Sometimes, two people are not meant to be together. Misery generally ensues in this scenario, and the couple eventually splits in dramatic fashion. Other times, two people are great together except when they’re not, due to the bad habits of one or both halves of the partnership. Are you guilty of sabotaging the odds of success with your significant other? Keep reading to find out.
1. Fixating on “Should”s
We bet you do this—we know we’re guilty of it, anyway. Instead of celebrating the uniquely beautiful dynamic of your relationship, you fixate on all the ways in which it falls short of what you think it “should” be. For example, you “should” be closer to marriage. Your partner “should” earn more money than you do. The two of you “should” fight less, and on and on it goes.
2. Worrying about the opinions of others
If all of your friends hate your significant other, that’s probably a red flag, but ultimately no one knows what’s best for you but you. If you are constantly worrying about what other people think of your relationship, you will drown out your own internal compass, which knows best.
3. Not acknowledging the validity of feelings
Two people may not see eye to eye on something, but that doesn’t mean that either person’s feelings about that thing aren’t valid. Even if you don’t understand the “why” of someone’s feelings, you must always acknowledge the validity of their emotions. For example, rather than saying, “You shouldn’t be upset,” you could say, “I don’t understand why you’re upset, but I respect your feelings and right to express them regardless.”
4. Trying to change the other person
People do change over time, and someone who isn’t working on themselves continuously probably isn’t someone you want to be with long-term. That said, fundamental traits are not going to change, so instead of trying to make them become someone they’re not, you’d be better off dating someone who doesn’t possess the undesirable-to-you traits to begin with. For example, if your partner is an introvert and you keep trying to force them to be extroverted, all that will result is resentment on both sides. Instead, go find an extrovert to date (or a neat freak, or a high-earner or whatever it is you need to be happy) and leave your current partner free to find someone who will appreciate them as they are.
5. Harboring resentment
On that note, building up resentment over perceived slights and offenses is a surefire way to cause your relationship to eventually implode. Healthy couples air grievances as they come up so they can work out individual kinks in a less dramatic fashion than is possible after months (or years) of build-up.
6. Keeping score
We see this in couples all the time: One person keeps tabs on what they do for the other and then compares that “score” against what their partner has in turn done for them. This is not a healthy habit, as the give and take in a relationship should ideally feel more free and natural, and not like a competition for the prize of most generous.
This post originally appeared June 7, 2017, on The Zoe Report.