While bad habits can be picked up anywhere, if your
partner is taking you for granted, it may be something they learned from their ex — especially if their ex did the same to them, or let your partner take advantage of them as well. It may be a bad habit they carried along with them from past relationships, but the only way to get to the bottom of the issue is by asking your partner why they turn a blind eye to all you do, and if it has to do with this past baggage. Then, follow it up by discussing ways to make a change.
"It’s always possible to fix bad habits, but the process usually takes time," Jonathan Bennett, relationship and dating expert at
Double Trust Dating, tells Bustle. "The key is to establish new habits in their place. So, if your partner takes you for granted, you should have an honest conversation and both work to establish new patterns and behaviors."
This might include pointing out all the current
ways your relationship feels unfair, and coming up with rules and boundaries to make it more balanced. And, if they're willing, talking about whether or not it stems from their ex. "Of course, your partner must want to change these habits, otherwise you will be dealing with the same problems over and over again," Bennett says. If they want the relationship to work, however, they should be more than willing to improve upon the issues listed below.
If your partner is in the habit of making big life decisions without asking how you feel them first, this may be a bad habit they picked up from their ex.
"In some relationships, one person makes most of the decisions," Bennett says. "If your partner had an ex who called the shots, your partner might think it’s normal not to
value your input in decisions or might take your opinions for granted."
While you can't fault them for picking up a bad habit or two, you'll want to bring it to their attention ASAP, especially if their one-sided decisions have impacted you.
They Never Say Thank You
Since you're together all the time, it'll be impossible to have impeccable manners 24/7. And it's certainly not necessary to thank each other for every little thing you do, or hold a grudge if you occasionally forget.
But if it seems like your efforts in the relationship go largely unnoticed, it may be time to talk. As Bennett says, "If your
partner seems ungrateful for the things you do, but speaks highly of an ex, you could be getting taken for granted."
This is something you can try to talk about, as a couple. If your partner is ready to leave behind bad habits or old expectations, they should be down to make more of an effort in your relationship — including noticing and appreciating all that you do.
They Expect You To Drop Everything
Another red flag that your
partner is taking you for granted, is if they ask you a favor and then expect you to drop everything immediately to help them out, licensed marriage and family therapist, Heidi McBain, MA, tells Bustle.
If your partner's ex was someone who leapt up whenever they needed help, they may expect you to do the same. Maybe you heard stories about your partner's past relationship, and how much they were doted on. Or maybe they had a different dynamic with their ex.
But these things don't have to carry over into your current relationship, if it doesn't feel right or work for you. One way to overcome it is to
set up boundaries with your partner, so there will be a greater sense of respect for each other's time.
They Expect You To Do Things For Them, Without Asking
Depending on the relationship your partner had with their ex, they may have grown accustomed to certain things happening without them having to ask. Maybe their ex paid all the bills, or made all the decisions, or cooked delicious meals every night — all because they wanted and/or were able to.
The thing is, it's not fair for your partner to expect the exact same life, now that they're with you. And you'll need to let them know that ASAP.
"If your partner expects you to do something they never asked you to do, they may be taking you and your kindness for granted,"
eHarmony’s Chief of Advice Jeannie Assimos, tells Bustle. "A partner should always ask if you are OK with doing something instead of expecting you’d do it."
"No one’s time is more important than [someone else's], so if your partner is constantly making you wait or pushing you out the door, they may be taking you for granted," Assmios says.
While they may have had different beliefs when they were with their ex, it'll be important to let them know what
you need from the relationship, and how you feel about budgeting and sharing your time as a couple.
They Focus On Your Flaws
Depending on what happened in your partner's past, they may bring a certain level of negativity to your relationship, possibly in the form of highlighting your "flaws."
As Bennett says, "If your partner seems to focus mostly on your shortcomings, it’s a red flag."
If your partner got away with this in the past, they may be taking advantage of the fact you haven't point it out yet. While it's up to your partner to work on themselves — and find ways to leave baggage behind — it can help to bring these habits to their attention, while explaining to them why it's not OK.
They Don't Make You A Priority
you often feel left behind, you'll need to let your partner know. "It’s one thing to ignore a text because of a busy day," Assimos says. "It’s another to spend time together glued to a phone or being otherwise occupied. If you are together, you should be focused on each other. If your partner is focused on other things, it may be a sign they are taking you for granted."
It's possible your partner picked up a few of these bad habits from their ex, or that they haven't transitioned from their past into the present. While it's up to them to update themselves, it's also important that you speak up and
say what you need.
As mentioned above, it's possible for your partner to break these bad habits, even though it may make time. If your
relationship has the potential to be healthy, though, then it'll be worth the effort.