A therapist cited one of the most common mistakes made at the start of a relationship that can lead to all sorts of problems later.
Jeff Guenther, a licensed counselor with a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, regularly shares his advice with his fans after working in the crisis support field and in his own private practice for many years.
The American expert, who goes by ‘therapyjeff“, too many people say, “fall in love with potential” at the start of a relationship – something that rarely ends well.
“It may sound strange from a therapist, but you shouldn’t expect your newborn to make a positive change or growth,” he said.
“Very often, at first, when we see behaviors that aren’t right for us, we brush them off by saying, ‘Oh, they’re just going through a party phase, they’ll get enough’ or ‘Eventually, they’ll become more open. on their feelings and communicate better, I’m sure”.
“While people can move through phases and gain better skills, if you rely on them to do so while you’re in a relationship with them, you fall in love with their potential, which is usually a recipe for disaster.”
Jeff said relying on potential often leads to disappointment and resentment.
“Instead, it’s essential to see and accept them as they currently are and not as you hope they will become. What if they evolve? A nice bonus. Because change rarely happens and if it happens, it can take years,” he said.
“Instead, go find someone who has what you want right now.
Jeff regularly shares his advice on social media and recently suggested a list of top questions new couples can ask themselves if they want the best chance of going the distance.
1. What constitutes cheating?
Can you hug a bud? Flirt with the barista? Make a new dog friend without telling your partner?
“A lot of people end up on the couch because there’s been no discussion or agreement on what constitutes infidelity,” said Jeff, of Portland, Oregon.
2. Are there certain things that you mutually agree to keep private?
Jeff explained that these are basically secrets you need to keep to yourself.
“What if an ex texts you? What if a friend doesn’t like your new baby? Do they want to know? He said.
“What do you want to keep private and what do you hope is exposed transparently on the table?”
3. Does this step (a definite relationship) make you more secure or more anxious?
Do you feel like there are suddenly more risks? Does the uncertainty go away or free you up to be more comfortable with yourself?
Jeff urges couples to explore this topic in a vulnerable, non-judgmental way.
4. Are expectations changing and if so, how?
“Are we hanging around anymore? Am I your main emotional support? Are you my emergency contact? Or does everything stay the same except for the label,” Jeff said.
‘Talk about that.’
5. How can we feel safer for each other?
The best way to start this conversation is to define what the new labels are.
“(And) other than adding a label to the relationship, is there anything else we can do to create a greater sense of safety and ease?” Jeff continued.
“Should we advertise on Instagram? Drop it in the official group chat? Meet the parents? Are there fears that we can get rid of through actions?
6. How should we break up?
Jeff admitted it’s a “depressing” topic.
“I hope you have the lasting relationship you deserve and desire…but many relationships eventually come to an end,” he said.
“Talking about how you would like your partner to end things if and when that time comes can make a breakup a little less gruesome.
“Having this conversation now when you’re both excited about your new engagement can ease the pain of it a bit.”