Everyone who finds themselves in their first long-term relationship is bound to run into some problems.

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It’s natural; we’re all human beings here, trying to figure out how to share a life with someone else while remaining who we are. Here are a few things to help you be on the lookout for the most common mistakes.

1. Ditching your friends.

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Anyone who find themselves isolated or detached from their friends and family while in a relationship isn’t in a healthy one. Of course, the two of you need alone time and can’t be there for every barbeque and get together, but if you are constantly canceling on your friends and missing important family functions then something is definitely wrong. You shouldn’t forget about your friends and family just because you are in a serious relationship. You are important to more than just one person and should make time to show others they are still important to you, too.

2. Comparing your relationship.

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Comparing your relationship to your friend’s relationship or to your previous one will only cause you to grow apart. No two people are the same, therefore, your relationship with them won’t be the same. The two of you don’t have the same income, habits or characteristics as other couples, so you shouldn’s strive to be like anyone else. Focus on what you have to offer each other and create your own happiness in your own way.

3. Trying to force things.

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Relationships take work, yes, but loving each other should never be hard. There should be more happiness than unhappiness and if there isn’t, then you need to take a look at your relationship with realistic eyes. You can’t force a person into being who you want them to be and you can’t force a relationship to be something it isn’t. Loving and enjoying each other should come naturally.

4. Not discussing your issues until they become a big problem.

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Flaws, needs, and future plans should be discussed before things get too serious. For instance, if your guy is constantly going out when you want to be home spending time together, you need to address this head on. Otherwise, resentment will build and things will eventually be blown way out of proportion. Or let’s say you want to pursue a career in the city but he can’t stand traffic and noise. That’s going to be a problem when you reach that point. If it hasn’t been discussed before, then one of you, or both of you, will end up being unhappy as a result. It’s best to understand what each other need and want before they become issues that might tear you apart.

5. Lack of communication.

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I think everyone in relationships struggle with this. The fact that men are men and women are women contribute to this issue because we think and understand things differently. Hell, everyone thinks and understands things differently, but that doesn’t change the fact that good communication is what will keep your relationship healthy. You have to talk about what bothers you, what you appreciate about each other and what is going on, on a day to day basis. If you don’t keep an open line of communication you will lose the connection and understanding you have of each other. You will eventually resent each other and start to feel as if the other person doesn’t care. Don’t allow yourselves to become distant by keeping things in. Talk them out!

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6. Lack of grace.

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No one has the ability to get it right every time. We weren’t made to be perfect, and it will behoove you to remember that. They may mess up, but they are doing the best they can, and that is what’s truly important. Forgive each other when you are wrong and love each other in spite of mistakes. It will get you a lot further and give you a lot more happiness than holding onto mistakes ever will.

7. Not respecting each other.

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Respect in relationships is so important. You should never undermine or downgrade your partner; that will cause trust issues and resentment faster than anything else. You should always be respectful, even when you don’t see eye to eye.

8. Loving the idea of who you’re with.

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I’m sure at some point everyone has liked the idea of something more than the actual thing itself. This should never be the case in a relationship. It might be easy to love the idea of a successful woman who makes good money and is drop dead gorgeous, but when the two of you have to endure life’s harshest trials, none of that will matter. The two of you will collapse under the pressure because you held onto an idea instead of building a relationship based on teamwork, respect, trust, and love.

9. Being possessive over who you’re with.

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Not everyone goes through this, but being overly possessive is a major red flag. When you love someone you are supposed to love them unselfishly. Otherwise, it’s not really loving them, is it? It’s loving what they give you. Loving someone is done with the intent that they will become a part of you, not something for you. Love is not a commodity, neither is someone who commits to you. Being possessive can cause trust issues, resentment, feeling undervalued and in some cases it even leads to abuse.

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10. Being shallow.

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Things do not create happiness. Say it with me. Things DO NOT create happiness. Maybe say it one more time for good measure. Sex does not make a relationship last. Money won’t make it last. Physical appearance won’t make it last. It all fades away eventually, so don’t go after someone for these things. Connection, trust, communication, respect, and compatibility makes relationships last. The tangible things won’t help you stay together 60 years. When you’re 80-years-old and still living together, the sex is not going to be the thing the two of you enjoy each other, trust me.