As far as I know, no one tries to make their relationship more difficult. And yet, it's still pretty easy to do so. Throw in a few bad habits here, and a couple miscommunications there, and you two can have yourselves quite the problem.
Now I'm not talking about big things that mess up your relationship, like cheating or lying or anything like that. That's obviously all sorts of bad. I'm talking about the little things, like trying to talk to your SO at the worst times, or making jokes at their expense. "It’s already a challenge to live with the one person for a lifetime, but adding these habits makes it much more challenging than it needs to be," says relationship expert Cathryn Mora, in an email to Bustle.
It may seem so trivial. And yet, many of these "habits show a need to be right, a lack of empathy and respect, negativity, and the inability to see things from your partner’s perspective," Mora adds. "A relationship thrives when it involves two people who respect each other and show love at all times, even during disagreement."
If you're accidentally doing these things, don't feel bad. It's totally possible to change your ways (and for your partner to change theirs), and get things back on track. Read on for some of the bad habits that may mean it's time to do just that.
1. Not Being Present
If you two live together, you're probably thinking you can't get much more "present." But there's a difference between spending a lot of time together, and actually spending time together. "Often, I see couples at a restaurant, and there seems to be a disconnect between them as they are playing with their phones instead of enjoying each other’s company," says life coach Didi Wong, in an email to Bustle. Getting in the habit of ignoring each other — intentionally or otherwise — can create a feeling of distance, and that's not OK.
2. Going To Bed At Different Times
Some couples have wildly different schedules, so it's not always possible to fall asleep together. But if you two are simply choosing to hit the hay at different times, it can end up causing problems. "This creates distance and interferes with intimacy," Mora says. While going to bed at the same time (and snuggling) does the exact opposite. So be sure to pop into bed together, whenever you can.
3. Trying To Read Each Other's Minds
You know your partner so well it feels like you can read their mind. And yet — sorry to say — you totally can't. While you may guess correctly a lot of the time, assuming you "know" on a 24/7 basis can lead to all sorts of misunderstandings. That's why Martinez suggests stopping and simply asking them what's up. It can help keep things clear, and prevent those annoying guessing games.
4. Picking On Each Other (Yes, Even Jokingly)
Lots of couples jokingly (or not so jokingly) pick on each other. And while it feels harmless, it can start to erode your relationship. So try to put an end to it before it becomes a problem. "This is not to say you have to swallow things that annoy you all the time, but find words to communicate frustrations in a positive tone," Wong says. That'll be way better — and more productive — than all the little nitpicky arguments.
5. Comparing Your Relationship To Others
If you feel like you and your partner don't have the easiest time, it can kind of suck to scroll through your friend's Instagram feed. You know, the one with the super cute relationship. There she is making dinner with her partner, and going on all sorts of vacations. It can make your relationship seem even worse. So why do you do it? Not only is it hurtful, but it’s impossible to know what other couples’ lives are really like, according to lifestyle writer Mélanie Bertliet on ThoughtCatalog.com. So quit peeking, and focus on your own life.
6. Having Unrealistic Expectations
We all have high hopes for our relationships, but sometimes they can get a bit too high. As Wong tells me, this is a great way to feel letdown pretty much all the time. So instead of picturing in vivid detail exactly how your date night will go, be OK with whatever happens — good, bad, or otherwise. Appreciating your partner, and all the things they do for you, can go a long way in creating a happier relationship.
7. Viewing Everything As A Bad Omen
Your partner gets home late, they aren't talking as much, they seem distant — and it feels bad. It may be hard not to assume the worst, but these things don't necessarily mean your relationship is doomed, according to Bertliet. People have bad days, and relationships have their ups and down. So save yourself the drama of constantly thinking the end is nigh. You and your partner will be much happier for it.
8. Waiting For Them To Initiate Sex
While it's OK to occasionally lie around and pine away for attention, this is a habit that can leave you (and your partner) feeling disappointed. "Holding on to the idea that you need to be approached first by your partner for sex — or any other form of affection — will leave you waiting and unsatisfied," said relationships writer Ashley Papa, on StyleCaster.com. So don't be afraid to ask for what you want.
9. Choosing The Worst Times To Chat
If it feels like your SO is distant or never down to chat, it could just be that you're approaching them at the worst times. Do you go up to them when they're tired, or when they first get home formwork? "Conversations about important issues, like relationship expectations and financial blunders, all have their time and place," said health writer Laura Schwecherl on Women's Health. And those times are not it.
10. Constantly Dredging Up The Past
It's fine to talk about the past, or to rehash old arguments that were never settled. But it's not OK to hold a grudge or bring up the past for no good reason. "Bringing up past hurts during today’s argument unnecessarily fuels the fire and never helps," Mora says. Keep any arguments you do have focused on what's actually happen. And leave the past in the past.
11. Avoiding Fights Altogether
You may think that zero fights mean you're in the healthiest relationship ever, but that's not exactly the case. While it's great you two don't argue all the time, it likely means you're keeping a lot of things secret. Plus, "never having conflict may make compromise impossible," said Schwecherl. So go ahead and hash it out, and don't worry if things get momentarily ugly.
No relationship is perfect, but it is possible to make yours better by avoiding these bad habits.
Images: Pexels (12)