I think that one thing many people get wrong in relationships is constantly blaming their partner for issues within the relationship.
“It is my boyfriend’s fault! He is causing us to have all these problems!”
What I have come to learn through my personal experience is that this ideology is fundamentally invalid at its core. A relationship is in it of itself is a partnership. This partnership lasts due to integrating contributions made by both people. To think that problems resulting from your relationship are solely due to the contributions made my only one partner is not exactly logical.
With that said, I write this to encourage those who are in relationships to constantly self-reflect on their actions towards their partner. By self-reflecting on how you are treating your partner, you will be able to understand the different areas in the relationship that maybe you need to improve on. It may be that you need to practice being more understanding or more sensitive or even more assertive in certain situations. Along with that though, a huge part of improving on yourself is also involving your partner in this process.
Communicating with your partner on things that they feel you neglect in your relationship is key in really knowing the things that you can improve on. I think that if you are in a relationship with someone and you two are having this type of discussion, it is important to be open and honest with them, while also being kind and compassionate. In a relationship, there are very intense and deep feelings involved between the two people. Thus, talking about things that both people can improve on can often be a very awkward and uncomfortable to discuss. The hardest step is simply starting that dialogue, however, once you do it is important that you are honest with how you feel.
Further, when you are being honest with your partner, it is important to realize that some of the things that you are saying to them may be hard for them to hear. Thus, it is critical that if you are the one that is giving out the suggestions, you keep in mind the feelings of your partner. Keeping in mind not only what you are saying, but also how you are saying it will ensure that your partner receives your feedback in a more positive way.
On a different note, if you are the person receiving the feedback, it is critical to not be defensive. It is hard for most people to hear that something that they thought they were doing a good job at is actually something that they still have room to improve in, especially when we are talking about within a relationship. Thus, most people’s instinct is to defend what they have been doing and not to open themselves up to criticism. However, the whole purpose of this dialogue between you and your partner is to help improve each other’s behavior and being defensive will not help in achieving that goal. Listen to what your partner is telling you and really think about what you can do to improve in those things.
I would like to end on the following ideology. By having these types of conversations between you and your partner, you are not somehow indicating that you have a bad relationship or that you or your boyfriend are bad partners. In fact, being able to have these conversations with your partner and being able to actually grow with them really exemplifies the true strength of your relationship.