“No-ones perfect and we all make honest mistakes.”
The success of your relationship may rely on these 8 simple words.
Mistakes happen – in life and in relationships – the key is to be honest with your partner and admit when you’re wrong. If you think you’re perfect – and you’re waiting for your “perfect” match to come along – you may be single for a very long time.
Here’s 5 fixable mistakes it’s okay to make in a relationship (Source: L. Howard):
1. Telling White Lies: “White lies are OK to make,” says April Masini, relationship expert. “In fact, tell your partner you like the sweater, the haircut or the meatloaf – just to keep the peace and pump up [their] self-esteem. Would it kill you to say his mother’s apple pie is amazing when it isn’t? Let the white lies go. They’re not just harmless, they keep the peace.”
Although honesty is super important in a relationship and it’s better to have a partner with whom you can share your honest opinion, some little things just aren’t worth the strife. So don’t feel guilty if you’re not entirely truthful all the time – when it comes to minor things, sometimes white lies are better than the painful truth.
2. Innocent Flirting: flirting and developing small crushes is part of human nature – and that doesn’t change when you’re in a relationship with someone.
Sure, it might be a better idea to flirt with your partner, but it’s also nothing to be ashamed of if you sometimes bat your eyelashes at your favorite barista. It’s not cheating to interact with other people, even if you happen to find them attractive or have a little crush on them. The only thing that’s important is knowing where to draw the line: banter all you want, but don’t slip the bartender your number at the end of the night.
3. Mild Jealousy: Every relationship comes with some level of jealousy. While unhealthy amounts of jealousy can lead a partner to be possessive or controlling, there are also more mild instances of jealousy, which are perfectly normal.
“[Mild jealousy] can indicate that the partners are still in love with each other enough to care and feel threatened by the idea of [their] partner being attracted to someone else or that someone else is attracted to [their] partner,” says Yvonne Thomas, licensed psychologist. “This mild jealousy ‘mistake’ can actually breathe some life into a relationship that one or both partners may have felt was complacent or stagnant.”
4. Birth Control Mishaps: This is one area where no one wants to mess up. Still, that doesn’t mean birth control mistakes don’t happen – and probably more often than we’d like.
“Many of us are so focused on being perfect the first time around, we don’t explore the ‘what ifs,'” says “Girl Code” host Nessa. “What if something happens and things don’t go according to plan? What are my options? This is particularly important when it comes to contraception. Even if you think you are doing everything right, it is important to be informed about your options in the event you need a backup plan.”
Although, in heterosexual relationships, the onus usually falls on women to be ‘in charge’ of birth control, in reality, avoiding accidental pregnancy is the responsibility of both partners. It’s important is that you are able to communicate with your partner about any mishaps that may happen. Missing a few days’ worth of pills, though not ideal, is something that can occasionally happen. It’s not OK to fail to tell your partner this info so the two of you can come up with an alternate birth control plan together.
5. Forgetting A Special Event: Although many of us would all like to think we have our sh– together constantly, sometimes we’re so busy that something important slips through the cracks, like failing to put your partner’s birthday in your iCal. It might be horrifying to realize a mistake like that and have to make it up to your partner, but at the end of the day, admitting your error is more important than never making the mistake in the first place.
“As I see it, a one time indiscretion doesn’t do the real damage,” says Elinor Robin, PhD, LMFT, LMHC. “The real problems happen when the slights occur as a series over time.”
Try not to be forgetful, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you occasionally slip up – after all, that’s what flowers and chocolates were invented for.
“It’s OK to make almost any mistake, as long as it doesn’t give your partner a sense of being devalued – feeling dismissed, discounted, disrespected, or disenfranchised,” Robin says. “So, it’s not the mistake that matters: it’s the end result [or] consequence of the mistake. The bottom line, no matter what the mistake: you will be able to erase it if you can give your partner a sense of being valued and connected.”
At the end of the day, we all mess up from time to time. What’s important is being willing to admit when we’re wrong or when we hurt our partner, and working to communicate better together.