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It's time to stop making excuses in our relationships this year

My work as a marriage and family therapist in Scottsdale, Arizona helps to  instill hope and change in people.

I write to expand my audience in areas of relationships, love, dating and family. I wrote a short  book to help those with ...

Make 2017 the year you stop excusing bad behavior in your relationships

Each year many people make New Year's Eve resolutions of things that they would like to accomplish or change in the new year ahead. It is a great time to create goals that you would like to reach for yourself. It helps to have this new start to get yourself motivated for a new year. But what resolution will you choose? There are so many different areas of life that a person could change. One really valuable resolution that I think will help make relationships better and individuals stronger in their sense of self is to stop making excuses for yourself and others in your life.

More: What to consider before you start dating after divorce

Stop making excuses when your partner, spouse, or boyfriend/girlfriend does something that disappoints you. Be braver, be bolder, be open, and share your feelings and thoughts in productive ways to help people in your life understand you better. Don’t make excuses for someone else’s poor behaviors or choices, make decisions if this is the right friendship, relationship, or connection for you. If you have expectations of a person, and they don't meet those expectations time and time again forcing you to make an excuse for them, that's a warning sign. You need to consider that the relationship is not going to succeed if you cannot admit that this does not make you happy. If someone is always doing something that bothers you, but you are too nice to share your feelings, be open and communicate to them your worry or thoughts. You might be surprised that the other person is open to hearing your concern and working on this to better your relationship. This also means that you cannot make excuses for yourself either, take ownership of what needs to change in your life and find a productive and positive way to do this.

A lot of people who are dating or in new relationships (or even old ones for that matter) tend to allow for a lot of excuses and apologies for behaviors that are not going to be useful in this relationship. Maybe you find that your date is always canceling on you and rescheduling, or new boyfriend is never reliable or always late, and your response is to just say, "Well it's OK, they were late at work, or they are busy." Remember a pattern of behavior is different than a mistake that happens, and you have to ask some questions. If someone forgets to return your call or text, maybe once or twice is fine, but a pattern is concerning. If a pattern of behavior appears negative at the onset of dating someone new, it might be time to find a new companion or figure out if you can discuss what changes need to occur for the relationship to be healthy. You cannot expect to change another’s behavior. But, what can you do? Instead of making excuses for someone else or even yourself, you can tell the other person your feelings and thoughts and how this affects you. If it is something in yourself that you need to change, then stop making excuses for not working on the problem and changing something that would benefit you.

Excuses are sometimes necessary for things can spring up at times. But for the most part, making excuses for people or yourself is not admitting the issue exists, and if you cannot admit something is not working well, then how do you fix this in yourself or in your relationship? In 2017, take time to focus on positive changes and being mindful of your own actions and how they affect others in your life. Maybe you need to work on opening up and sharing more with your spouse. Or perhaps you need to tell your girlfriend that it bothers you when she prioritizes you last all the time. Whatever the change is, find it and make your relationships better. Communicate your thoughts and let someone else know what is bothering you about the relationship. It's only after sharing this information that the other person can work with you to make things better for the couple.

More: 6 dating rules I keep accidentally breaking

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