It's not him, it's you — how to know if you are the problem (and how to fix it)

Your sweetheart is not always the problem. Sorry (and you’re welcome)!

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  • It's easy to place blame on your significant other when things go south. However, it is extremely difficult to realize whenyou are the cause of a problem. Don't ignore the fact it might actually be your fault. Take a look at these checkpoints to help you both evaluate and fix the problem:

  • You can't admit when you're wrong

  • The blame game is never fun. There are only losers when you try to pin the fault on a single person. And let me clue you in on something; if you never admit you are wrong, chances are...you are very, very wrong indeed.

  • The fix? Who was at fault in your relationship must be taken out of the equation. Learn to use "we" when talking about what needs improvement, or start your discussions with "I feel... because" phrases. This allows your partner to step into your shoes and vise versa. Apologies from both sides is an important step in settling the matter.

  • You let your honey do all the work

  • In a relationship, work should be divided equally. When you are attached to your phone, work, television or other distractions, you miss helping out on your share of the work and the chance to show love through teamwork.

  • The fix? Show you are invested in the relationship by expressing appreciation for them, sharing the housework and giving your time by learning their love language. Don't put your honey on the backburner or the "deal-with-later" list. Set distractions aside and make helping a conscious priority.

  • You assume the worst of your significant other

  • Mistakes and misunderstandings happen. Usually, partners do not intentionally hurt each other. If someone is intentionally hurting you, that behavior is abusive and you should get out of the situation immediately. But for the day to day misunderstandings, handle them this way:

  • Give your significant other the benefit of the doubt - don't assume. Never speak ill of them. If everything they do is driving you nuts, look for the positive things about them rather than focusing on the negative. You will quickly be reminded of how amazing they are.

  • You don't love yourself

  • You can't fully love someone if you don't love yourself. Happiness doesn't appear when you find someone if you didn't know how to be happy before you found them.

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  • The fix? If you aren't happy, stop blaming your spouse and start to take care of yourself and make extra efforts to improve your life by thinking positively. Love yourself by loving the people who love you. Nurture relationships with your best friend, mom or other loved ones. Other important relationships will diminish if you only focus on "the one" romantic relationship in your life.

  • You've mastered stonewalling

  • Giving your partner the silent treatment leaves things unresolved. If you allow emotion to trod on your rational thinking, you may lose your relationship. Calming down is important before discussing issues, but don't fall into the trap of stonewalling to help make them feel guilty.

  • The fix? Learn to communicate with each other is key to a successful and happy relationship. By all means, take time to calm down, but make sure problems don't go undiscussed and therefore unresolved.

  • You can't stay focused

  • Bringing up past issues in an argument is a good sign you can't stay focused. Overreacting spikes your relationship to an escalated, negative state. Hiding problems until later make matters worse in the long run.

  • The fix? Face the problem! Your significant other will positively receive your thoughts when you stay organized on the current issue. Focus on your own mistakes. Be honest and responsible when there is something you need to fix.

  • You go through the motions

  • Simply doing what you are supposed to do in a relationship or doing it because someone tells you to will not make your relationship strong. Your relationship is only what you make of it.

  • The fix? Deciding what you put into the relationship will influence how fun, strong, passionate or cute it is. Whenever you receive relationship advice, adapt it to your relationship. Each relationship is different - make yours unique and wonderful.

  • Never assume you're not part of the problem. Afterall, it takes two to tango. When things are going poorly, it is both people's responsibility to work it out. Look for ways you could give a little and take a little to make your relationship what you want it to be. When you work to fix the problem, you won't be the problem any more.

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Kristina Tieken is a staff writer for FamilyShare, public relations specialist with a love for the fine arts, food and exercise. She enjoys watching movies and spending time with her husband and family.

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