There are many things we can do to make relationships better but conversely the opposite is also true and we may be doing things that are in fact making the relationship worse without us realising it.
Author of Should I Stay or Should I Go? Surviving a Relationship With a Narcissist, Dr. Ramani Durvasula says that relationships typically don’t end over one big thing, but rather lots of little things that slowly bleed it to death.
Since little things don’t seem like a big deal it’s easy to let them go until they pile up and become something huge that feels impossible to change.
“In some ways, the bad habits weaken the foundation of a relationship, leave people feeling more vulnerable, less invested, more full of self-doubt and more likely to surrender or less able to collaborate when under stress,” she says.
Here are some things that you can avoid doing or make a mental note to do less of:
- Being on the phone all the time
Even if it’s a work thing splitting your time between work and your partner all the time can make them feel like neglected.
Marriage counselor and family therapist David Klow says, “It can help to either be all present with your partner or let them know that you can talk once you are off your phone.”
You can say something like ‘I have to take this call but after that you will have my full attention.’
- Jokes in public at your partners expense
It’s easy sometimes to laugh at each other’s foibles in private but doing it in public is a huge no-no even if it’s couched as a joke. Do not joke about the new haircut, the new diet or anything that might be considered hurtful by your partner in public or among friends.
- Don’t keep score even if you don’t say it out loud
Do not keep track of the rights and wrongs and how many times your partner has ticked you off. Let it go because it’s just going to fast track you to misery.
“Counting the rights and wrongs that each person does can cause pettiness and resentment,” says Klow. Instead his advice is to take a long term view and see that over time, the give and take may balance itself out.
- You’re passive-aggressive
Passive aggressive behaviour in a relationship reflects indirect communication and a fair amount of unhappiness that challenges your self-esteem and insecurity. Durvasula classifies it as a ‘relationship killer’.
- Do not start arguments over text messages
Text messages cannot be interpreted well as it does not reflect any emotion and can easily be misconstrued. Stay well away from stating your feelings over text when you can have face to face contact and a real conversation.
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