There is a Polish proverb that says “old habits die hard”. I suppose this adage resonates with most of us. But what if it is a bad habit? Then, it could be even more challenging to break most especially if we are romantically involved with someone for a long time. We all have habits that seem beneficial at first glance but in the long run, damaging to our relationship. Sometimes, we cannot put a finger on it. Thus, we listed some bad relationship habits to break below that you might be experiencing at the moment and how you can possibly break it.
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1. Avoiding Conflicts
Our knee-jerk reaction when it comes to an arising conflict is to dodge them right away, unwilling to deal with it. Our fear that it might cause a crack into our relationship with our partner outweighs what is more rational to do – to face the argument or conflict head-on. Little did we know that by accommodating conflicts, we boost our intimacy and trust level to one another.
HOW TO BREAK IT: Instead of avoiding a conflict, acknowledge it. Let it flow. Let it happen as it should for it to be better resolved. Bear in mind that conflicts and arguments are normal parts of a relationship. When things get rough, do your best to discuss them with your partner. Be more willing and keep an open mind. Instead of fighting fire with fire, fight it with water. Most importantly, listen intently and actually understand where they are coming from. It indeed pays to listen.
2. Acting out of Jealousy
Jealousy, if unfounded, could certainly damage your relationship. It clouds your rational mind and it makes you do something that you might later regret. You become more agitated and worse, paranoid. That will, in effect, hinder your partner the freedom he deserves.
HOW TO BREAK IT: To minimize being a jealous partner, learn to be more honest towards him. As you are in a relationship, it matters that you share things you are uncomfortable about. Given that your partner is understanding, he would assure you that there is nothing you should be jealous about. Also, you can view jealousy as a means to an end. If your jealousy stems from your insecurities, perhaps the problem that you need to address is your insecurities. You’d better address that one first.
3. Spending too much time with one another
While it is true that spending some quality time together promotes a better relationship, spending too much time with each other is not. If that means shutting the outside world and virtually focusing your time with your partner, then that is not healthy at all. You are running the risk of losing those people around you because you lack time to spare for them.
HOW TO BREAK IT: It is highly recommended then that you set aside time for your friend or family. Spare one or two days a week to spend with them. It is even ideal that you invite your partner with you. That way, you break the habit of being around your partner 24/7.
The notorious habit of blaming one another when things get rough or things don’t go our way is one of the top reasons why relationship falls apart. It is pervasive as we often look for a scapegoat. So instead of acknowledging our fault, we point a finger at our partner.
Blaming resolves nothing. Therefore, we should learn how to own up to our mistakes. We have to take responsibility for what we did wrong and apologize if we unintentionally hurt our partner. The practice of compassion towards others also helps. If things get rough, instead of playing the blame game, try to talk about it and commit yourself to fix the problem.
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5. Comparing relationships
No relationship is alike. It would seem unfair and unreasonable to compare your current relationship to your previous ones or to that relationship of others. Know that yours is as unique as them and that what you see is not what it truly seems.
HOW TO BREAK IT: To minimize comparing your relationship to others, highlight the positive things you have. You can also turn your envy into something such as treating other couples’ experiences as your inspiration for your next getaway. Learn from them and apply those to your relationship. Amy from Finding the Fearless Life gives insights too on how to stop comparing your life to others.
6. Being too emotionally dependent
From time to time, we turn to our partner for emotional support. We share our problems, burdens, as well as our frustrations. This is absolutely normal; but too much emotional dependence is apparently not. It can be tiring to the other and chances are it might take a toll on your relationship.
HOW TO BREAK IT: Practice self-care and take charge of your emotions before it overcomes you. Recognize those triggers that evoke those negative emotions you feel. Take time to reflect and explore your interests. Meditation helps and I certainly recommend this. Lastly, keep in mind that your partner is not your emotional garbage dump. At some point, we need to at least know how to handle ourselves first.
7. Expecting your partner to know it all
We are not born mind-readers, remember that. To expect your partner to read your mind and always know what you need seems absurd. To assume that he or she knows everything about you is just unreasonable.
HOW TO BREAK IT: “Ask and you shall receive.” Therefore, it is better if you express what you feel; ask nicely what you need. Convey your thoughts in a good way. And most of all, do the same thing towards him or her.
8. Not respecting boundaries
Boundaries are a must in every relationship most especially in as intimate as this. We all need some time alone to be with ourselves. Once certain boundaries are violated, it might have a negative effect on your mental well-being or even on your relationship. It can be very emotionally and mentally suffocating.
To prevent yourself from overstepping your partner’s own emotional boundaries, understand why boundaries matter. They help you grow and sustain your energy. It is the same case with your partner. Know that your boundaries are as important as his or hers.
9. Taking your partner for granted
Since we are accustomed to each other’s company, the value or importance we give to our partner declines. We started caring less even those we used to appreciate. We now fall into the habit of taking our partner for granted. If this continues, it will eventually damage the bond you have forged over the years.
To counter this, make it a habit to express your gratitude for having such a loving beau. Do this on a regular basis. Compliment their efforts even the littlest ones. Be more affectionate and encouraging. You can even go the extra mile and surprise your partner. Promptly journals offer the perfect opportunity to do this. Keep a gratitude journal not just for your relationship but for you as well.
10. Being overly critical of your partner
We are well aware that criticisms will either break or keep our relationship. Criticism, if done constructively, is absolutely okay. But being overly critical even of those tiny “lapses” your partner unintentionally does is not. It is damaging and unhealthy.
So, what do you need to do about it? Step back and reflect. Think of the impact of your behavior. Recognize why those “mistakes” are strongly affecting you. Take a deep breath and come up with a better way to express how you feel without offending your partner. Most of all, you have to be very realistic with your expectation. Nobody is perfect after all.
11. Going to bed with unresolved arguments or issues
Things get rocky at some point. But going to bed angry can have harmful impacts on your relationship. It creates a wall between you two and it would make it hard for you to have a fresh start the next day. Your mood would be in total chaos, making it more difficult for you to fall asleep or even focus.
“Never go to bed angry” as the saying goes. Hence, before your argument or conflict escalates, refuse to go to bed without resolving it first. Be the bigger person and take the first step to apologize. After all, both of you are adults and these are what adult people do – taking the initiative to admit mistakes and forgive.
12. Taking relationship troubles on social media
We are inclined sometimes to vent our annoyance on social media. Clouded with anger, we impulsively post something, hinting others that we are somehow in conflict with our partner at the moment. This is completely childish. Conflicts are personal and it should be kept private.
If you are faced with this situation, again, it pays to take a moment and think of the consequence of what you are about to do. Ask yourself if it gives you the solution you need; the peace of mind you seek. Would it help you appease your anger? Do you think it is fair to your partner? Would it not embarrass him or her?
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13. Being cynical about almost everything
It is toxic to be with someone who seems to always have a negative perception of every tiny little thing in life. Do yourself and your partner a favor and do not become one of them. You can do better. While it is okay to be reactive as we are just human beings, being constantly negative of almost everything is not. It kills the spirit of your relationship.
How can we possibly stop being cynical? First of all, admit and acknowledge you are one. You can also start practicing gratitude. If you are with someone who exudes so much positivity, learn from him or her. Journal your thought as this helps in getting rid of those things that are negatively occupying your mind. Give yourself time to truly adjust and do your best to look on the bright side.
14. Trying to change your partner
It is true that we have all things cooked up in our heads with regard to the qualities our partners must possess. Know that both of you came from different backgrounds, cultures, and environments. You are shaped in different ways. So, changing your partner to measure up to your own expectation sounds ludicrous.
We all have heard that “opposites attract”. Therefore, you have to allow your partner to be her or his own person. If you find yourself doing it – changing your partner the way you want it – hold yourself back. If there is something with your boyfriend’s or girlfriend’s personality that you are not comfortable about, then sit with him or her and talk about it. Or perhaps, you have to change your attitude first. Learn to adjust.
15. Lack of self-confidence
Having low self-esteem affects our lives in so many ways, your relationship in particular. It makes us even feel more anxious and worried that our partner might leave us. We may become needy and clingy all the time. We want the full attention of our partner directed to us. Only us! This could then result in more fights and worse, breakups.
When you start noticing that you are talking negatively of yourself or you start feeling unlovable, just stop. You need to stop thinking so lowly of yourself. Time and again, we have mentioned the power of affirmation. You need to remind yourself that negative self-talk is just unrealistic. After all, there is a huge reason your partner chose to be with you. You are enough and stick with that thought.
16. Digging the past
When we get into a fight with our beau, we somehow have the tendency to bring up the past and shove it to their face. This may then fuel the fire that is the fight that you have at the moment. It will worsen it, making it difficult to settle. This is obviously unfair and immature of you to do. But can you blame yourself? You are just angry and consumed.
Now, to minimize this from resurfacing later, make peace with your past. If there are things you still resent, have the courage to talk about it with your partner. By settling the past, you would avoid this unwanted situation from occurring.
17. Arguing in public
Arguing in public is a big NO-NO in our relationship, although unavoidable if things get out of hand. Allowing outsiders witness this intimate fight is just humiliating.
If, by chance, confronted with this situation, learn to stop. Be the first to shut your mouth and ask your partner to do the same. Do not scandalize! Keep these things discussed in your house. Most of all, take 10 counts of deep breaths. It de-escalates your anger as well as your partner.
18. Giving your partner the silent treatment
This is rather a juvenile or childish way of handling relationship conflicts which we are sometimes guilty of doing. We are angry, frustrated, or just too overwhelmed to react. We harbor a grudge against our partner. That is completely understandable but if this happens most of the time, then it is high time we put an end to this.
One way to overcome giving the silent treatment to our partner is giving yourself time to wallow or resent a little. But do not let the day pass without actually approaching your partner and working on resolving the issue at hand. Instead of repeating this behavior in the future, practice the art of communication. Nothing beats discussing these things with your beau anyway.
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19. Seeking constant validation
Validation in general is acceptable and normal. It is a human need and knowing that we are loved boosts our level of happiness. However, seeking constant reassurance or validation is not and this may stems from insecurity.
This may be minimized by focusing our attention on our career or work or studies. We can come up with something that can occupy our mind and may even promote self-growth such as blogging or cooking – anything that would be beneficial for us. Also, we need to remember that our entire happiness should not depend solely on our partner.
20. Use of Blackmail
In some relationships, emotional blackmail is rampant. People who are good at this tend to use fear or guilt or anger to get you to comply with what they want. Oftentimes, they would say something along this line “if you don’t do what I want, then it’d be better to end this relationship”. This is just bad in every sense of the word. You might be a victim or have probably used emotional blackmail to get what you want.
If you have such a tendency, you need to learn how to respect your partner and set boundaries. You have to understand that by using emotional blackmail, you are just driving him or her away. Ask help from people you trust. Undergo therapy if you must. This is for your own good and your partner as well.
OVER TO YOU
Every relationship is a work in progress. We learn something new every day. We get to realize that there are things we need to let go to save our relationship. Breaking a habit, most especially if it is something deeply rooted, takes a long time. But we can try. We can start one step at a time until we fully get rid of that bad habit that can damage our bond with our beau. To succeed at this, we need the help of our loving and understanding partner. After all, it takes two to tango. Therefore, let him or her know of what you are going through and put your heads together to resolve it. You got this!