I’m a qualified personal coach and NLPMP, which means that I spend a lot of time helping people navigate their relationships. Whether family or romantic entanglements, I spend a lot of time listening to the problems that people are having and then I help them set them right.

One thing that has really struck me, time and time again, are the mindsets that cause serious clashes throughout my clients’ most intimate partnerships.

By now, we all understand that our thoughts and beliefs have a direct effect on the quality of our lives. The same can be said of our romantic relationships, too. Your mindset has everything to do with how happy you are in love. Having the right mindset can bring joy and connection. The wrong mindset? Well, it can set you up for disaster…

What kind of mindsets are you carrying into your intimate partnerships?

Are you carrying yourself high? Demanding pedestals and total allegiance to the exclusion of others? Are you allowing your partners to walk all over you? To demand compromises they have no right to?

All of this boils down to the mindsets you create and maintain throughout these relationships. Do you want your happy ever after? Then you have to make sure you’re going into your love with healthy and balanced states of mind.

The mindsets that lead to relationship breakdown.

Start off with the basics. When was the last time you reassessed the mindsets you carry into your relationships? Here’s your chance. Slide from those insecure and outdated beliefs into something more fulfilling and healthy for both you and your partner.

“I should always come first.”

Are you someone who demands to be first in your partner’s life? While it might be nice to think that someone will always choose you over everything (and everyone else) — that’s a selfish and unrealistic way to approach any relationship. A relationship requires balance…not worship.

You have to let your partner make space for other people in their lives. Remember, they still have their own families. They have friends and co-workers. They still have independent elements of their life before you.

There should be no pedestal for worship in your partnership. You shouldn’t demand that your partner shut out people who make them happy. A happy relationship cannot stand for partners who exclude the family and friends of their partner…just to serve insecurities.

“They should always come first.”

The opposite mindset also has a detrimental impact on a romantic relationship. Just as you cannot demand to be the center of your partner’s entire existence, you also cannot afford to make your partner the sole focus of your happiness or existence either.

You must have the freedom to fulfill your own needs. You must have the freedom to remain close to and supported by the people who love you most.

You and your partner should be able to come to the table as equals. There’s no need to compete with one another or the world. Both of you hold more than enough love in your heart to ensure your partnership is a success. Allow yourself to be fully connected with yourself and the world outside, too.

“Love can conquer anything.”

If you’re someone who has frequently said the phrase, “Love can conquer anything!” then you are also probably the kind of person who has had some disappointing and unrealistic relationships. While this mindset might be noble — the idea that loving someone means you stay by them no matter what — it’s also dangerous.

First, it encourages you to settle for subpar relationships. It makes you want to stick around even when you aren’t being treated the way you deserve. But there’s another aspect to it as well.

When you cling to the idea that “love can conquer anything,” you set yourself up for some serious disappointment. The first time you hit a serious challenge to your partner, you may make the opposite assumption.

“If we really loved each other, this bad stuff wouldn’t be happening.” That leads you right down the road of jumping before you’re pushed. It’s a nasty and fast-food cycle to be trapped in.

“Conflict means our love is bad.”

Too many couples out there believe that “true love” comes with a lack of conflict. Fighting means that the relationship is bad in the minds of individuals like that. It’s a mindset that’s disastrous to hold in a healthy and long-term partnership.

Clinging to this mindset discourages healthy conflict — which is a natural part of any relationship that we have (be it romantic, platonic, or familial). Healthy relationships and healthy people can navigate healthy conflict.

You can end up becoming the couple who won’t argue because you believe that’s automatically a break-up-worthy event. Or you may come to think that you were wrong about your partner (or yourself) and your needs.

Over time, this unaddressed conflict boils over into resentment and emotional explosions. Disagreements are always best dealt with at the moment, with an honest and up-front conversation between the two of you.

“Kids will fix the equation.”

One of the worst mindsets or belief systems you can cling to is the idea that family or children fix things. So many couples fall into this trap and end up creating messes that not only destroy their lives but the lives of their children as well. Family design is nothing to mess with when you’re struggling with basic relationship foundations.

Never think that increasing your obligations (and stress) as a couple will make you closer or repair cracks that are showing in the foundation of your relationship. If anything, it will increase pressure and push both you and your partner to the breaking point.

Children should only be welcomed into happy, complete, fulfilled, stable, and emotionally healthy couples. People who have all their designs out on the table are aligned, focused, and completely clear on who they are, who they love, and what they want out of life.

“We can always compromise.”

Listen, it’s noble to think that you and your partner can compromise on everything. Like the family trap, though, this is a slippery slope on which nothing is as it seems…

The fact of the matter is that you can’t always compromise on everything. It’s not possible. You are going to have to get certain things out of yourself, your life, and your relationship in order to be happy. The same goes for your partner.

Sure. You can compromise on things like what color you paint the bedroom, or where you get dinner. You can even compromise on things like trips and the pets you adopt.

You can’t compromise on everything. When it’s something key, like building a family, lifestyle, or career choices, personal needs have to be honored. Denying these things is disastrous, and will result in one (or both of you) feeling resentful and unfulfilled.

“If it was love it wouldn’t be work.”

We’ve all been sold a serious fairy tale when it comes to love. From the time we were little, we were shown dream couples running off into the sunset in a shower of “love-at-first-sight” sparks. We thought our love would be the same. Love, though, never looks the same as it does in the movies.

You see, the love on tv is effortless. Sure, there’s some ups and downs here and there. But those couples always find each other and always find the means to magically discover a happily ever after free of bills and stress and chaos. Real love is anything but effortless. It requires real, sustained effort.

Hanging on to this delusional mindset can create the toxic belief that you have to cut and run every time a relationship is challenged. Believing that good love is effortless love (like in the movies) you’ll cut and run anytime there’s a serious need to look inward or show support.

Cutting and running out of every partnership means you can’t grow as a partner and your relationship with that person can’t truly be tested or progress. No, this doesn’t apply to abusive relationships. It is important to remember, however, that real love takes work and nourishment every single day.

“They hurt me because they love me.”

Were you raised in a toxic or abusive home as a child? What about your earliest relationships? Were they one-sided? Damaging? Being regularly hurt or neglected by the people we love most can change the way we see love and ourselves. Some might choose to close off, but others see that hurt as “love”.

Don’t cling to the mindset that someone who loves you would hurt you. That’s simply not the case. If someone truly loves you, they won’t take action they know will damage your trust. They won’t say things that cut at your insecurities. They won’t tear you down or make it harder for you to live in the world. That’s not how it works.

Holding on to this belief or this mindset leads you into toxic relationships. What you have to hold on to, instead, is the knowledge that the right partner will honor your feelings and needs as dearly as they honor their own.

How to set the right relationship mindset…

In our relationship patterns, the mindset is everything. Having the right mindset (and relevant beliefs) can lead to healthy relationships and a fully realized self-concept. If those mindsets are negative, self-limiting, and based on low self-worth, though, we can battle toxic partners and damaging partnerships that can prevent us from building the future we crave.

Give yourself a solid base of self-esteem to launch from. You won’t have the ability to visualize or act on the right partnerships without it. Believe in yourself. Love yourself. And then use this newfound love to recognize your genuine needs in life and in your partnerships.

Heal your inner wounds and don’t leave those up to the next person in your life to manage. You are responsible for your happiness. A partner simply complements that. Approach yourself with greater compassion. Don’t punish yourself for mistakes in the past or think that you have to settle for behavior for love that is subpar.

These alternative approaches will create better actions. Healthier relationships should follow. Little by little you will rebuild your mindsets and find a better way to live in love with those who matter most.

© E.B. Johnson 2024

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