Feel like you’re going through a rut in your relationship, both emotionally and physically? Or do you want to make your relationship better and keep that spark going even after decades together? To bring awareness and help you reflect on your relationship, here are six common toxic habits you or your significant other may have that can be detrimental to the health and happiness of your relationship:
Part of any successful, long-term relationship is an open and honest communication. Over time, as you get to know how each other's ticks or understand each other’s reactions to certain triggers, you may be more inclined to not share as much about your life or yourself with your significant other because you don’t want to create tension in your relationship.
But is that a good basis for a healthy relationship?
Most of the time, it isn’t because you don’t feel like yourself. When you’re in a mutual romantic relationship with someone else, one of the priorities to ensure your happiness in the relationship is to know that you’re being yourself and not tip-toeing around the other to avoid fights and explosive arguments.
Some of the common side effects that come with limited communication or avoiding certain discussions (simply because you’re afraid of your partner’s reactions) include not having a deeper connection with your lover; misunderstanding or assuming false thoughts/beliefs about your partner; not being fully happy together; holding grudges; and having unresolved problems.
For example, let’s say your spouse is sensitive to critique despite the feedback you give them is only to help improve their behavior and overall happiness. But if they take feedback too personally and hold a grudge, which is recalled in future fights, you may be more inclined to avoid giving them feedback or ways to improve themselves.
It’s important to grow individually and together to help better your relationship and your own lives.
However, if you end up deciding to not bring up feedback and don’t see any improvements in your partner and the relationship, you may end up resenting them and feeling closed off or less connected.
You may also end up enabling toxic behavior and habits your significant other has, which will only cause more stress in your partnership.
Evaluate your relationship and see where you can improve communication. Here are some questions about typical negative communication habits and patterns that may be affecting your relationship to help get your thinking gears going:
- Are you doing anything to coddle your partner or enable any toxic/negative behaviors?
- Are you and your partner open-minded and calm when you’re discussing serious, personal, and challenging topics? Or do you or your significant other take things personally and end up fighting every time?
- Do you often make assumptions about your partner or vice versa and end up misunderstanding or distrusting each other?
- Do you and your partner have the same argument appear time after time? If so, have you tried to figure out the root of the problem?
- Do you or your lover commit ineffective actions that affect your relationship? For example, holding grudges, using the silent treatment/cold shoulder treatment, blaming each other for your personal emotions/problems, etc.
- Are you or your partner passive-aggressive when communicating with each other? For instance, you drop hints and want your partner to figure things out.
- Do you have trouble sharing your sexual fantasies or desires with your partner?
- Do you or your significant other have unrealistic expectations of each other?
- Do you or your partner tend to cover up real problems with superficial means such as buying materialistic items to appease the other if they’re angry?
The Harm of Technology
In a world of smartphones, tablets, Netflix, and Twitter, we have more distractions than ever before (compared to previous generations) that take us away from what’s most important in our lives.
Is that crazy Tweet from so-and-so that urgent for you to reply to right now, or can you walk away and focus on what makes you happy instead like your relationship with your spouse?
Why not record that TV show you love and spend quality time with your boyfriend/girlfriend instead?
There are countless ways for you to change your relationship by simply reducing the amount of time you waste on social media, TV, etc.
A common habit some people in relationships have is to take their relationship public on social media sites and share all the nitty-gritty details of their relationship to others.
If this is a habit you have, it’s time to set boundaries on what you share on your social media profile. When you have multiple people giving you input on your relationship, you can get confused or even influenced to make decisions based on what others tell you.
They’re not even in the relationship with you and your partner, so why allow others into your personal business or let them dictate how you should act? It’s vital for you and your significant other to set boundaries and rules about your relationship to make sure it runs successfully.
Social media and technology can take a toll if used in a way that will impact your relationship negatively.
Lack of Affection
Holding hands, massaging your husband’s or wife’s shoulders after a long day, having a good, long kiss during the day–do you maintain physical contact or flirting when you can with your partner regularly?
Having that physical connection, flirting, and showing affection frequently helps you maintain that special spark you two share.
Plus, you increase your chances of more sexual encounters with your partner when there’s more touching and flirting involved in your days.
Laughing and having fun helps lighten the mood and create a more positive environment. Over time, some couples may lose that fun factor, and that can contribute to a failing relationship.
On the other hand, perhaps you and your partner are having too much quality time and need to have your space from each other. Something to think about in case you do show plenty of affection and love toward each other. (Some couples even find that having separate bedrooms is beneficial in keeping them from wanting to kill the other!)
Neglecting Overall Health
Do you have insecurities about how you look that may be affecting your relationship? Or are you suffering from depression without getting the help you need and distancing yourself from your significant other? We’re human.
We go through ups and downs in our lives and witness others going through the ebbs and flows of life, too, which can be challenging for us if we see our loved ones changing for the worse due to obstacles in their life. If you’re not maintaining your emotional, mental, and physical health and applying solutions to any issues you have, your personal challenges can overlap into your relationship and bring it down, too, making you and your partner unhappy.
Keep Your Bedroom Private
If the bedroom is where the magic happens, it needs to be kept as your private space for you and your significant other to connect with each other emotionally and physically.
Turning it into a workspace or a second family room where your kids love to hang out in can change the atmosphere and make your bedroom less personal to you both. If you have kids, make it a household rule to not let kids sleep in the bed with you and your partner; if your child needs you, go to their room instead.
Designate specific rooms for certain purposes and maintain the space that is only for you and your partner.
Bringing Up The Past
Whether it’s your significant other’s past relationships or previous arguments and grudges you have, bringing up the past and using it as a weapon against each other never ends well, especially if the past is being used as a way to control, blackmail or manipulate each other. Realize when you can let things go and forgive.
Focus on what’s happening now in your relationship and any present problems you have that need to be resolved in order to have a better future together.
However, if there is a recurring problem in your relationship — that will require having serious discussions with your partner and solutions in place to help rectify the issue and stop that toxic pattern.
2-Minute Article Summary
Actions you take and habits you have may be affecting you and your relationship negatively. Here are six common toxic habits you may be committing that are harming your relationship:
- Not communicating enough to ensure mutual understanding;
- Being too involved in technology and social media and letting it overtake your life instead of focusing on your relationship;
- Lack of affection and laughter or spending too much time together and not having enough “alone time”;
- Slacking on your own emotional, mental, and physical health which can affect your self-confidence and overall happiness;
- Not having a separate space that is specifically for you and your partner;
- Using the past to control or manipulate the other when it isn’t relevant to the present.