Some relationships are doomed from the start. Not everyone can be your Prince Charming. Some romantic interests were just never lovely people to begin with, and no matter what you do, you’re not successfully negotiating with them. Other times, nobody is a bad guy, but you’re just not compatible.
However, every so often, relationships start entering rough patches because of an attitude problem. Specifically, your attitude problem. Now, having an attitude problem doesn’t automatically mean you’re an evil person. Many times, an attitude that runs contrary to your partner signals a bad habit you picked up when learning to relate to people, and it’s something you can eventually control and overcome. But you can’t fix a problem if you’re not aware it’s a problem. There are some approaches to relationships that may feel acceptable because, from your perspective, you’re not doing anything wrong. Nonetheless, you’re not receiving what you want, which is a harmonious relationship. Here are some inappropriate lines of thinking that could be destroying your relationships.
Endless Negativity and Pride
Constantly picking apart everything about your partner from how they dress, to their career values, to the kinds of jokes they tell at parties is bound to make them wonder if they’ll ever be good enough for you—or anyone, for that matter. You might feel your criticisms are warranted—and, in some cases, they are—or you might believe you’re helping them grow, telling yourself you obviously know something they don’t. But a stream of never-ending discontent, frustration, and unsolicited nitpicking can leave your partner wondering what you’re even doing with them, which can prompt them to re-examine the relationship and question if it’s viable.
Your partner very likely agreed to date you because they wanted to hear all about your life and be in your orbit as much as humanly possible. In other words, they want plenty of communication with you. That means if you’re frequently unresponsive, you shut down when your partner tries to tell you how they feel, you don’t see the point in being open with them or keeping them in the loop, or you run hot and cold—then you’re not making much sense from your partner’s point of view. They’re happy to talk to you, so they expect you to feel the same. If you’re not willing to communicate properly, your partner may question the value of your relationship and where they stand with you.
The Blame Game
When something goes wrong, you might be quick to blame your partner. You didn’t get the promotion because your partner was too distracting. You don’t make a lot of money because your partner has been holding you back. You forgot to pick up eggs because your partner didn’t remind you, and now you can’t make your friend’s birthday cake and you’ll be ruining their special day. While some of your worst days are definitely other people’s responsibility, if you’re finding a thousand ways to blame your partner for mishaps in your life—especially in circumstances when you clearly had a level of control—then your partner is likely to start resenting you.
Selfishness or Codependency
Life gets tough, and sometimes you’ll be so happy to have someone around who seems to care that you won’t try to stop them from being your shoulder to cry on. You’ll be so excited to have someone to talk to and maybe, as a result, you forget when to stop talking and let your partner have the floor. Or maybe you’re a narcissist. We don’t have those answers. Either way, if you have a tendency to make the relationship all about yourself, even to the point where you’re always having a crisis that you expect your partner to clean up, that’s going to burn your partner out as well as make them feel like you don’t care. And a partner who feels burnt out and neglected is going to check out of the relationship in due time.
Taking Your Partner for Granted
When your partner is always around and it doesn’t seem like they’re ever planning to go anywhere, it can be easy to convince yourself they’ll always be a fixture in your life and therefore it’s safe if you don’t continuously act like they’re everything to you. You assume your partner already knows they’re your special someone even when you’re a bit aloof and busy, or you assume they don’t need the same level of attention they needed in the early stages of the relationship. While some longer-term relationships depend on regular intervals of going your own way, not every person feels safe when you’re happy to give them space under the assumption you’ll both pick up where you left off later. It’s important to know your partner’s boundaries. If they’re the sort that requires daily check-ins, they might feel taken for granted if you keep leaving them alone and returning because you believe you’re both on the same page about independence not equalling rejection.
Luke Miles | Staff Writer