There is no one way to have a relationship work, just like there isn’t one thing that makes them go wrong. Maintaining a relationship is never easy, and the problems arise almost from the start. Usually, the longer the relationship lasts, the more complex the problems become. If you can avoid these relationship mistakes, you may just be able to make it last.

1. You Didn’t Realize Being in a Relationship Was Hard Work

This seems like it should be obvious, but maintaining a relationship takes a lot of effort on your part and your partner’s part. If either person isn’t doing their share of the heavy lifting, many relationships fall apart. It’s not just a matter of calling it quits once the relationship hits its first rough patch: usually that same problem is caused by the lack of effort being put into being someone’s partner. If you’re going to be in a relationship, it means committing yourself to it full-time. It is kind of like having another job to do, but with great benefits.

2. Never Made Room to Be Individuals

Sometimes relationships go wrong when both people try to become one person. What was once two separate social lives now must become one, think people who make this mistake. While it is fun to enjoy each other’s company in everything that you do, at some point this may become too much closeness. You might even hear the famous cry of a partner who doesn’t have enough space: “You’re suffocating me!” Avoid this by making sure that you each have your own interests, space, and social circles that you can each visit, but not take over.

3. You Never Learned How to Communicate With Each Other

Bad communication is the archenemy of relationships. Communication is not just about being able to have a conversation with each other. Bad communication covers withholding feelings, ignorance of your partner’s needs, and hiding things. If you don’t know what will upset or make your partner happy until after they are already upset or let down, you are not communicating. If you don’t communicate, you will never be able to know the reasons why you fight. Start communicating by explaining your needs and asking your partner about theirs. Neither of you are mind readers, so this is the only way to find out about each other.

4. You Never Move Past Mistakes

In a relationship, especially in the beginning, mistakes are bound to be made. This is just part of the process of learning to deal with another person. What can kill a relationship is an inability to move past these mistakes. It can be as bad as losing someone’s trust through infidelity to little things like forgetting to call some time. If you can’t learn to accept an apology and move on, your relationship can’t go any further. While sometimes a partner does the unforgivable, you need to leave the little mistakes they make in the past if you want the relationship to have a chance in the future.

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