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The Simple Fix To Broken Relationships: Own Up To Your Mistakes

Easier said than done. But your relationship is begging for it.

By Ellen "Jelly" McRaePublished 9 months ago 6 min read
Image created on Canva

Sh*t happens in relationships.

There are factors that affect a pairing that you can't control. If you didn't know this already, a pandemic has taught us this in spades. Sometimes, we're merely reacting to everything changing around us.

But there is so much that chips away at the strength of a relationship that we can control.

  • Cheating
  • Lying
  • Fighting
  • Being deliberately deceptive and argumentative

Sometimes we have no clue how our actions come across. Yet, I would argue most of the time we know exactly how damaging our behaviour is.

At some point in one of my relationships, I have done almost everything on that list.

I cheated on one of my exes. I lied to another about my past with men. I fought with almost every ex.

And I know how every time I did one of those things, I made my relationship a little weaker, a little harder to stay together and a lot less enjoyable for both me and my then partner.

I made those mistakes. Stubborn me knew I was making mistakes. Did I ever apologise for those mistakes, or try to make amends? No.

If I had, if I had owned up to my actions, would the relationship be around today? Yes, probably.

Owning your mistakes is the most underrated action of a relationship. Here's how ownership fixes your relationship, and how to apply it in practical terms.

I hope it helps.

Owning your actions = freedom

Here's a way of looking at owning your actions most people don't know think to do.

When you don't own your actions, you're essentially living a lie.

Let me explain.

What's the opposite of owning your actions? Blaming other people. When you blame other people for what you've done, it's lying.

With each lie, you create for yourself a weird world of denial.

When you live like this, it often feels like keeping a secret. That's because keeping a secret comes with the same restrictions on your freedom.

You can't say or do what you want to do. You're bound by a lie.

Owning your actions activates your freedom. This is because the lies, the denial, always hold you back. They stop you and your partner from taking genuine and honest steps forward in your relationship.

Owning your actions breaks the lying cycle and allows you to work through the problem with ease.

There are no lies to stop you from figuring out how to work through issues in your relationship.

How to approach owning your actions like anti-secret keeping:

  • Always approach each conversation about behaviour and actions with honesty.
  • Note down any time you want to conceal your actions and find a way to verbalise what really happened.
  • Embrace the idea that honesty will help push your relationship forward.
  • Embrace the idea that blaming others is a form of lying and resist the urge to lie to the people you care about.
  • Appreciate honesty as a valued method of communication in your relationship - If you set the standards, you're bound to keep them.

Owning your actions = you gain the trust you deserve

Here is a relationship formula that rarely fails.

The more you lie about what you do = the less people trust you

It's a simple correlation. We've learned this from a very young age.

Lied to the teacher about "forgetting" our homework, we got detention. Lied to our parents about where we were on Friday night, and got caught out, we got grounded.

But more than just punishment, we learned the next time we had a genuine excuse about our homework being late, the teacher didn't believe us. We broke the circle of trust.

Romantic, grown-up relationships don't differ too far from this concept. You deserve trust. It's the only thing truly holding your relationship together.

But if you don't own your actions, you can't expect trust to exist in your relationship.

How to approach owning your actions to gain trust:

  • Be consistent - Alternating between owning and disowning your actions doesn't lead to trust. The inconsistency will confuse your loved one, resulting in extreme scepticism of what you say and do.
  • Realise it doesn't happen overnight -It can take a while to shake the stigma. As unfair as it seems, the changes happen within you faster than it resonates with other people. Indulge in patience.

Owning your actions = an education in what not to do

We're programmed to believe owning your actions, especially those with negative effects on others, leads to punishment.

That's the entire legal system summed up. If you do something bad, and you admit to it, you still get punished. You do the crime, you do the time.

In relationships, it's not always so cut and dry.

When you own up to your actions, it gives you and your partner a chance to establish what you value and accept in your relationship. And you establish what isn't acceptable by those values.

How to approach owning your actions with education in mind:

  • View each time you own your actions as an opportunity - You don't know what you might learn or find out.
  • Don't punish each other - Establish a system of owning our actions being a positive quality and not a negative one. Don't set repercussions for owning up, as this causes a deterrent from being honest.
  • Learn from your mistakes - You've been honest, and you've both come to a resolution, so learn from it. Repeating the same mistakes is a prediction of disaster.
  • Embrace that you will make mistakes - It's about growth in a relationship, not perfection.

Owning your actions = credit you deserve

Sometimes you might find that you did something good, even though you thought it was bad. It turns out you were able to resolve a fight before it even started.

And other times you own your actions with your partner, you're given the credit you're owed. You're rewarded for the kindness you've shown.

Some people choose to let other people take the credit or to downplay the niceties they do for each other. Whilst it sounds humble, it can become confusing for your partner.

With you not owning up, your partner assumes:

  • You aren't pulling your weight in the relationship
  • You don't think about them with your actions
  • Your actions don't meet your words

Sometimes all three things can line up at once, and that's problematic when your partner assumes all these things are occurring.

How to approach owning your "positive" actions:

  • Understand owning up to your actions isn't bragging - If you do something nice, if you go above and beyond for your partner, you aren't gloating about how good you are. This isn't social media. No one is judging you like that.
  • Don't compare good with the bad - Owning up isn't the starting of a competition between you and your partner. Avoid making comparisons and keep it to facts about your actions.
  • Appreciate how transparency helps the oblivious people - Some partners don't know or see how hard you work for the relationship. If you don't tell them, they don't know about it. And it's not fair to you if you keep working on the relationship in silence without them appreciating your efforts.
  • Point out the positive actions of your partner - The cycle is healthy and should promote return appreciation, should you need it.

Owning your actions is a part of life you can control

If you're still on the fence about taking extreme and unwavering accountability for your actions in your relationship, this might sway you.

In a world full of chaos and unpredictability, owning what you do is an element of your life you can own and control.

When you're in a relationship, that's all you can count on; what you have the power over.

You can't control what someone else does, how they react, and especially how they feel.

But if you can take full accountability for your actions, added with a dose of authenticity, it's undeniable you're giving your all to the relationship.

And that's all your partner can ask or hope from you.


About the Creator

Ellen "Jelly" McRae

Writes about romanceships (romance + relationships) | Loves to talk about behind the scenes of being a solopreneur on The Frolics | Writes 1 Lovelock Drive | Discover everything I do and share here:

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