Many romantic relationships start with infatuation. This can lead to several months of romance and excitement. But eventually, the newness wears off. And it’s around this point — usually the one-year mark — that mistakes can compromise the relationship and lead to a breakup.
The Challenge of the 1-Year Mark
Relationships come in all shapes and sizes. And while it’s hard to cast generalities or make blanket statements, almost every relationship experiences a seismic shift at the one-year mark. It’s at this point that little issues start to become bigger problems. But if you make it through this tumultuous period, you can make it through anything.
Around month 12, you’ll need to proactively avoid and/or address the following costly mistakes:
1. Never Digging Beneath the Surface
Every relationship starts with walls. Sometimes the walls are high and other times they’re quite shallow… but there are always walls.
Walls are a good thing in the first few months of a relationship. They offer a form of self- protection and prevent you from being hurt because the other partner isn’t as serious about the relationship as you are. But eventually the walls have to come down.
If walls don’t come down around the 12-month mark, it’s possible that they’ll never come down. This can lead to a shallow long-term relationship where neither partner truly knows one another.
Now is the time to dig beneath the surface. Attempt to understand your partner on multiple levels. Feel free to use a variety of tactics, including in-depth tools like astrology.
If you’re dating a Taurus man, for example, it’s helpful to know that he’s neat, clean, and likes things to be orderly and fairly predictable. If you change things up on your guy at the last moment without any explanation, it’s going to frustrate him. Without an understanding of astrology, you might just think he’s being a jerk. However, the more you know about Taurus men, the more you’ll realize it’s the way he’s wired. He’s just being him!
Any energy and effort you put into knowing your partner on a more intimate level will always be rewarded.
2. Taking Your Partner for Granted
“As relationships mature, there’s a tendency to assume that it’s fine to let the normal niceties of life slip and slide,” psychologist Susan Krauss Whitbourne writes. “Some of this is normal, appropriate, and even relationship-building. However, from time to time it doesn’t hurt to reflect on what life would be like without your partner.”
By reflecting on what your life would be like without your partner, you’ll gain some interesting insights into just how much your partner means to you. (And if you don’t, then this is a sign that your relationship isn’t as meaningful as you thought.) Use this time of reflection as a simple tool for resetting your mind and showing your partner appreciation.
3. Letting Boundaries Slip
In the initial weeks of a relationship, you’re very protective over your partner. Everything is sacred and you want to safeguard it as much as possible. When your partner brings you something special, confidential, or intimate, you hold it tightly. But as the relationship grows and you reach the one-year mark, there’s a tendency to let others into your private world. Whether out of frustration (needing to vent) or laziness, you say something to a close friend or overshare on Instagram.
The more mindful you are of the tendency to let boundaries slip, the less likely it is that you’ll say or do something that could compromise the relationship.
4. Putting Too Much Pressure on the “Next Step”
When the year mark hits, you start getting questions from friends and family…
“So, do you think she’s the one?”
“Are you going to put a ring on it?”
“Are things getting serious?”
If you’re being honest with yourself, you have some of the same questions bouncing around inside your head, too. And while it’s good to be thinking about next steps, you can’t put too much pressure on yourself. The relationship is still relatively new and there’s nothing wrong with taking things slow.
5. Constantly Complaining to Others
This one kind of goes hand in hand with the idea of letting boundaries slip. If you aren’t careful, you can let little problems drive you crazy. And when little issues drive you crazy, what do you do? You start complaining to others. Do this enough and it backfires on you. (Not to mention, you’ll experience a massive buildup of resentment, which could cause you to snap.)
Keeping the Relationship Together
If you can avoid the five mistakes outlined in this article, your relationship will be considerably stronger and less prone to erosion. For best results, review each of these items as a couple and work together to solve them before they lead to an irreparable fracture.