They say we learn from our mistakes – and it seems we make a lot of them in our first long-term relationship. It is, of course, completely natural to get things wrong the first time around. But what are the classic mistakes most first-time lovers make in their first relationships and how can they be avoided to keep the love alive?
‘Regardless of how many times we’ve been attracted, how many times we’ve dated – even how many times we’ve made love – our first serious relationship is always going to be amazing, astonishing… and full of pitfalls,’ explains Durex’s Sex and Relationship spokesperson, Susan Quilliam.
‘First love, mutual and committed, is different from anything that’s ever happened to us before. And that means we’re absolutely in line to get it wrong.’
Along with dating and relationship coach for women, India Kang, eHarmony relationship expert, Dr Linda Papadopoulos, and relationship expert and award-winning writer Dr Kaszina Ph.D, Susan shared the ten golden ways you could be going wrong and their advice on how to fix it.
1. Giving too much too soon.
When you first meet someone new, it’s not unusual to want to spend all your time together. This is a mistake which lots of people make; they falsely think spending all their time together will bring them closer. Often it has the opposite effect. You know what they say: ‘familiarity breeds contempt’. It’s best if you unfold slowly and take your time getting to know each other, there really is no rush.
2. Oversharing on social media.
Some people don’t like their relationships splattered all over Facebook and social media. Updating your facebook status to ‘in a relationship’ really doesn’t mean anything. Respect each other’s privacy and be careful with what you share.
3. Expecting them to be available 24/7.
Just because you’re in a relationship, doesn’t mean the other person is available to you 24/7, you might be together but you should both still have your own lives
4. Getting needy or clingy.
No one is in charge of your happiness, getting needy or clingy is a turn off! Putting the other person in charge of your happiness is a great way to ruin the relationship.
5. Putting your life on hold.
Don’t put your life on hold; keep up your own life and your own interests. Hopefully you had a life before you were in a long-term relationship, which shouldn’t change.
6. Trying to force commitment.
Asking where ‘this is going’ or whether they want children or marriage before the other person is ready to commit can cause problems.
7. Overanalysing his every move and word.
Overanalysing his every text or message or reading too much onto his words is also a passion killer, it’s best to ignore words and watch actions.
8. Thinking cohabitation is the natural next step.
Lots of couples rush into this when often it’s the kiss of death for most relationships.
9. The curse of the jogging pants.
In other words, now you’re in a relationship don’t let yourself go. Don’t assume it no longer matters, it does matter, take in an interest in your work, keep up your exercise and healthy eating plans and make sure you have your own interests
10. Comparing your relationship to others.
To compare is to despair, be grateful for what you’ve got, build, grow and invest in your relationship daily and don’t think the ‘grass is greener.’
11. Needing a relationship for their street credibility.
Nobody wants to be the last of their friends to be single, for fear of what it might say about them. The more you feel that fear, the more inclined you will be to accept anyone who more or less fits your peer group’s standards. This may well mean that you focus primarily on appearances. Not the best basis for lasting happiness.
12. Seeing the other person as your home improvement project.
You tell yourself that you absolutely love them; all they need is a little tweaking and changing to be absolutely perfect – and you’re the person to do that tweaking and changing. People don’t take kindly to being tweaked and changed. It gives them the message that they are not good enough as they are. That’s when the Law of Reciprocity swings into play: if you find fault with them, they’ll find fault with you. That’s not good for any relationship.
13. Emotional baggage overload.
People fondly imagine that a first relationship has magic healing powers, so they only have to bring all their past hurts and trauma to the relationship and it will all be burned away in the cleansing fire of love. If only! In reality what happens is that all of this emotional baggage acts like a fire hose which will extinguish the fire of love. You need to deal with your own problems before you get into a relationship. Unless you can both show up in the relationship as mature, happy adults you can’t have a mature, happy relationship.
14. Expecting perfect love as seen in movies.
We see a lot of perfect couples on film and it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking every day in your relationship will be flawless. Relationships are hard work, but the good news is that you tend to get out what you put in. Also, beware of falling for the concept, not the person/ It’s very flattering when we find someone who wants us, when we find a relationship that feels like it’s ‘grownup’. But we can get drawn into the concept of serious, ignoring the fact that it’s the relationship we want, not our particular partner. If you ask yourself whether – if you replaced your serious partner with someone else – you’d still be happy so long as you were going steady, it’s a danger sign. Make your first serious partnership one that you can truly take seriously because the two of you are genuinely in love not because you want to be seen to be in love.
15. Not being willing to admit you got it wrong.
Even if you try your best, you may not get it all right first time around. There’s no shame in that. You’re only human. It’s not a hanging offence. Sometimes, the best thing is to learn your lesson and move on. Trying desperately to hold onto a relationship that has no future is tempting. Maybe you’re frightened of being alone, or worried what people will think. In both cases, you’ll survive. Staying too long in a relationship that has run its course will damage your confidence and only delay the inevitable. When it’s time to leave, leave with grace knowing that you’ll be better equipped to find your perfect long-term partner next time round.