All is fair in love and war, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s healthy. When it comes to love, a lot of our relationship habits end up being incredibly toxic. Here are 10 seemingly normal relationship habits that hurt more than they help.
Stonewalling is refusing to communicate about an issue or express thoughts and feelings surrounding a particular subject. This can manifest itself in perpetually sweeping things under the rug especially major differences in opinion that affect your daily lives as a couple.
Don’t get me wrong— Taking a quick walk or break to collect your emotions and thoughts during the heat of the moment is a great idea. However, this should always be done under the promise to reconnect and express your concerns in a hopefully constructive discussion later on.
Ignoring issues or giving someone the cold shoulder doesn’t make issues goes away— It only makes them more volatile and builds resentment. You can’t read your partner’s mind, so don’t expect them to read yours either.
2. Obsessing Over Texts
Strangely enough, being over digitally connected can damage your IRL connection. While it’s important to set aside a couple of minutes every day to truly connect and listen to one another, obsessing over text messages (or the lack thereof) isn’t healthy.
Speak to your partner about your texting habits and try to find a “check-in” agreement that works for both of you. Or, you can save up your stories by writing down things to share with your partner in your notes app. That way, you can still both enjoy your time apart, but you’ll remember everything you wanted to tell them when you reconnect later.
Giving your partner undistracted time on their own gives them the chance to miss you and truly invest interest whenever you’re actually together.
3. Using Social Media To Validate Your Relationship
Who doesn’t love an adorable #goals photo? While the occasional picture together only seems natural, be careful not to document every aspect of your relationship. Constantly posting lavish public displays of affection can put a lot of unnecessary pressure on the relationship.
4. Depending On Your Partner To Fix Your Emotional Issues
The only one who has the power to change your feelings and thought patterns is you. While your partner can certainly be supportive, they are not responsible for your happiness, nor should they be.
5. Having Regular Big Blow Out Fights
Intense passion doesn’t equate to having a healthy relationship. If you and your partner are constantly in a cycle of high highs and low lows, it may be time to reevaluate the health of your relationship as a whole.
In addition, you and your partner should be able to fight fair— That means truly listening to each other, validating feelings that you don’t necessarily share, and creating action plans to improve as a couple. Name-calling, yelling, saying harsh things that you “don’t mean”, etc. simply isn’t acceptable.
While it may take some time for you to iron out a productive way of resolving conflict, you both need to work to do so. Don’t forget that you can always reach out to a counselor or therapist to help you resolve your issues in a fair, balanced way.
6. Spending Every Waking Second Together
You and your partner probably spend a lot of time together if you’re in a committed, romantic relationship. While quality time is important for maintaining your connection, it’s important that you and your partner continue to pursue your individual goals and interests.
After all, you fell in love with one another due to your unique dreams and desires. Spending time apart gives you time to reflect on your relationship and come back as a stronger, well-balanced couple.
Moreover, be sure that you have a support network outside of your romantic partner. At the very least, have 2 to 3 friends or family members who you could call on a bad day.
7. Admiring Jealousy
Having jealous tendencies is not “cute”. It doesn’t mean that your partner “loves you so much that they don’t want to share”. Rather, it’s an indicator that your partner is somewhat insecure and has room to improve.
You and your partner should feel comfortable talking to one another about your feelings, good and bad. While some level of jealousy may be natural, when it starts dictating how you act around one another, it’s incredibly unhealthy.
8. Not Communicating About Physical Intimacy
Talking about sex and physical intimacy can be incredibly difficult and awkward but it’s vital to the health of your relationship. Physically intimate acts can also be deeply emotionally intimate, so it’s important to check-in with one another on a regular basis to make sure that everyone’s needs are met in full.
In addition, you shouldn’t just talk about ways to make your partner feel safe and secure— Don’t forget to have a conversation centered entirely around pleasure. Physical intimacy only gets better when you choose to open up a dialogue with your loved one.
9. Keeping Score
As tempting as it may be to have a tit-for-tat relationship, maintaining such an even balance on a regular basis can be incredibly exhausting, not to mention unhealthy. Instead, you and your partner will likely go through periods where one person is taking on more responsibilities than the other. This position should shift back and forth between the two of you, but try not to hyperfocus on small, day to day discrepancies.
You can always communicate with your partner about which chores or tasks they would rather do. That way, you can each manage your own domains without having to worry about the other.
10. Not Having An Escape Plan
Some people believe that “planning” for a break-up or signing a prenuptial agreement invalidates the basis of a relationship. While obviously you hope to stay together, crafting an “escape plan” before following through with a major life milestone like moving in together or getting married is important.
This way, you can both feel as secure as possible in a worst-case scenario. It also reminds you not to take your partner for granted— Signing a lease or acquiring a ring does not mean that you should stop putting in effort with your partner.
Seeing anything familiar? If you experience any of these actions within your relationship, it may be time to take a step back and figure out the best way for you to grow as a couple. There is always room for improvement.