Bad habits. We all have them. Unfortunately, when we bring them into a relationship, they can sabotage even the most promising union. And often, your own bad habits illicit bad behaviour in return thus perpetuating the cycle of poor communication and ultimately, unhappiness for one or both partners.
Sometimes, we aren’t even aware of what we are doing. Bad relationship skills may be so ingrained in us and how we interact with others, that we can only see things from our own point of view. If you don’t take the time to stand back and evaluate your own actions, you may invariably be doomed to have a string of unsatisfying relationships and end up alone and bitter.
Be honest. Be aware.
Are you guilty of any of these:
5 Secret Relationship Killers That May Lead To Divorce
1. Keeping score
Scorecards belong in sports, not in love. If you find yourself mentally keeping track of how many times you’ve done something, like taking out the trash or saying sorry first, you may have a problem.
Every relationship consists of giving and taking. And while it may not balance out daily or weekly, in a good relationship, over the long term, it usually equals out. And believe me, nothing tips the scales more than repeatedly letting your partner know that you think you do more and they do next to nothing. They will end up shutting down and doing even less than you were giving them credit for in the first place.
If you truly believe you do more, love more, then talk to your partner honestly and openly. They may not even realize you feel that way. Let them know your expectations and what they can expect from you. Let them express themselves and their concerns as well. You may be surprised to find out that they believe they do more than you do, you just haven’t noticed their effort because you were focused on your own.
And if nothing changes, and after careful self evaluation you still see the relationship as too lopsided, you have 2 choices. Continue on as usual or leave. Neither decision will be easy.
2. Secret spending
It is important to note that some people consider financial cheating as bad as real cheating. Especially from partners that are fiscally responsible and/or savers. Secretly spending money is seen as a huge betrayal.
Honestly, everyone values different things as worthy or not worthy of spending their hard earned money on. You may not agree with your partner’s perceived value of an item but you have to at the very least, come to some kind of compromise of what is acceptable. Obviously, you’re not a child and have free reign over your own money but you must acknowledge that you are part of a couple now and that means you must learn to work as a team for the greater good of both of you.
Open communication and discussions about money are the keys to a successful partnership. Work on your budget together, regardless of whether you pool your money or not. Decide how much discretionary money each partner may have monthly and what amount over which a discussion over a purchase must happen. A coffee here or there may be fine but items over $50 or $100 may warrant a dialogue.
3. Silent treatment
You probably understand that name calling and aggressive arguing is a no-no in a relationship but giving your partner the silent treatment can be just as damaging. It’s amazing as women how quickly being alone with our thoughts leads to rumination and assumptions about what the other partner is thinking. It also leads to feelings of loneliness and alienation.
Obviously there is a big difference between walking away for awhile when an argument gets too heated to let each partner cool down and intentionally not speaking as a punishment. Be careful because one action can morph into the other fairly easily and unintentionally. Let your partner know exactly how much time you need to re-assess and be mindful of your partner if they express the need for some time to think.
Always come together from a place of love and genuinely wanting to work things out. Good relationships are hard work and some parts aren’t pretty. But things are so much easier to work out when you both feel safe and secure with each other. Keep the lines of communication open and you’re half way there.
4. Not a team player
If you’re like me, you’re on your second marriage. But in between the first and second, there was probably a time of being single and fiercely independent. Let’s face it. We had to be. And we figured it out and learned how to do things on our own. We relied on ourselves and did what was best for us and our children.
It’s really hard to transition to being in a couple again. And it is an adjustment. You have to listen and compromise. With your finances, your home, and your vision for the future, if you want it to work. I mean, that is why you picked this person right? To have them by your side as you navigate life? You decided that would be better than going it alone yes?
Then you need to set your priorities straight. Your friends and other family and even yourself, though still important, need to sometimes take a back seat to this new entity: the couple. You’ve chosen this person. Show it with your actions and your words. Nothing strengthens a relationship more than knowing your partner has your back no matter what.
5. Talking to everyone but your spouse
God bless my girlfriends. They’ve got me through many bad times. And I talk to them about literally everything. They are the best therapists money (I) can afford.
And while it’s really awesome to have an independent party to talk to, especially about your partner and your relationship, it can not be a substitute for talking to your spouse. Listen. Men don’t get why we talk to our girlfriends and can feel slighted if they find out we have been talking to our friends about our problems “behind their backs”. Assure your partner that your conversations are not with malice and that your girlfriends are just a sounding board and not to take sides.
By all means, get honest feedback from your girlfriends or a therapist, but keep in mind that your relationship problems will not sort themselves out without tackling them with your spouse. Whether that means between yourselves or with a professional. If you don’t, you will probably be doomed to repeat the same arguments over and over again without resolution. That won’t end well for either of you.
Relationships are hard work. And once you get to our age, it is inevitable that one or both partners will bring with them a certain amount of baggage that you will have to work through together. Bad relationship habits will make that more difficult. Make a conscious effort to work on your own bad habits and the relationship will have a running chance to flourish.