Bad habits are aptly named for the fact that they tend to cause problems for ourselves and those around us. While little bad habits like nail biting and chewing with your mouth open can be annoying at the very least, some bad habits can actually have devastating effects on our relationships.
The nature of habits is that they’re repetitive behaviors. One bad act can be forgivable and easy to ignore, but repeatedly doing something disruptive, no matter how small, can put a crack in your relationship that eventually grows with each repetition. More often than not, people only learn how destructive their bad habit can be when the damage is already too glaring to ignore.
18 bad habits that can ruin your relationship
What are the bad habits that have the most devastating effects on a relationship? Here are 18 of the worst ones.
#1 Treating your partner like a project. Constantly trying to change your partner and mold them into the person you want them to be is a toxic habit that could destroy your relationship. Think about how you would feel if your partner was doing the same to you. It’s a selfish motive to stay in a relationship with the belief that you can change your partner into someone else. [Read: 12 signs you’re being selfish in your relationship]
#2 Making your fights public. By neglecting to keep your arguments within a private sphere, you are embarrassing yourself and your partner, in addition to drawing unwanted negative attention onto your relationship. Not only will this not solve whatever it is you’re fighting about, but your partner could become completely repulsed by this childish behavior and decide to leave you.
#3 Criticizing close friends and family. Regardless of how irritating family and friends can sometimes be, when you criticize your partner’s friends and family, you are also criticizing your partner. A partner who feels like you are constantly bashing their loved ones may grow to resent you.
These people have been in your partner’s lives for a while and are likely not going anywhere, so you might as well learn to like them *or at least tolerate them*. [Read: 8 ways to be less critical of the people around you]
#4 Too much PDA. The only people who are fans of public displays of affection are the ones engaging in it. When a couple is ignorantly making out in public, it’s easy to forget that no one else really wants to see you sucking each other’s faces.
Some partners feel the need to be affectionate in public in order to show other people that their partner is taken and in love. However, being insensitive about the people around you can cause your partner to feel conscious and awkward, and possibly even resentful of the unwanted attention from others.
#5 Prolonging an argument. Dragging an argument out even longer than it has to be is seriously just a waste of time. This is when you’ve already discussed everything about a prior argument and nothing is left on the table, but your partner constantly wants to rehash it all over again. This is simply unnecessary and doesn’t help the relationship move forward. [Read: 23 do’s and don’ts of relationship arguments]
#6 Holding grudges. People make mistakes, and this is no different in relationships. Holding on to every little mistake your partner has made and being unable to forgive will only exhaust your partner and ruin your relationship. When your partner has apologized, and the two of you have talked it through, make sure you forgive them. Otherwise, let the person go if the mistake was too hurtful to move past.
#7 Avoiding important conversations. When you know there’s an important issue to be discussed but you avoid it, you are only giving your partner more reasons to feel uneasy about you and the situation in general. Sometimes, if someone doesn’t clear the air, one partner will spend too much time thinking that the other one doesn’t care. This can cause an even bigger blowout, and might even be the kiss of death for your relationship. [Read: 9 tips for dealing with a non-confrontational partner]
#8 Keeping score of your partner’s mistakes. Relationships aren’t a game, so there’s no need for a scoreboard to tell you how many times you were right. Doing this is a sign that you can’t get over all the times your partner has wronged you, even though the issue has already been resolved and dropped.
#9 Comparing your partner to your ex. Sometimes, it can’t be helped, but even then, it shouldn’t be something you would openly do. Constantly comparing your current partner to your ex is a glaring sign that you’re not over your ex.
And if your partner knows that you’re always making mental comparisons, they’ll start to feel like they can’t be allowed to be themselves since the shadow of your oh-so-perfect ex haunts your relationship. [Read: 10 signs your past relationship is holding you back]
#10 Initiating important discussions at the worst possible times. It’s not really an ideal scenario to come home to after a long stressful day at work to a heavy discussion about bills piling up or something equally stressful. Doing this will only serve to stress your partner out even more, which can then turn your discussion into an argument.
#11 Invading their privacy. Everyone’s privacy should be respected. If you feel the need to stalk your partner or invade their privacy, your partner has every right to feel disrespected. Keep in mind that if you sneakily try to look into what your partner is up to due to a lack of trust, you’re also betraying their trust by doing so behind their back. [Read: The right way to love someone without smothering them]
#12 Blowing things out of proportion. There’s no reason to cause a scene if your partner simply left the lights on or forgot to put the toilet seat down. If you always blow up at any little annoyance, your partner will not be able to tell the difference between when you’re just irritated and really upset. Plus, they will start to get tired of trying to placate you for every tiny issue.
#13 Letting jealousy override clear judgement. When your jealousy overcomes your rational judgements and causes you to fly off the handle, your partner may resort to keeping secrets from you just to avoid a jealous outburst. [Read: 6 little ways to stop being so jealous in a relationship]
#14 Letting yourself go. While it’s fine to sometimes walk around in sweats and a baggy shirt, you should still take the time to look nice for your partner every once in a while. If all your partner ever sees is your unkempt appearance and your general disregard for hygiene, they may start to question why they were even attracted to you in the first place. [Read: How to be the sexy wife of your husband’s dreams]
#15 Needing to be together 24/7. In any relationship, it’s nice to want be around your partner all the time, but not when it’s so suffocating that both of you are practically conjoined at the hip. Having some space in a relationship helps to build a healthy independence and gives your partner time to miss you. [Read: How to stop being so needy and insecure]
#16 Constantly telling white lies. A little white lie about something completely inconsequential is fine from time to time, especially if it’s about something that doesn’t affect your partner in the slightest. However, always telling white lies to avoid an argument will only serve to break your partner’s trust when they find out about your lies.
#17 Not saying what’s on your mind. Neglecting to voice your needs and then berating your partner for not meeting them is a horrible habit. This passive aggressive behavior will only make your partner paranoid about not knowing and giving you what you want, and in turn, you’ll end up resenting them even more. It’s a vicious cycle that won’t get you anywhere.
#18 Not appreciating your partner. If you always neglect your partner’s need for appreciation and praise, you are starving them of a basic need in a relationship. No one wants to feel taken for granted, and if you never show your partner your appreciation for what they do for you, they may just stop bothering to try to please you. [Read: 25 ways to make your lover feel really appreciated and cared for]
Bad habits can do more than just annoy your partner. Some of these common slip ups can drive your relationship into the deep end. By recognizing and addressing these toxic behaviors in a relationship, you’ll have a better chance at making your relationship last for the long haul.
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