Romantic relationships are just as mental and emotional as they are physical. Your mental state, as well as your partner’s mental state, has a deciding influence that sets the tone for the relationship between the two of you.
Therefore, it’s very important to keep a positive attitude about your relationship.
If you don’t, there are multiple negatively potholes that can make the road of your romance bumpy and may even cause a relationship car crash.
Pothole #1: Jealousy and Possessiveness
Say you’ve always been the jealous type. In preschool, you cried when the teacher made you share your favorite toy. In high school you hated it when you BFF 5ever hung out with other friends—especially without you.
Now, your eyes turn green with envy and your face turns red with anger, whenever you see your partner talking with someone else. Every conversation your partner has with someone else flirtation. Every moment you two spend apart is time together stolen from you and you always demand to know what your partner was up to.
The feeling of jealousy is normal. All humans experience it. But it becomes a problem when it dominates your relationship.
Jealousy and possessiveness can be damaging for a relationship because they generate hostility from you towards your partner and others. It can make your partner feel accused and untrusted. Without trust, a relationship cannot exist, and so the Jealousy and Possessiveness Pothole can run your relationship car off the road.
How to Swerve around this Pothole:
The first, fasted thing you can do is realize and internalize that the world, the people in the world, and your partner, do not revolve around you. You have friends, family members, work, hobbies and other activities and people outside of the romantic relationship with your partner. So why can’t your partner have the same?
You’re not betraying your partner by having a girl’s night out or getting up and going to work every morning, and your partner is not betraying you by hanging out with his buddies at the sports bar every Monday night or taking a business trip out of town one week.
The second, harder thing to do is realize and internalize that you cannot control others, even your partner. Being jealous and possessive won’t stop your partner from cheating or leaving you—in fact, it may even make that more likely.
So when you recognize that jealously and possessiveness only make what you fear into a reality, then it should be easier to stop yourself from acting on those feelings.
Finally, the most difficult thing you must eventually do, is examine where the jealousy and possessiveness within you come from.
Maybe you never felt close to one or both of your parents, so want to stay extra close to others in your life to make up for that. Maybe you were cheated on in the past, or left out of the blue.
Your trust issues are understandable, but you can’t take out the hurt caused by previous lovers on your new partner. It isn’t fair, and would hurt your partner similarly to the way you’ve been hurt.
So, to get over this, you must heal from past emotional harm, recognize how jealousy is unhealthy and painful for both you and your partner, and slowly learn to trust. This is difficult and may take a long time. Seeking counseling could speed and ease the process, though.
Feelings of jealousy are unavoidable. Everyone experiences them. But with time and effort you can train yourself to not let those feelings consume you and your relationship.
Pothole #2: Depression
Depression is persistent feeling of sadness, hopelessness and apathy that comes as a result of a chemical imbalance and lowered electrical activity in the brain. Though being in a relationship can boost dopamine and oxytocin levels, neurotransmitters that make you happy, sometimes these are not enough and depression over powers your life—and your relationship.
Relationships can suffer as a result of depression because the depressed partner may not feel energetic enough to spend time with their loved one, or might not be able to provide enough affection to their partner. Though this is not the fault of the depressed partner, depression can hurt the relationship and the partner almost as much it hurts the person who is depressed.
How to Climb Out this Pothole:
If you feel as if you are depressed, or are experiencing any symptoms of depression, therapy and medication are most likely to help. Exercise, meditation, spending time with people and pets who care about you, and hobbies you enjoy can all aid, as well, but the expertise of a trained professional is necessary.
Also, if you’re feeling depressed let your partner know so that they’re not confused about your behavior and don’t think that it’s their fault. It can be soothing to share your feelings and if your partner genuinely cares for you, they will be understanding and supportive.
Having a healthy relationship with a loving, supportive partner can ease depression, but not cure it. Still, the helping hand of a loved one and the strong arm of a strong relationship can help counseling and medication pull you out of the deep pit of depression.
Pothole #3: The Grass is Always Greener
As the saying goes, “the grass is always greener on the other side.” There’s always someone who has it better—there’s always someone who is better.
If you’re the type who always has to have the newest IPhone but also regrets your order at a restaurant after seeing what the guy at the next table is eating, you may have a Grass is Always Greener mindset. You want the best and are always afraid you don’t really have it.
That mindset in a relationship leads to trouble.
You’re walking down the sidewalk with your man and you see another woman walking with her man. Her man has a six pack. Her man is six feet tall. Her man makes six figures.
She has it better than you.
Suddenly, the man you thought was amazing—he took you out to dinner, he played with your nieces and nephews, he helped clean your apartment—isn’t so amazing any
You let go of your man’s hand as you stare from behind your sunglasses at her man.
Why can’t you have that guy?
Your guy is amazing, but her guy is more amazing.
“The grass is always greener…”
How to Fill In this Pothole:
If you find yourself second-guessing your choice in partner each time you see a ‘better’ potential partner, then stop and remind yourself of all the good things about the partner you have; all the reasons you chose to be with this person and not some other person out there.
Then, realize that you don’t know everything about everyone you happen to see. They may appear ‘better’, but nobody is perfect, and they have their own flaws, just like your partner has flaws.
And you have flaws. How would you feel if your partner reconsidered the relationship each time they saw a potentially ‘better’ partner?
This relationship pothole is the easiest problem to solve along the romantic road you and your partner are driving. Just remind yourself of the good qualities your partner has and the pothole of the Grass is Always Greener is instantly filled in.
And if you honestly can’t think of enough good qualities to make you forget Mr. Six-pack, then maybe it is time for a new man.