“Any day can be a new beginning if it is your true hearts desire”
We all have habits we fall into that aren’t good for us. Some of those habits are even bad for our relationships and can lead to our relationship ending completely. Left unchecked, these seemingly small issues can grow until they kill the relationship entirely, leaving it irreparably damaged. It doesn’t matter how good the relationship started out; if you let one or all of these 5 common habits make their way into your relationship, you’re going to find yourself in a rut or worse. Maybe this has happened to you before and you were left wondering what went wrong. Or maybe you’re in a rut now and you don’t know what went wrong or how to fix it. We’ve all been there, and learning from our mistakes and learning how to correct ourselves and grow is the best way to ensure that our relationships last.
1. Being Passive Aggressive
This is a big one, and it seems like it wouldn’t be a big problem. By being passive aggressive, you’re hinting at what you mean without confrontation and that’s a good thing, right?
As tempting as it is to do your communicating through well-placed jabs that are supposed to appear funny, and passive complaints that don’t address the real problem, being passive aggressive is almost as damaging to relationships as fighting over money. Most people don’t want to argue or to communicate when they’re really upset. But by being passive, not only are you communicating to your partner that they aren’t worth the truth and the vulnerability that comes with speaking the truth, you’re also leaving the door open for the same irritant to make an appearance over and over again. How is your partner supposed to make a meaningful change if you won’t tell them what’s bothering you?
They can’t. By being passive aggressive, you’re setting them up for failure and all but ensuring that your relationship is going to end on a sour note.
How to fix it
Say what you mean. It may sound really simplistic, but saying what you mean is the best way to see honest change in both you and your partner. Being honest and clear opens the door and invites your partner to do the same. No one can correct their mistakes or compromise with you if you aren’t clear on what the problem is. It goes both ways, and it’s so important to create a space in your relationship where honesty is allowed and even encouraged. While hearing these things can be uncomfortable at times, if you will say what you mean in a straightforward yet kind fashion, you will find that you’ll get much better results than you did when you dealt with things passive aggressively.
2. Forgetting that your partner is human
It seems like we hold our partners to a higher standard; and why shouldn’t we? They’re the One, right? That person who completes you. The soul you’ve been waiting for. But a lot of times, we forget that even our soulmates are human beings, too. The grace and compassion we would extend to an acquaintance or even a stranger we forget to give our partner. Expecting your partner to be perfect all the time is unrealistic on your end, and quite overwhelming on theirs. And, it’s just plain unfair. No one is perfect, so expecting your partner to never let you down, and treating them poorly when they do is a sure way to make them feel like you don’t value them as a person, their faults and shortcomings included.
How to fix it
Give them the compassion you would like to receive. The beauty and the magic of a long-term relationship is the honesty that comes from really knowing someone. There are so few people that we can be our true, authentic selves with, and your partner is the one person who knows all your flaws and loves you both in spite of and because of those flaws. We sometimes forget this and expect more from our partners than most people can deliver day in and day out. So, take a moment and remind yourself that your partner is flawed; beautifully and uniquely flawed. Then give them the compassion that you would want them to give to you, and practice loving them when they’re at their worst and not just when they’re at their best.
3. Being disengaged
Whether it’s being engrossed in the television for hours on end, spending the day on social media, or any of the many other ways we entertain ourselves throughout the day, it’s very easy to forget to take the time to give our partner our undivided attention. No one wants to feel alone in a crowded room, and your partner is no different.
How to fix it
Set aside time to focus on your relationship. Even if your partner is just as guilty of disengaging in favor of technology, make it a point to spend time free from distractions together. Suggest activities that guarantee that your partner will be more interested in what you’re doing than the phone, the television, or the latest video games. It doesn’t have to be anything special; time spent exploring the local nature center, or going to a street festival together is a great way to break away from modern distractions and just enjoy one another’s company. The more you practice being fully there with your partner, the easier it becomes.
4. Losing sight of why you’re together in the first place
Losing sight of what first brought you together is especially easy when you’ve been together for a long time, so it’s important to make sure you don’t let go of the things that first attracted you to your partner. Day to day life can be a complete drag, and it’s easy to get caught in a rut, doing the things that need to be done and focusing on household chores, work, and even children. But before those things, you were a couple, and losing sight of that can leave one or both of you feeling unloved, unhappy, and as if the relationship has run its course.
How to fix it
It seems so simple, but one of the easiest ways to fix this very common problem is to revisit the activities and the places that brought you together. Even if it’s just through pictures, sharing those memories, and even telling the story of how you met to your friends, family, or children will help renew those feelings that you probably thought were long gone. If you’ve let it get to the point that sharing memories or photos doesn’t bring out those feelings, try physically visiting the place where you met, or recreating your first date or favorite memory. You may find that reliving that moment is exactly what you need to get your relationship back on track and thriving.
5. Letting the other person do all the work
In every relationship there will be times when one partner is shouldering more responsibilities than the other. This is part of the natural ebb and flow of any relationship, but it can also lead to the habit of letting your partner do more of the work even when you’re fully capable of doing your share. This may manifest itself in the amount of housework you do, or even in less tangible ways. You may receive love and verbal affection from your partner without reciprocating as much as you would have in the past. At first, your partner might not notice, but as they bear more and more of the burden, they will start to resent the extra work, and that will lead to them resenting you for not doing your part. No one wants to feel like they’re doing all the work. And if it happens for too long, they may decide it’s not worth the effort and walk away without much warning. There is only so much that most people can take, and it’s important to keep from pushing the people we love too far.
How to fix it
First, you need to figure out how you got here in the first place. If you’re on the receiving end of this habit and you’re doing most of the work, sit down with your partner and let them know that you feel like you’re doing a lot and ask them how they’re doing. You may find out that they didn’t notice they were doing it, or there’s some underlying cause like stress at work or even feeling too depressed to do much. Once you pinpoint the problem, come up with a solution and tackle the issue as a team. Be patient; change takes time.
If you’re the partner that is allowing your other half to do most of the work, it’s time for some serious introspection. Figure out when it started, why it started, and what you need to change the habit. Sometimes, it’s as simple as recognizing that you’re not doing enough to get you motivated to do better.
Once you’ve addressed the cause, make sure you share the load. Write down the household activities and who does them, then work with your partner to even the workload. If you’ve been slacking on the emotional work, challenge yourself to focus on your partner daily until it becomes a habit again.
A failing relationship is often a long road of small mistakes, bad habits, and just giving into the stress of day to day life. But when you recognize these habits that kill relationships and take steps to change them, you can rekindle the fire that you thought was long extinguished. Love isn’t just about chance or fate, we make a conscious decision every day to love and be loved. If you find yourself doing any of these five things, take the initiative to make a positive change. You have the power to create and recreate a long and lasting love with your partner. Don’t let a good thing slip away. Your relationship is worth it, and so are you.