Are you ruining your relationship without even realizing it?
Even a healthy and solid relationship is not exempt from difficulties or potential pitfalls that can lead to its ending. Yes, we should feel safe in our relationships, but we need to remain aware of how our actions, behaviors, and, most importantly, our bad habits shape the dynamic. If we are unaware of our habits, we won't change them – and sometimes, we really need to. It's helpful to catch our detrimental patterns early before they become a problem we fight about with our partner or before they become the reason we break up.
So, are you ruining your relationship without ever realizing it?
Five habits to avoid in your relationships:
Taking your partner for granted: With time and familiarity often comes indifference or even entitlement. We accidentally become less curious, less grateful and less invested. When we stop appreciating our partner, it can lead to complacency and lack of effort. Neglecting to show appreciation, love and support for them can cause our significant other to feel undervalued, unappreciated or unloved. Being with our partner is a privilege, not a right.
Neglecting your own needs: In any relationship, although we must pay attention to our partner's needs, we must also stay aware of our own. If our cup is empty, we can't pour into theirs. If we sacrifice too much or our priority shifts fully to our partner, we may become resentful or burnt out. It's crucial to maintain your individuality and interests while nurturing your relationship. Please don't make it a habit to ignore yourself. You won't benefit from this habit; in the long run, neither will your partner nor the relationship.
Holding grudges: Holding grudges and refusing to forgive your partner can cause significant damage to your relationship. Stop bringing up past hurts or annoyances in current arguments. At some point, it's important to reconcile or end the relationship; being angry with your partner is not a permanent solution. Maybe your partner really messed up and broke your trust, or maybe you are frustrated that they seem to do less around the house or choose work over you. Either way, you need to decide if you want to move forward. If you do, remember that conversations are more productive than silently tallying the score and bottling your feelings. Forgiving and letting go of past grievances (if you choose to stay in the relationship) is essential to maintaining a healthy relationship. And yes, this process can take a while – it's OK!
Comparing. It doesn't matter if you are comparing your partner's behaviors, looks or income to a previous partner, a friend, a colleague or even themselves a couple of years ago, this habit can be pretty hurtful and detrimental. Perhaps you are trying to hint at a desired change or want things to return to the way they were, but this is not the way to do it. It’s often a lot more productive and kind to communicate directly. Making statements such as: “Well, my friend's husband buys her flowers every month” or, “This wasn’t an issue for me before because my ex used to make a lot more money than you” might cause your partner to feel insecure or resent the relationship. Sometimes we will make comparisons to hurt our partner instead of speaking openly about unmet needs. Let's stop.
Spending too much time on your phone. What are the chances that your partner is sitting next to you, but instead of conversing together, you are scrolling or posting? There is nothing wrong with enjoying social media, but too much screen time – before you fall asleep, first thing when you wake up, during meals etc. – can disconnect you and your partner. For many people, phone habits create a gap in their relationships without them realizing it.
The bottom line?
Remember, your personal and relational habits matter. If you have any of the above habits, you may want to assess how they are impacting your partner.
It's always helpful to take some time to reflect. Consider asking yourself: What habits impact your relationship? What habits of your partner's get on your nerves? What habits do you want to change?
Sara Kuburic is a therapist who specializes in identity, relationships and moral trauma. Every week she shares her advice with our readers. Find her on Instagram @millennial.therapist. She can be reached at SKuburic@gannett.com.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Relationship advice: These five bad habits are ruining your romance