The Dirty Dozen — 12 Fatal Relationship Errors

12 funny, but true, mistakes people often make in relationships.

Last updated on Jun 08, 2023

unhappy couple sitting on bed Bricolage / Shutterstock

While these are basically written tongue-in-cheek, each has an element of truth to it as something people do when in a relationship and then they have difficulty understanding why things aren't going well with their partner.

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Here are 12 fatal relationship mistakes:

1. You're too grabby

Do not grab your partner in the breast or crotch and think that constitutes foreplay.

2. You say her clothes are unflattering

Do not tell your partner she looks fat in anything, even when she asks.

3. You use sarcasm to belittle them

Do not sarcastically tell your partner he should have asked for directions when you suspect he may be lost.

4. You contradict them in front of others

Do not contradict your partner in public ... no matter how much he is exaggerating.

5. You're too nosey on social media

Do not stalk your loved one or an ex on social media. When you check cell phone calls, and emails and follow him or her on their evening/weekend activities, you are not exactly communicating a message of trust.


6. You complain to friends and family

Do not complain to friends, family or co-workers about your loved one. Long after you have forgiven him or her, your friends and family are still holding a grudge. If you must vent about your partner, tell a stranger on the street.

7. You are condescending when she wants to vent

When your woman is venting about a problem she is experiencing, do not suggest she might prefer being alone while she is upset. Just listen and nod your head, throwing in an occasional, "Oh baby, I'm so sorry that happened to you."

8. You don't respect their wish to be alone

When your man is upset, stop pressuring him to "talk." Talking is not what he needs to do. Bring him a beer instead and then leave him alone to work it out.

9. You interrupt a favorite activity

Do not decide that the middle of the football playoff game is the best time to have a serious "talk." When football is on, nothing short of a natural catastrophe at your home will take precedence and maybe not even that!


10. You assume too much

Stop setting up your partner by expecting him to read your mind. He can't!

11. You don't recognize context

Stop thinking your partner means what she says. Try to read between the lines to discover what she is really saying. "I would do that" usually means "I'd really rather not."

12. You think the grass might be greener elsewhere

When all else fails and you decide to end it, consider more carefully before your next relationship. You may end up with a partner who is worse than the one you already have.

Now, you may be laughing, but often things are funny when we can see the truth in them. You may recognize yourself, your current partner or past relationships in some of these errors. The thing to do is ask yourself what could you do instead that would be more respectful and loving.


We are talking about your most significant relationship of choice. How does this person deserve to be treated by you? What kind of lover do you want to be? When you are in a relationship it is important to treat your partner the way they would want you to treat them, not necessarily how you would want to be treated in a similar situation.

When you love someone, you want to create a safe space for them to just "be" in the world. Your relationship with your partner should be that safe haven where everything is all right or at least you know your partner will create a space where it will be all right again very soon. Let me know your plan for neutralizing some of the errors in your relationship.

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Kim Olver is the author of Secrets of Happy Couples: Loving Yourself, Your Partner, and Your Life