The patterns you develop your relationship can say a lot about whether or not it's going to last. According to experts, even happy couples aren't immune to negative relationship patterns. But if you can catch it early enough and do something about it, you can prevent those
bad relationship patterns from hurting your relationship.
"It’s easy for human beings to get stuck in patterns, period," family and marriage therapist
Rachel Wright, tells Bustle. "Our brains love routine and habit. Unfortunately [many of us may] get stuck with unhealthy behaviors and wiring without even knowing it."
Unhealthy relationship patterns tend to develop slowly, over time. "It can start very romantic with only
little signs of dysfunction popping up along the way," psychologist Kelsey M. Latimer, PhD, CEDS-S, founder of Hello Goodlife, tells Bustle. "But by the time you see the signs, you're likely invested and involved in the relationship. It can then be hard to put boundaries in place or stop things from progressing in an unhealthy direction."
It's important to know what these patterns are so you can spot it right away. So here are some negative relationship patterns to break now if you want your relationship to last, according to experts.
Bringing Up An Issue By Blaming Your Partner
"One of the most common relationship patterns in conflict is starting a conversation with a harsh phrase like, 'What’s wrong with you!?'"
Steve Dziedzic, relationship expert, founder and CEO of Lasting, tells Bustle. Doing so will only make your partner feel attacked. When someone feels attacked, the tendency is to get defensive. So instead of discussing a problem in the relationship, you end up in an argument. In order to break this habit, try raising an issue by sharing how you feel. Approach it from a more vulnerable place. Statements such as, "I feel like my opinions aren't getting heard" are a lot easier to take in and respond to than, "You never listen to me!"
Keeping Your Feelings To Yourself For The Sake Of The Relationship
It's been said time and time again, but
open communication is essential if you want your relationship to last. According to Latimer, something as simple as holding back on your feelings or expectations can be detrimental. This can set you up for a dynamic in which your partner has more "power" in the relationship than you.
Needing Your Partner To "Fix" Or "Complete" You
"So often in relationships we tend to bring our
own custom baggage to the situation, hoping that our partners will have a magic wand to heal the wounds that we have brought forward with us," relationship expert Susan Sparks, tells Bustle. But this often causes problems because your partner is only human. According to Sparks, it's close to impossible for them to easily "fix" issues that took years to develop in the first place. "The reality is, it's your job to fix you," she says. "Your partner’s job is to be there to support you and share in your daily experiences. Asking them to do more only sets both of you up for hurt feelings, arguments, and ultimately, failure." Seeking help from a professional can also be helpful if the situation calls for it.
Thinking You Can Predict What Your Partner Will Say Or Do
When you've reached the point of being completely comfortable with your partner, you may start to feel like you can treat them differently. "We often start to feel like we have the right, or the ability to control the other person," Sparks says. "We may feel that we know them so well that we can predict their actions and their reactions to everything that we say and do." For instance, you're more likely to assume things on the basis that you've been together forever. More often than not, your assumptions are based on how you'd like them to act and not reality. But your partner is their own person. You can't control how they're going to react or assume you know what they want. If you want your relationship to last, it's important to treat them as an individual. Get to know them each day by talking to them.
Fighting Over Things That Won't Matter In The Long Run
"Mindless fighting, or unnecessary fighting is one of the leading causes of relationship disasters," Mackenzie Riel, relationship expert with
TooTimid, tells Bustle. "This can damage your relationship if the fights and arguments are outweighing the happy, good moments between you." Before you raise an issue or place blame, think about whether or not this is going to matter five or 10 years from now. If not, it's OK to let things go.
Going Overboard With Likes, Photos, And Posts On Social Media
Supporting your other half on their social media pages is redeeming and cute," Riel says. "But when it's constant, it's overkill." In fact, studies have found that couples who are a little extra with their love on social media tend to be the most unhappy. Instead of talking to each other and working out problems, they overcompensate by posting positive things about their relationship. They do it to remind themselves that their relationship is probably "good."
When you want something to work out so badly, it's easy to ignore the gut feeling you have that's telling you something is off. But if you want to set healthy patterns for not only your relationship but yourself, you need to trust what your instincts are telling you. "It's OK to walk away if it doesn’t feel right and it’s OK to make yourself and your needs a priority," Latimer says. "The right relationship is one in which you don’t need to compromise in those things."
Sometimes you can fall into these bad relationship patterns without you realizing it. So it's important to be aware of what they are in order for you to develop healthier patterns in your relationship.