11 Seemingly Innocent Habits That Can Sabotage A New Relationship Before It Starts
The early stages of a relationship are always the most exciting. It's those early days when thinking about your partner puts a huge smile on your face, being around them gives you butterflies, and no matter how hard you try to keep it cool, you just can't seem to get enough of them. While it's so easy to get swept up in the newness of everything, it's still super important to be aware. Because according to relationship experts, seemingly innocent things people commonly do can have a way of sabotaging a new relationship before it truly gets a chance to take off.
"While it might make you feel like you’ve sealed the deal with your partner, 'innocent' things like rushing into future mode or stating your relationship status too early on, can add pressure to the exciting part of your new relationship," dating coach Julie Spira tells Bustle. The absolute last thing you want is for your partner to ask for space early on because they're starting to get turned off.
As psychologist Dr. Sidney Cohen tells Bustle, a small, seemingly innocent habit to one person may be a huge red flag to the other. "If the two people are not on the same page about this, the relationship could be sabotaged early on," Dr. Cohen says.
So here are some seemingly innocent habits that can sabotage a new relationship before it really begins, according to experts.
1. Assuming You Know What Your Partner Wants Out Of The Relationship
No matter what stage your relationship is in, communication is important. You can't assume you know where things are headed, no matter how things seem to look. "I see this rear its head on social media," Spira says. "One person tags the other, posts a lot of photos to claim the person as theirs, and changes their relationship status without having a conversation about it."
If you want a relationship don't be afraid to say it. "One of the biggest mistakes that people make in new romances is putting off the 'what are we?' conversation for fear of seeming too invested or 'desperate,'" Haylin Belay, sexuality expert and social-emotional skills educator, tells Bustle. But why be with someone who isn't as invested in you as you are in them?
"As I tell my students, you have to ask for what you want in order to get it," she says. "If you can't trust your new sweetheart to respect those needs, that's probably not someone you want to be with."
2. Making Comparisons
"The worst way to begin a new relationship is constant comparisons to an ex," Amanda Raimondi, relationship expert with Grapevine, tells Bustle. It may seem like an innocent habit to have, especially if you're keeping those comparisons to yourself. But would you want your new partner to keep comparing you to their ex? Probably not.
"Just focus on the present and your new relationship," she says. Let the past go. Focus on building something new and even better with your new partner.
3. Posting Things About Your New Relationship All Over Social Media
If you're not on the same "digital page" as your partner, Spira says this can hurt your relationship before it really begins. "I recommend having a conversation early on about how often you’d like to use social media and if you should be tagging, liking, and sharing each other’s posts," she says. If making your relationship status known is important to you, let your partner know. If they genuinely like to keep their life private, find a way to compromise. Don't let social media ruin a good thing.
Speaking of technology use, don't make a habit of being on your phone when you spend time together. "It may be a small thing, but when you see how often someone is glued to the phone, you also see how little they pay attention to life that's happening right in front of them," relationship coach Jenna Ponaman, CPC, ELI-MP, tells Bustle.
4. Staying In Contact During Work Hours
If you want your new relationship to move forward into something more, Erin K.Tierno, LCSW-R, founder of Online Therapy NYC, tells Bustle, it may be time to avoid contact during work hours. "A simple 'have a good day' in the morning is fine," she says. But it hinders your personal growth and development when you're waiting for your partner to text you back. Texting too often can also give you a false sense of intimacy, "which is truly better developed gradually in person, over time," she says.
5. Keeping Your Same Routine
"Most [singles] have been living their lives on their own terms with their own rules, and often don’t realize how it impacts a new coupling. Now that they are in a new relationship, they must take their partner’s feelings into consideration," Bonnie Winston, celebrity matchmaker and relationship expert, tells Bustle.
While you shouldn't change up your entire life for a partner, it is important to make some room for them and include them in your life.
6. Trying To Solve Your Partner's Problems
When you're in a new relationship, it's easy to get into "parenting" mode. "We know parenting behaviors by watching our parents and experiencing them ourselves," Kim Olver, MS, certified coach and founder of The Relationship Center, tells Bustle. "Sometimes we generalize these behaviors to our intimate relationships, which can be detrimental." These behaviors include being overprotective, trying to change your partner's look or behaviors for what you think is the better, or attempting to solve their problems. While you may find these things helpful, Olver says this can come off as controlling.
7. Talking About Yourself Too Much
When people first get into a new relationship they tend to get excited about telling their partner everything that's going on in their life. If you've been single for a long time, it's nice to have that one person you can talk and vent to at the end of the day. While Ponaman says it's a good thing to have, it's easy to keep the focus on you. "Partnership is just as much about listening as it is to be heard," she says. So be sure to give your partner their fair share of attention as well.
8. Brushing Off Their Spending Habits
"It is very easy to see someone's 'money habits' early on," Misty Lynch, a John Hancock financial advisor consulting for Twine, tells Bustle. "Pay attention to these things early, and don’t be blinded by lavish gifts (or lack thereof) when you begin a new relationship." Financial compatibility is super important if you want your relationship to last. If you notice that your partner has no trouble spending a ton on dinners or weekend getaways to impress you, and you're more of a saver, don't write that off. You shouldn't ignore any red flags when it comes to their spending. It could cause problems down the road.
9. Playing It Too Cool
The early stages of a relationship can make you giddy with excitement, and it's common to try and tone that excitement down. But in doing so, Olver says, the temptation is to pretend to be something different then who or what you really are. When this happens, you may resort to game playing (i.e. trying to make them jealous by talking to other people) or you may just come off as disinterested.
"In doing so, this may set the tone for disingenuous relationship dynamics," she says. Instead, you should always be yourself regardless of how your partner is with you. If you're being open and honest with them about your intentions and they're trying to play it cool, think about whether or not this partnership is really worth pursuing.
10. Talking About A Past Relationship When You're Secretly Not Over It Yet
It may seem innocent to talk about what happened in a past relationship. But if you make talking about it a habit early on, you may find yourself constantly referring to it as time goes on. "If you refer to one specific relationship a numerous amount of times, it may seem like you still have feelings for that former partner," family and marriage therapist, Michael Bouciquot, MS, tells Bustle. Even if you're not quite over your ex yet, you don't want to bring that into your new relationship.
11. Thinking About The Future Too soon
When you’re in a new relationship and you have all these giddy, love feels, it's so easy to project into the future. It happens to the best of us. But as Spira says, "Worrying about the end game doesn’t allow you to be in the moment and to create memories along the way." According to her, it's totally fine to have a vision board for your future love life, but don't go overboard.
"Just don't get too ahead of yourself and bring that energy into the relationship too quickly" she says. "If your partner is 'The One,' you’ll get there when the timing is right."
If texting throughout the day and thinking about the future too soon are habits to quit, which ones should you adopt? According to Spira, you should find a dating ritual early on that works for you. For instance, you can have a designated date night each week or make it a point to send a good morning or good night text each day. Small habits things like these can create a good, long-lasting foundation for your new relationship.
Above all, don't be afraid to take your time. Get to know each other on a deeper level and get clear on what you both want out of the relationship. If it's meant to last a lifetime, it will.