8 common behaviours that can sabotage your relationship

Published: April 6, 2017


Even when your partner is your top priority, sometimes, they might not feel that way. As compiled from Reader’s Digest, here are nine common behaviours that could damage your relationship slowly and gradually – so beware of these relationship villains!

Making your cell phone the top priority

We already acknowledge our habit of constantly checking the phones but this obsession comes at a cost. “The most prevalent habit that sinks relationships is keeping your cell phone on, and looking at it every time it makes a noise while you’re with your partner,” says Carole Lieberman a psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, California. “Answering it is even worse than just looking at text messages or emails, and this tells your partner that they are not as important as whoever else is trying to reach you.”

Dr Lieberman suggests turning off your phone when you’re doing anything else that your partner expects your full attention for.

Being jealous

Jealousy within relationships typically comes down to fear of abandonment and insecurity, says Michele Kerulis, professor of counseling at Northwestern University. “Jealousy can stem from insecurity, lack of trust, fear of betrayal, low confidence and can linger from past relationships and life experiences,” Dr Kerulis adds. “Take the time to have a conversation with your partner about specific situations that made you feel jealous and explain why you believe you felt that way,” she suggests. “If you see patterns of feeling jealous throughout your life, it is a good idea to talk with a counselor to process your feelings and to get a better understanding.”

Nagging and complaining

A nagging mate can lead to unnecessary tension and division. “I suggest practicing the art of holding your tongue, prioritising and considering your approach,” says Melanie Ross Mills, a relationship expert in Dallas. She advises waiting until a good time to discuss what is bothering you, instead of nagging.

“Be patient if he or she is not ready when you are to discuss the matter. Ask them to let you know when a good time might be. You can circle back then, instead of nagging and complaining,” Dr Mills says.

Acting ungrateful

It can be challenging to appreciate the small things in your partner but you have to try. “This is a life discipline to cultivate,” says Dr Mills. “Seeing the good in them will help. I suggest making a conscious effort to thank your partner for the small things: from putting the cap back on to earning an honest living with hard work, from taking out the trash to helping prepare dinner for the family.”

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Lacking communication

Not having effective communication system can cause resentment, misunderstanding, hurt, and insecurity. “Talk about the small offenses when the timing is right,” says Dr Mills. “Don’t let too much time pass. Share with your partner about what is going on with you daily.”

Losing yourself in the relationship

It’s common to lose your sense of self if you don’t make an effort to grow, learn, and evolve. “Don’t forget to have your own life. Make time to do things that fulfill you instead of waiting for your partner to get interested in them,” she advises. “Believe it or not, this actually makes you more attractive. You contribute to the relationship dynamic because you have interests, you’re interesting and confident.”

Fighting over text messages

It’s never fun or desirable to fight with your partner, especially when you are not in the same room, town, or city. “Couples in long-distance relationships will most likely engage in text-fighting,” says Gabriella I Farkas a psychiatrist in Glen Oaks, New York. “Text-fighting is one of the bad habits that people do that can eventually lead to a downward spiral.”

She says this is a terrible way to communicate your feelings for many reasons, such as you cannot be sure how your partner is reacting. “So, you will keep texting incessantly even if something that has been said hurts the partner’s feelings,” Dr Farkas says. “Instead of fighting via text, where there is no way to emphasise or relay emotion correctly, it’s important to sit back and wait until there is the opportunity to have the conversation face-to face.”

Overstepping social boundaries

Speaking on behalf of your partner can create resentment too. This behaviour is intrusive, demeaning, disrespectful and can impede one’s sense of self. “Without noticing it, we may be intrusive or controlling toward our partner, acting in a manner that is disrespectful or demeaning to the other person’s sense of self. When this happens, it not only hurts our partner and his or her feelings but undermines our strength and feelings for them,” claims an article in Psychology Today.

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