While its not necessary or healthy to blame yourself for the problems in your relationship, it is important to accept some responsibility when things go awry. If there are constant issues between you and your partner, or fights that won't stop, it'll be necessary for you both to sit down and figure out what's going on.
Your partner will have to work on the ways he or she is contributing, and you should do the same. "It is important to recognize your part in the problems in order to make a change," NYC-based therapist Kimberly Hershenson tells Bustle. "We cannot control other people. We can only control our own behaviors and actions. Having awareness is the first step to making change."
Once you know how you might be making things more difficult, you can start shifting your expectations, changing the way you respond, etc. "After awareness, we can begin to take action to improve our behaviors," Hershenson says. "If you are able to 'keep your side of the street clean,' your partner will often respond in a more positive way." And thus a healthier relationship can ensue. Read on for some ways you might be causing problems in your relationship, so you'll know exactly what to fix.
1. You Always Have To Be Win The Fight
I totally understand the desire to win an argument, and yet it's not the healthiest mentality to have. If you have a tendency to stick with it until your partner gives in and agrees that you're "right," you can reasonably expect your relationship to suffer. As speaker and counselor Davida Rappaport says, "It makes your partner want to shut down, argue with you, or think about leaving."
2. You Don't Support Your Partner
For a relationship to be healthy, you have to support your partner. (And vice versa, of course.) So make sure you're not in the habit of letting him or her down. If you are, you might catch yourself making fun of their job or trying to convince them to change. "That tells them that you do not approve of what they want to do," Rappaport says. And it can really take a toll on things.
3. You Let Your Family Get Involved
While it's normal to occasionally ask family (and friends) for advice regarding relationship matters, you shouldn't let them get too involved. "If your family is the type that creates drama in your life, you should put healthy boundaries in place so they will not cause or contribute to any problems in your relationship," Rappaport says. Failing to do so will only make things worse.
4. You Criticize Them With Abandon
Do you offer lots of "advice" that's actually thinly-veiled criticism? If so, you might want to check yourself. "If you criticize a lot, this may make your partner feel defensive and affect how open they are with you," Chicago-based clinical psychologist Dr. Helen Odessky tells Bustle. "Openly expressing your every thought is not closeness, it's carelessness and will likely make your partner leave."
5. You Think You're "Never The Problem"
Like I said above, it's important to accept responsibility for any issues that are going down. If you always deflect blame, Odessky tells me it may be time to re-examine your role in the situation. Things are rarely ever all one person's fault, so give your partner a break.
6. You're Never The First One To Apologize
Do you have a hard time saying sorry? "If your partner is always the one to apologize, they will start to resent it," Odessky says. "We all sometimes need to apologize for the sake of the relationship, so don't make your partner do all the heavy lifting." It may feel weird, but learning how to do this is so important.
7. You Get Out Of Control When Fighting
Things can get heated during arguments, but take note if you always take it too far. If you get truly get out of control when fighting — yelling, cursing, blaming — Hershenson tells me it may be your unfair (and unhealthy) fighting style that's causing problems in your relationship.
8. You Can't Seem To Tell The Truth
For a relationship to be healthy and functional, you can't be living a life of lies. So take a moment, check in with yourself, and figure out if you tend to tell the truth. If you struggle with being honest, it can create problems in the relationship, Hershenson tells me. This is true for little things, like lying about losing the house keys as well as big things, like lying about money.
9. You Don't Like Doing Anything On Your Own
Couples should certainly enjoy each other's company, but they should also be able to spend time apart doing their own thing. If you can't seem to do venture off on your own, Hershenson tells me it can become an issue. Do you need to be with your partner all the time? Do you rarely see your friends or partake in any hobbies? "These are all signs you may be a major contributor to the problems in your relationship," she says.
10. You Shut Down When Things Get Tough
Being in a relationship requires both people to be mature and talk about things that aren't necessarily "fun." So take note if you have a tendency to shut down when the going gets tough. "If you give the 'silent treatment,' 'pout,' or simply clam up, then you won’t be able to deal with or resolve the issues that are destroying your relationship," says certified counselor Jonathan Bennett. And this will slowly send things down the proverbial hill.
11. You Can't Be Bothered To Put In The Work
There's no denying relationships take work, and that both parties need to contribute to it equally by showing up, talking, listening, etc. "If you know you’re not meeting your partner’s needs and can’t muster up the energy to work on yourself or the relationship, then you are a big reason the relationship isn’t working," Bennett says.
If anything of this sounds familiar, it may be time to make some changes — all for the sake of your relationship.
Images: Unsplash, Elizabeth Tsung; Pexels (11)