Relationships

20 Soul-Trapping Relationship Mistakes That Make You Vulnerable to Heartbreaks

Adewale Ademuyiwa
Written by Adewale Ademuyiwa

Does the concept of falling in love scare you?

Working hard, opening up and completely trusting someone. Only to end up in another shattered emotional investment.

People can cheat, fall out of love, or love someone else and this can tattoo the fear of abandonment on your soul.

So, tying your heart to someone else feels like handing them the power to affect your life.

How do you get a concrete guarantee that the next person you fall for will not leave you broken again?

The problem…

You don’t really have an answer. Because relationships are a never-ending guessing game. You’re stumbling in the dark all the time.

And maybe you came here to find some answers.

Maybe you’re hoping I’ll tell you what to do.

But I won’t.

Not because I don’t want to, but because sometimes you can’t understand what to do until you first understand what NOT to do.

So, let’s start there.

Here’s a list of 20 relationship mistakes that will plunge you into a trap where somebody can easily break you.

1: Trust is overrated

You go into relationships believing it’s paramount to trust the other person 100% if you truly love them.

Sadly, this is a fairy tale belief that will leave you undervalued, broken and unwanted for life.

Because no one can be trusted 100% with everything.

There will be things you can trust them with and things you can’t trust them with.

For example, you may trust your mom to look after your kids. But you may not always trust her to listen to you when telling her she hurt you deeply.

My point?

Trust is fluid. It changes from thing to thing. And this fluidity exists in intimate relationships too.

Believing that true love can only exist if you trust 100% causes you to have unspoken expectations. You expect the other person to treat all the things that are important to you with care and love.

But since you can’t trust anyone 100% of the time, you create an environment where multiple emotional wounds can be inflicted on you.

The result…

You are left paranoid and paralyzed with the fear that people will always betray you.

2: Having unspoken expectations are hidden gold

You’ve most likely been caught by this common lie.

They say…

“It’s wrong to have expectations.”

That’s the worst advice ever!

And before you accuse me of contradicting myself, let me explain.

You see, unspoken expectations are like hidden gold.

But hidden gold, despite its value, is useless to anyone if it remains buried where no one knows it exists.

Gold needs to be discovered, mined and purified to be useful.

In the same way, unspoken expectations shine a light on your hidden core needs. Needs that if met, will make your relationships worthwhile and beautiful.

And like hidden gold, you’ve got to discover, mine and purify your unspoken expectations. This is the only way to clarify and communicate them effectively to anyone interested in you.

Doing this gives that important person in your life the best chance to grow into someone who can make you feel loved, warm, secure and safe.

But keeping your expectation undiscovered and unspoken will eventually turn you into a bitter person. Because all your needs will be ignored and you will feel like no one truly cares about you.

3: Ignore the politics of relationships at your peril

I hate politics with every bone in my body.

But over the years, I have come to this realization…

All Intimate relationships are political at the core.

And a refusal to tackle relationships with a political mindset will give you a surprising slap in your face.

And you’ll get slapped many times too.

Why?

Because everyone is trying to get their own way. They want to make their environments comfortable for themselves.

They want to protect themselves. So, they’re always trying to put themselves in the beneficial position.

And whilst, there’s nothing wrong with self-protection, most people fail to realize that someone else must get hurt if you protect yourself at all times.

Someone else must lose if you must always win.

This is how the political dance of relationships begins. And if you ignore this, you are bound to get run over every single time.

4: Love is not the essential ingredient

Yes, love is essential, but the politics is as essential too.

In the politics of intimate relationships, the other person is trying to manipulate situations to meet their needs.

They believe that whatever you do or say is just to protect you. So they conclude your ideas or suggestions will most likely work against them.

The truth…

You are doing the same thing too.

Hence, living in the belief that relationships should only be about love sets you up for a nasty fall.

Why?

Because your partner’s political moves will disgust you.

Ironically, the best relationships can only occur when both parties are accepting of this political dynamic.

The best relationship exists when both parties stop being resentful of the other person’s manipulative tactics.

Love grows deeper when both parties realize that the manipulative moves they perceive from the other person is only signalling that they have needs that are not being met.

5: Make yourself less attractive

To Narcissist that is.

Okay, I have been expounding on the benefits of politics in relationships, but there is an extreme trap you must watch out for.

Are you that kind, supportive and giving person, who is always willing to sacrifice?

Then the truth is that you are a narcissist magnet.

You see, the narcissist wants someone he can control.

A narcissist is always looking to be supported. They want their needs met. They are not there for you so they aren’t interested in meeting your needs.

Sadly, nice, compassionate and empathetic people fit the bill. They are the easiest people to manipulate and control. Because they try to see the good in everybody.

Essentially, you need to protect yourself by making yourself less attractive to the narcissist.

And you make yourself less attractive to the narcissist by…

6: Allowing people to change you (Surprisingly, this is a good thing!)

Throughout my 20-year mental health career, I have noticed that people who get caught repeatedly in detrimental relationships are individuals who hold strongly to a certain wrong advice.

And the advice is…

“Don’t ever let anyone change you.”

Why is this advice wrong?

You see, when any two people decide to stay together for a long time, they are naturally going to change each other.

You can’t avoid this.

It is either you play a role in determining how you change or the change will be forced on you.

For example, you may see virtue in maintaining a kind and forgiving personality 100% of the time. But you fail to see that this is training the people in your life to take advantage of you.

And before you know it, you are back in another ugly relationship.

In this case, allowing people to change you by allowing yourself to grow a hard and selfish bone, could have protected you. As this teaches people to stop taking you for granted.

7: Falling for the vetting trap

Are you easily persuaded?

They say nice words and reel you in.

They seem interested in finding out and trying to understand what you are all about.

And this makes you think… At last, someone’s is interested in me.

Warning!

Whilst this is a common characteristic of someone who truly cares, this show of interest is also a trade secret for narcissists. This is how they find out if you are a good fit for them.

Falling for this trap will leave you hurting so badly that you’ll begin to run a mile whenever anyone else appears to show interest in you.

Essentially, you’ve got to be the one doing the vetting.

Here’s a short list to get you started.

How do they treat other people around them?

Do, they think they’re always right?

Are they willing to adjust your relationship needs?

8: Don’t listen to Google! Doubt does not always mean don’t.

So, you’ve been checking Google to make sure you are making correct decisions in your relationship.

And everything you are reading keeps saying…

“If you are having doubts, you should listen to how you feel. You need to be 100% certain before you commit to anything.”

But here’s the question…

Can you ever be 100% sure you are making the right choice when it comes to relationships?

Your doubt may be because you are prone to anxiety. You’re naturally negative and risk focused.

If there is no real threat, googling about your doubts and taking your findings as gospel can sap you of your confidence and hold you back from discovering the good things that can beautify your life.

9: The wrong reaction to the twilight zone

When the buzz and excitement of a relationship has died down, it’s common to suddenly realize that you don’t feel anything for the relationship anymore.

This can be frightening and frustrating. You want a clear indicator that you are not with the wrong person.

And like many, you ask…

“Shouldn’t’ I feel completely and utterly in love with my partner 24/7?”

But your mind won’t let you have a clear answer.

The truth?

This disconnected feeling is normal to all relationships.

Thinking you shouldn’t be feeling this way could cause you to react in ways that triggers a domino of negative experiences that can inflict a lasting scar on yourself and other people involved.

10: The myth of being an open book

Are you guilty of this?

In an attempt to cultivate trust, you went into your last relationship thinking “It’s best to be an open book.” Then you opened up everything about yourself too quick and too soon.

Well, in some situations, this can be a big, big, mistake!

Let me explain with an analogy.

How would you feel if you were reading a book and the book suddenly revealed the whole story in the first two pages? Chances are that you will get bored of reading the book because there will be nothing new to discover.

In the same way, opening up everything about yourself at the beginning of a relationship will make you work harder to keep the relationship fresh and alive.

Being an open book too soon puts your relationship at risk of being boring, which then leads to that feeling of disconnection in the twilight zone, and this can lead to discontent, frustration, cheating and heartbreaks.

11: The fallacy of feeling the fear and facing it anyway.

This is one bad advice I’m quite certain you’ve fallen for.

Many people don’t realize it, and professionals peddle it about like it’s good advice too.

The bad advice usually goes something like this…

“You’ve got to feel the fear and face it anyway.”

Why is this bad advice?

Because it’s missing a crucial point.

It’s like asking you to jump on a motorway without checking to see if any cars are coming first.

Ignorantly facing the fears you encounter in relationships will only place you in bigger problems.

You’ve got to face your fears wisely.

And you do this by taking baby steps into new relationships, whilst using every available resource you can find to ensure you are safe to move closer to the other person at each stage.

12: Your vulnerability is your saviour

Can you let yourself be vulnerable again after you’ve been betrayed?

If your answer is no…

And you believe that being vulnerable means that your life is open for attack.

Then following will surprise you.

You see, most people do their best to avoid feeling vulnerable like it’s a cancer.

But, in my 20 plus years working as a mental health practitioner, I have come to a realization that avoiding vulnerability in this way, will further crush your self-worth and stop you from reaching important goals in life.

Avoiding vulnerability forces you into a lifestyle where your options become limited. You become too scared to take risks.

But the most surprising thing which you’d least expect is…

Treating your vulnerability like it’s a benefit is the only thing that will make you feel less vulnerable.

Your vulnerability is the key to your security and stability in life.

And there’s nowhere better to prove this than in the BOXING RING.

Think about this?

What’s likely to happen to a boxer who thinks he is not vulnerable in the ring?

This boxer’s so confident of his ability to survive that he allows all the punches to land on him?

The answer…

This boxer would be risking brain damage.

The smart boxer accepts that he is vulnerable, so he perfects his technique. He does not conclude that his vulnerability is a weakness.

In fact, his awareness of his vulnerability makes him keep his guard up. And encourages him to learn how to block and duck away from most of the punches.

How does this relate to you?

Acceptance of your vulnerability in your relationships Is wisdom.

It is the advantage you have for keeping yourself safe.

13. It was a snake bite! Your body is going to react (that’s totally normal.)

Your last relationship left you broken and stuck.

Now you can’t understand why you can’t move on with your life. You’re frustrated that you keep second guessing yourself.

Your confidence is shot and you find yourself avoiding everything that has a potential to hurt you.

Eventually, you become convinced you’ve become your own destruction. Making yourself miss out on life.

So like many people do, You beat up badly on yourself.

But…

Do you mind if I share this brutal truth with you? It’s going to sound a little harsh so remember that I am sharing this out of love.

Because you want to avoid this ruthless trap.

So, here’s the truth…

The reason you are stuck is because…

You are lying to yourself!

And if you don’t stop lying to yourself, you’ll remain stuck indefinitely.

Why am I saying this so boldly?

Imagine you are walking with a friend and she got bitten by a poisonous snake. Now she’s beginning to sweat, salivate and foam at the mouth…

Are you going to tell that friend “Hey pull yourself together? Stop doing this to yourself.”

Most likely not.

Instead, you’ll conclude that her reaction’s a normal snake bite reaction. And you’ll kick into action to save her.

Now here’s my point.

Your friend did not beg the snake to bite her just like you did not beg anyone to abuse you.

Your friend experienced involuntary symptoms from the snake bite. Much in the same way as you are experiencing involuntary symptoms from the abuse.

Wasting time blaming your friend for reacting involuntarily to the snake bite would have resulted in her death.

Similarly, blaming yourself for reacting involuntarily to the abuse will cause you to rot away emotionally indefinitely.

So, It’s extremely crucial that you do your best to remember that…

Your symptoms of anxiety and depression are natural symptoms of trauma. These symptoms aren’t your fault.

But just in case you are still in doubt and thinking, ” But the abuse I experienced was a long time ago, it shouldn’t still be affecting me now.”

Here’s the deal…

14. Time won’t heal

I know…

You’ve been sold that lie too.

They say “don’t worry, time will heal, and you’ll soon be back to your old confident self again.”

Why is this a lie?

You see, if all it takes is for time to heal, why even after a many months or years are so many people still feeling worse than they did in the beginning?

The truth?

When you are left with the aftermath of a traumatic relationship, you do your best to survive. And like many, you naturally adopt different ways of trying to cope and keep yourself safe from the hurt.

Sadly, without guidance, these same coping strategies easily generate the problems that keep you stuck in a tedious and hateful life.

For example, in order to cope with the aftermath of the difficult relationship…

15. You try to toughen up

You try your best to be tough, by controlling or blocking your difficult emotions.

The end result is that your emotions grow into an unruly beast you are unable to control. This leaves you feeling like a weaker person.

16. You spend time in endless analysis loops

You analyze decisions, you’ve made in the past so that you can avoid falling into the same problems in the future.

But without guidance, you end up in endless loops of analysis that make you feel even more vulnerable.

17. You become really good at protecting yourself

You try to protect yourself by staying away from people in general. Because you believe no one can hurt you if you keep to yourself.

But you end up losing essential people skills and this puts you at risk of hitching up with the wrong people again as you are no longer people savvy.

18. You become a master at noticing risks

You become very good at catching risks so you can see what’s coming before it hurts you.

Sadly, without guidance, this can turbo charge your feelings of vulnerability to the point that it stops you from taking any steps forward

19. You work hard to put the past behind you

You try your best to stop thinking about your negative past hurts by keeping busy.

But without appropriate guidance, this stops you from dealing with things.

The result…

The thoughts you are trying to avoid keep intruding on you whenever you are free.

20. You become very sociable without really being sociable.

On the surface, it appears you are maintaining a busy social life with family and friends, but when you look deeper, you realize that most of your social contacts is about you helping others in one way or another.

You are not really mingling properly.

You are the one washing the dishes when others are sitting and mingling together. Because this way you avoid getting too close to anyone who might break you emotionally again.

The unexpected impact is that you lose your confidence around people and you are left with a constant sense of dissatisfaction about your life.

Oh boy… I might as well give up!

After reading through all the above mistakes, you might feel like…

” This is just too much to do. I am barely surviving as it is. I might as well give up”

But please don’t give up yet.

Here’s why:

I made every mistake on this list as well. Every single one.

When I ventured into relationships, I was so gullible, kind and trusting that I was used, lied to, rejected and dumped into a £12,000 financial mess.

I lost my trust in people and at a point believed I was going to grow old and alone.

It’s horrifying how many mistakes I made.

But you know what?

Despite all of that, I still made it.

As I am writing this conclusion, I am looking at my 3 kids playing with pokémon balls.

They are looking at me as if they are thinking, “what’s gotten into daddy?” Because I can’t stop the tears in my eyes as I’m hugging them. Telling them how much I love them.

I could never have dreamt I’d be the one with such a beautiful family.

I’ve been happily married for 11 years now.

And if I can make it, I believe you can make it too.

If you’re guilty of some of the mistakes listed above, please know you are not alone.

Relationships will always be a dance you’ve got to keep up with.

However, that’s how fabulous relationships are built.

Listen to other people in successful relationships, and you’ll hear the same story. Over and over.

It’s not a coincidence. You live and learn.

And now with this list of 20 relationship mistakes, you can navigate yourself through the relationship jungle.

Towards someone who understands you and delights to grow with you.

Towards someone…

Who genuinely loves you back.

You really can do this!

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About the author

Adewale Ademuyiwa

Adewale Ademuyiwa

Adewale Ademuyiwa is a licenced and unconventional psychotherapist who learnt to overcome his anxiety problems. He writes insanely practical guides for coping better emotionally with draining relationships, and uncontrollable life problems. Grab his FREE BITE SIZED SERIES on How to Overcome Your Fear of Relationships - in 3 Quick Steps.