Being in a long-term committed relationship means having the freedom to let your guard down. After all, you brought your A-game during the whole dating process, so now you get to be your truest, grossest, and most genuine self. But — as with all things — it is possible to take it too far and adopt habits that are totally unattractive to your spouse.
Now, when I say "unattractive" I'm not saying you have to be attractive and put-together all the time. Go ahead and pee with the door open, or partake in a copious amount of bedtime snacks. There's obviously nothing wrong with being a person, being comfy, and livin' your best left.
What I am saying is that there are things we all do that make our partners cringe, or feel neglected, or scratch their heads in pure puzzlement. These things, like it or not, are probably best avoided in your relationship.
Keep in mind, however, that every couple is different. Whatever you two deem acceptable and normal will be what's acceptable and normal. But if you feel like something is a bit off, it could that one of your everyday habits is sending a less-than-desirable message. Read on for what some of these habits might be.
1. Staring Constantly Into That Phone Of Yours
All long-term couples get comfy with each other, and that's obviously a good thing. But don't let it get to the point where you're neglecting each other — especially if it's in favor of a phone. As marriage and family therapist Talia Wagner tells me, staring at your screen 24/7, instead of talking to each other, can lead to feelings of disconnect. It can also make your SO feel like you aren't interested in them, and that's not cool.
2. Not Respecting Your SO's Privacy
Lots of people drop intimate details about their partner, whether it be while out with friends or inadvertently on social media. But that doesn't make it OK. "Oftentimes partners are ... left surprised when acquaintances can recount their whereabouts and know detailed information about their day-to-day activities," Wagner says. "This can effect trust and lead to escalating fights within a relationship."
3. Bringing Up Old Fights
I know it can be hard to get over that shitty thing your partner did two years ago. But that's no reason to bring up passive aggressively on some random Tuesday. As relationship expert Stephanie Shi said on Cosmopolitan UK, "Keeping count of your partner's wrongs isn't healthy since it doesn't make any of you grow and move on from the hurt." It's better to talk it out peacefully and try to move on.
4. Taking That Venting Session To The Next Level
Yes, partners are each other's go-to support system. And yet, whining and complaining about every single thing can become a bit much, Wagner tells me. While you want to share your problems and vent about the more difficult things in life, complaining just to complain is super unattractive.
5. Being Stingy With The Bill
If you guys plan to go out on a date, make sure it's not going to be with your very last penny. As Wagner says, it's better to go if you can't afford it. Have a date night in and save yourself the awkwardness that is arguing over a bill, or worse – not being able to pay. (Not cute.)
6. Letting Jealousy Get The Best Of You
We're all human, so it's pretty hard to not feel a pang of jealousy when your SO gets a text from an old flame, or an invite out without you. And yet, jealousy isn't something you want to make an everyday habit. If you are doubting your partner, it may be a symptom of a larger problem, according to health writer Laura Schwercherl on Greatist.com. If it's an issue, chat about it now, before it gets out of hand.
7. Telling Little White Lies
If your partner knows you well (as they probably do) then they'll be able to detect when you're lying. So don't go overboard with the little white lies. Sure, say you loved their food even if it wasn't the best. (That's just being polite.) But don't make it a habit. "Little white lies can add up and ruin a relationship that should be built on honesty," Schwecherl said.
8. Being Hopelessly Indecisive
There are some ladies and gents who think being indecisive is sweet, or thoughtful, or kinda cute. But it really isn't. Waffling over which restaurant you want to go to, or which movie you want to see, can quickly get annoying. The next time you feel the need to say "I dunno..." make a decision and stick to it. Your partner will absolutely love it.
9. Not Dishing Out Real Apologies
Nothing is less attractive than someone who can't say sorry. This is especially true if a person apologizes, and then starts to backpedal. "There's no 'I'm sorry but you…'; it's just 'I'm sorry' plain and simple," said Shi. If this is a habit of yours, catch yourself the next time you want to wiggle out of a true apology. Your partner will appreciate the turnaround.
10. Poking Fun At The Wrong Times
A couple that laughs together stays together. (That's not a quote, but it seems true, right?) Just make sure you're not laughing at each other's expense. "Inappropriate humor during times of seriousness can shut a partner down and reduce emotional intimacy," Wagner says. Which, of course, is the exact opposite of what you want for your relationship.
Go ahead and be comfy with each other, but keep in mind what might be a little too comfy. Respecting each other and keeping an eye out for signs of problems will keep your relationship happy and healthy.
Images: Pexels (11); Unsplash, Daryn Bartlett