So I’m doing story research–this character had a previous relationship and I was trying to think of all the things he might look back on when thinking about how he’d screwed it up. Having run through all MY mistakes, I checked the web for “stupid things I did in a relationship,” and this article came up first, along with a bunch of stuff from Dr. Laura that I have no intention of clicking on. I got a couple things that were useful from the article, but parts of it amused and annoyed me too much not to share.
Mainly it’s because the article opens its list by saying, “Many of these things are rather simple — some may even say “stupid” — mistakes that could have been easily avoided.” So I’m thinking, great, like picking the wrong shirt to go with those slacks? Nope, the first entry on the list is: Affairs.
Cheating is a “simple mistake.” An affair is a planned relationship outside your marriage. It is a complicated, long-term arrangement that may (depending on your partner and relationship) not even be a mistake.
Then there’s Moving. Also generally something people put a lot of thought into. Most couples who have to move apart do understand that it puts stress on the relationship.
What else you got, list? Oh, here’s one. Relying on Chemicals.
Sure, if one of the partners gets hooked on drugs, I can see–wait, what? “When you are first attracted to a person, your brain releases a cocktail of “feel-good” chemicals. As you continue to date your partner, your brain begins to gradually release fewer chemicals. After about two years, you may begin to feel the “chemistry” between you and your partner fading away.”
Okay, everyone. Make sure you avoid the simple mistake of having brain chemistry.
And then the last one: Violence.
Yes, obviously you should never use violence toward your partner. Never ever. But did you know… “Violence is a serious problem that can lead to more than just the demise of your relationship; it can land you in jail.”
You know, also I understand it could hurt another human being. But hey, that’s just a “simple mistake” that could easily be avoided.
I think the only things on the list that I would say are actually “simple mistakes” are the Personal Criticism and Contempt entries, and even the list admits that they’re basically the same thing. Don’t trivialize the other things, which are often symptomatic of long-term issues in a relationship (or the result of difficult choices, as “Moving”), by calling them simple or stupid mistakes.