It's human, we all make mistakes.
As a dating coach, I am not exempt from making mistakes in my own love life. The mistakes I have made in the past allow me to learn and grow. Ironically dating hardships have always been a launching pad for my personal growth. By applying my methodology and using the tools of accountability and self-reflection I have been able to extract wisdom from all types of otherwise stupid situations.
Here are some of the things I have learned over the years from making many mistakes.
Adopting their social groups as my own.
When you’re an extrovert it is easy to get along with most people. This makes you the friendly girlfriend everyone likes to hang out with and that's great! It is easy to get caught up in their world through and lose yourself. The hard part with adopting their social group as your own is after the break up it is much more difficult to find separation and closure. You lose your lover but also now you also risk losing their friends and family that became yours. The best-case scenario is you break up, stay amicable, and keep their friends and family as your own but now you have unnecessary ties to explain to your next partner.
Listening to respond rather than listening to understand.
One of the worst things most people do is listen to respond in communication. If you are only listening to argue your point then you are not actually listening at all. Your partner and you both need to feel seen and heard. This can not happen if you are in defensive lawyer mode. It's a relationship, not a courtroom, so calm down Jude Judy.
Threaten to leave all the time.
This used to be one of my most toxic traits. I wanted my partners to know I could vanish at a moment's notice, that they were always on thin ice. It was honestly a projection of my own anxious attachment style and fears of abandonment. Thankfully I've grown out of that (shout out to therapy and shadow work!) because if you do this you lose leverage when you actually do need to pull the emergency brake. Threatening a breakup all the time is emotionally manipulative and creates a lack of security in the relationship. There may be times you actually do need to step away from a situation to reevaluate but if you threaten it for months prior and stayed your partner will likely not take your actions seriously.
Settling for a nonchalant attitude in my partners.
The opposite of love is not hate, it's apathy. If there is one thing I realized I don't like it's a nonchalant partner. So ambivalent, so lacking passion, so cowardly in vibration. Honestly, love me boldly and bravely, express your emotions like a healed human or leave me alone. While I recognize the nonchalant attitude is a defense mechanism in individuals used to protect their own feelings from the sting of rejection, we are too old to play the who cares less game. Showing apathy towards your partners is not cool.
Fall into monogamy.
Probably one of the most repeated mistakes of my past, I learned the hard way that intentionally matters. The struggle with most people dating under the age of 35 is a vast lack of intentionally. Intentionality matters because making a choice signals commitment. When you fall into monogamy you don't really make a choice it just happens due to time. While this is easy for the commitment-phobic and unserious it's the worst possible foundation for anyone who actually cares about the quality of their dating experiences. As silly and old-fashioned as it sounds, it’s best to have a conversation for every new stage in the relationship including moving from casual dating/talking to exclusive dating/in a relationship. Let there be clear and direct communication from both parties on the intention to explore and share this chapter of life.
*Falling into monogamy because they don't want you to have sex with anyone else is also a red flag and poor foundation for a relationship*
Proving my worth to my partners.
People who like you and value you see your worth upfront and don't make you prove it. They literally wouldn't even be entertaining you if they didn't see your worth so if they are acting like you need to show it there respectfully remove yourself because they must be smoking crack. Simple as that.
Over explaining to prove I’m telling the truth.
If I answer your question the first time and you are unsatisfied with my response and you need me to expand on my story because you don’t believe me please just excuse yourself. Honestly, I wouldn’t even end up entertaining anyone like this at this point in life but it's a huge red flag. Trust your partner and believe them until you have hard evidence to say otherwise. You waste your own time staying in relationships with people you can’t trust just to punish them. Normal people don't play detective with everything their partners say or do because they have other priorities taking up their mental real estate. Inspector gadget tendencies equal trust issues.
Saying disrespectful or hurtful things out of anger.
Hardest lesson learned but once it is said you can’t take it back and the damage is done. The best practice is to take space and time to gather your thought and allow the big emotions to settle.
Expecting my partner to do everything with me.
Doing things together is cool, but codependency is draining. Healthy relationships come from people who have enjoyable separate lives and no apprehension around comingling their joyful lives.
Accepting compartmentalization from partners.
This is a sign they don’t want you in their life in a serious way. Do not excuse or rationalize a partner who compartmentalizes every aspect of their life as this is a sign of poor emotional health. We are not children anymore, there is no reason to be sneaking around your family and friends like 14-year-olds who are not allowed to date. While independence is sexy there is something deeply wrong if you have to be totally separate facet of your partner's life.