies for a romantic relationship.  

However, this blog looks at some of the traps which can cause us to focus so much on being an individual that we keep our relationship at arm’s length and stop investing in it in a healthy way. The things we need to think about are: 

  • Always Putting ‘My’ Needs First? 
  • Spending Too Little Time Together?
  • Including Them In Future Plans?
  • Scared To Be Vulnerable?  

Always Putting ‘My’ Needs First?

As I said in Part 1 of this post, we need to build mutual enjoyment and respect. If we think a relationship is all about what ‘I can get’, or we expect the person we’re dating to fit around ‘my’ needs and lifestyle, it will only be a one-way street. 

It’s worth asking if we have fallen into this trap by mistake

There are times when, because of stress or external difficulties, my wife has been more of a support to me and done more than her ‘fair share’. There are times when I have done the same for her, so the needs of one of us are more in focus for a while. But those times are the exception, not the rule. 

If we think a relationship is all about what I can get, the relationship will not bring the mutual enjoyment and stability we crave. It’s worth asking if we have fallen into this trap by mistake, and remind ourselves that good relationships are a two-way street. 

Spending Too Little Time Together?

When it comes to spending time together, relationships aren’t about quality versus quantity, it’s about both. We need to be doing things that are new, exciting, and creating memories and a strong bond. But it won’t always be like this, sometimes it will be mundane, but we should still be spending a good amount of time together. Both things are needed.  

Yes, we need to invest in wider friendships, hobbies, work, etc, but we can’t just assume our romantic relationship will just sort itself out. (Read I Can’t Come Out, I’m With My Friends, Again!

So many couples fall into this trap, especially when dating. We need to make time to build the relationship, invest in it, and sacrifice time for it, otherwise, it won’t work. 

Including Them In Future Plans?

When discussing your relationship, are you and the person you’re with using the words ‘we’ and ‘our’ rather them ‘me’ and ‘I’? The latter shows that we aren’t thinking about including each other in our future plans (Read With This One Trick, You’ll See How They Really Feel) 

When we think too much about our individual plans and discount the person we are with, we need to ask why that is. Obviously, we won’t include them in our plans in a big life-changing way after the first date! But if our mindset never changes, it will not help us build a strong sustainable relationship. 

Scared To Be Vulnerable? 

When you ask couples who have been together for a long time for advice, at some point they will talk about trust. 

For a relationship to thrive there needs to be trust. This only comes when we give each other the chance to be trusted and are vulnerable. 

 It’s hard, and it shouldn’t be rushed into only after a few dates

I’ve written about this in more detail elsewhere (Read Intimacy Without Vulnerability’, Why It Won’t Work) but without vulnerability, without us being authentic and sharing the things we worry about, are scared of, etc., we won’t be able to build the relationship we crave. We won’t be able to be with someone who knows us completely and still sticks around. 

It’s hard, and it shouldn’t be rushed into only after a few dates, but it’s something every couple needs to do together. 

Imagine If…

Imagine if we avoided the trap of thinking a relationship is just about two individuals thinking about ‘my needs’.

All good, enjoyable relationships are about two people, building something together, fostering mutual respect and mutual fulfilment. By avoiding the traps we’ve spoken about, we can give our relationship the best chance of thriving. (Read How To Navigate The Confusing Messages From Our Dating Culture)

Do you think there are more traps to avoid? Comments welcome below

Originally posted 29/7/2019