If you feel like you’re stuck in cycle of being in the same type of relationship over and over, but with different people, you are likely to have some relationship blind spots. These repetitive patterns are sabotaging your ability to find happiness.
“Most of us have these relationship blind spots, aspects of our personalities that are totally obvious to everyone but us,” explains Christine Scott-Hudson MA MFT ATR, licensed psychotherapist, licensed marriage and family therapist, and owner of Create Your Life Studio in Santa Barbara, Ca.
Scott Hudson says denial is a popular defense mechanism because it is pretty effective. “We can actually ‘go blind’ to aspects of ourselves that are so unwelcome, so unwanted that to even try to integrate it with our view of ourselves would not be possible, and so we disown it and reject it, relegating it to the shadows.”
The better we can identify the blind spots we have when it comes to relationships, the clearer our view of the future will be.
Here are 4 ways to recognize your relationship blind spots:
1. Understand how blind spots hurt
Blind spots pop up any time we are not communicating our needs or we feel stuck in a relationship, says Patrick Davey Tully, MA, a psychotherapist in Los Angeles.
“The ‘rut’ is often due to not knowing what we want and blaming the other person or ourselves for this uncertainty,” says Tully. By exploring these awkward miscommunications, the blind spots can be discovered and alleviated.
“Any time you feel stuck in an argument or confused when talking with a partner, there’s often going to be more to the picture than you initially thought,” he adds.
2. Trust your intuition more
When things feel off, try to rally think about what your intuition is telling you and then try to be more objective.
“Allow yourself [to] notice what does not feel right,” says Carla Marie Manly, PhD, a clinical psychologist and relationship expert.
After assessing what your think can be improved, turn to your partner and explain.
3. Take an inventory of the challenging issues
Make a list of what it is that you begin to notice— be as detailed as possible. As you write issues down, the situation often becomes clearer.
“For example, as a result of writing down your concerns for a few days, you might notice that your partner has a habit of breaking dates, being late, or not talking to you,” says Manly. “As a result of making notes about this, you might realize that you’re feeling disrespected, unseen, and angry.”
After identifying what needs improvement, talk with your partner openly and honestly about what you’ve noticed. “Avoid blame and strive for a non-judgmental attitude that is focused on creating a better relationship,” continues Manly.
4. Realize you may be the problem
The common denominator of struggling relationships could be you — your actions or your fear.
“As much as possible, turn this same lens on yourself—not with judgment, but with an eye toward noticing any habits you might have that are contributing to issues,” says Manly.
Coming to grips with your role can help open your heart and mind to put you on a path toward a great relationship.