Before I tell you what the worst thing you can do in a relationship is, let me start by saying this:
There are actually a few things you can do wrong in a relationship.
But, in my opinion, there is only one thing that damages relationships more than others (not counting cheating). This one thing opens up a rabbit hole of anxiety and before you know it, you’re spinning out of control. We all do it to some degree, but for highly anxious people, it’s especially damaging.
The worst thing you can do in a relationship is assume.
That’s it. Assumption.
Stop and think about it for a second. Have you ever assumed anything only to be completely wrong? I can almost guarantee that you have…because we all have. In fact, the very definition of assumption is: a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof. Those last two words are key. No wonder we’ve all been wrong before.
Assumption usually means that you haven’t effectively communicated with the other person. Assuming that they will act a certain way or do something the way you want them to without actually talking to them about it makes relationships a lot harder than they have to be. Once you start that game, it will continue until you hit a breaking point. Usually, that breaking point is at the most inopportune time and creates a lot of unnecessary drama.
This actually applies to ANY relationship…coworkers, friends, family or partners.
I used to assume a lot at work, which helped contribute to most of my distress and unhappiness. I’m a total type A personality (my motto having been ‘Do it right the first time or not at all’). I was constantly on edge, making sure my hand was in every pot to avoid any problems down the line. Not only did that put undue stress on me, it also made me resentful toward others…simply because I felt I was the only person who could do it right. I’ve since learned that I cannot assume everyone does things the way I do. I also cannot control every outcome. Allowing things to unfold naturally has made me so much happier.
In personal relationships, when you start assuming things about your partner, the spiral of anxiety rears its ugly head and it’s hard to escape. I can’t tell you how many fights could have been avoided if I had just communicated my concern instead of holding it in and allowing my mind to spiral. More often than not, the reality wasn’t what I thought at all, but just a projection of an insecurity I had.
Communication is key.
Effective communication can solve many, many problems. There may be times when we just ASSUME things are obvious, but not everyone thinks the same. Therefore, it’s important to touch upon things either before or as they happen. Creating an open line of communication may seem a bit scary to those that are used to doing things on their own, but trust me, it gets easier. Scheduling time for open communication is also a good idea. That way you have time to write down any concerns, knowing it will all be addressed at that time.
If you feel like you’ve tried everything and can’t seem to hold an open line of communication with someone, consider outside help. A therapist will be able to teach you effective methods of communication and you will also have a safe space to put it all out on the table. You may just need that little push out of your comfort zone to really let things start to flow.
Remember, the worst thing you can do in a relationship is not communicate, which in turn makes you assume things about your partner that most likely are not true.
Feel free to let me know what you think below!