If you've been experiencing a rough patch in your relationship, go ahead and take a look at your quirks and eccentricities. It could be you have a personality trait or two that's making you difficult to date. Of course, it has a lot to do with what how you and your partner mesh. But even the most charming traits — when experienced in high doses — can send your dating life downhill.
While kind of scary to think about, it does make a heck of a lot of sense. As psychotherapist and relationship expert Dr. Mike Dow says in an email to Bustle, "Personality traits have a profound effect on our relationships. [They affect] how we get in (or out) of relationships, how faithful (or unfaithful) we'll be, if we get married early or late, and the person we choose to settle down with." Again, this is true for positive traits, so-called negative ones, and all the quirks in between.
But never fear. Even if you believe you have a semi off-putting personality trait, it is still possible to make things work. Recognizing it is the first step, psychologist Dr. Nikki Martinez tells me, as it "shows insight and willingness to change." Once you realize where things might be going wrong, you can work it out with your partner — and start to address any issues. Sound good? Then read on for a few personality traits that can make relationships a bit rocky.
1. A Tendency To Be Overly Agreeable
If you find yourself being overly agreeable, it's often at the expense of sharing your true self. And that, my friend, does not a healthy relationship make. "Eventually, your partner may not know who the 'real you' is since you agree with everything he or she says," Dow points out. So give yourself permission to get angry, to disagree, and to proudly share your opinion. I promise your SO will totally appreciate it.
2. Saying "I'm Fine" All The Time
Are you the calm, cool, collected type? If so, please enjoy your very admirable trait. But do keep in mind that a total lack of emotions can cause a problem on the dating scene — if you aren't careful. "Getting a second date requires that you make a connection the first time," says psychotherapist Tina Gilbertson, LPC, DCC, in an email to Bustle. "If you don't 'do' emotions, it's hard for people to connect with you." And that, for obvious reasons, can make having a relationship downright difficult.
3. Coming Off As Arrogant
If you've ever dated someone who's kind of in love with themselves, then you already know how off-putting arrogance can be. But did you know it can also be a sign of an underlying problem? As relationship coach Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC says, "Arrogance is often a cover for insecurity." If you feel like this is the root of your relationship problems, it can help to boost your self-esteem — and thus your totally likable humility.
4. Not Allowing For Balanced Conversations
There's nothing wrong with being bubbly and chatty. But if you're experiencing relationship problems, consider how your talkative ways might be coming off as overwhelming. For example, have you ever noticed your SO glazing over when you talk about your day? While semi-rude on their part, it could also be a sign that you need more balance, Coleman tells me. Let them get in a word in, too, and you'll see your relationship improve tenfold.
5. Being Too Sensitive About Everything
Sensitive types are the best. But I think we can all agree some people take this sweet trait a little too far. Maybe you read into everything your partner says, or take everything super personally. If so, it may be a sign you're wound too tight, Dow tells me. And that's never fun to be around.
6. Putting Sarcasm Above All Else
I love a witty remark, and sarcasm is definitely my second language. And yet even I know how easily it can be taken too far. "What makes a person laugh out loud when you are casually chatting might hurt feelings when you start to get more personal," says life coach Erica McCurdy, MCC, in an email to Bustle. "Make sure you know when to be sarcastic and when to pull back those jokes." It might just save your relationship.
7. Being Overly Critical When It's Not Constructive
You may think you're being helpful by pointing out your partners shortcomings. And yet these "helpful hints" are often only thinly-veiled criticism. "People with this trait always seem to find a way to find something wrong with others, especially their partner," says licensed counselor and life coach Monte Drenner. And clearly, that's not OK.
8. Prioritizing Perfection, Always
Some people could only be so lucky as to have a perfectionist for a partner. After all, perfectionists run a spiffy home, throw one heck of a party, and never let the ball drop when it comes to paying bills. However, this personality trait can get old fast — especially if you always have to be right. If you're this type of perfectionist, you might come off as bossy, relationship expert Rhonda Milrad, LCSW tells me, and that can leave you pretty darn alienated.
9. Letting Work Take Over Everything Else
Are you a workaholic? If so, beware giving into your intense desire to talk about work 24/7. While it's fine to share a few stories, it's not OK to vent, say, during a night out. "Work is great in the workplace, but on a date it is good to talk about everything but work," says relationship counselor Audrey Hope. Don't be one of those people who can't think about anything else.
10. Being Unable To Go Without Attention
Someone who wants to be front and center all the time can be pretty difficult to date, psychiatrist and relationship expert Dr. Scott Carroll tells me. As he says, "... it might mean you cling to your partner and demand their undivided attention." If this sounds familiar, remember the importance of giving each other space.
11. Constantly Giving Into Negativity
Go ahead and complain if you're feelin' down. Just don't let negativity totally and completely consume you, Hope tells me, as it really can have an impact on your relationship. If you're feeling down in the dumps and are convinced the world is horrible, turn to your partner for support. Talking it out when sh*t hits the proverbial fan is essential to a healthy relationship. And so is a touch of positivity.
Recognize any of these traits in yourself? If so, don't worry. You don't have to feel bad, or change yourself! But being aware of them — and how they might affect your relationships — can mean having an easier time out there in dating land.
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