We might be taught all sorts of things at school, but life skills certainly aren’t one of these. Sure, you might know Pythagoras’s theorem off by heart, but what about the true ways to treat your other half?
Unfortunately, these are just things that we tend to pick up. It’s probably because of this reason that most of us start to become engaged in some toxic habits that can really sour a relationship and eventually, make it end.
Most couples don’t even realize they are carrying out these habits, but in the background they are eating away and causing all sorts of problems. Sure, once upon a time you may have been able to take a leaf out of the book of mom and dad but nowadays, with divorces on the rise, it’s becoming increasingly the case that you can’t turn to such examples.
We’ll now take a look at some of the worst offenders, to hopefully help you improve your relationship once and for all.
Jealousy – but the “loving” type
We all know that jealousy isn’t a good thing (at least we should do), but sometimes it can feel as though certain “types” of it are OK. For example, if you or your partner communicates (by talking or texting) or just hangs out with someone else. Sure, the jealousy might come through the “fear of losing someone” – but it’s not acceptable regardless.
Nowadays, this form of jealousy comes in even more advanced forms, with hacking into their Facebook account or sneakily looking at their text messages being two common “crimes”.
At this stage, do we really need to explain how it’s toxic? It’s not normal in the slightest and while one partner might think that it’s a way of displaying affection, in short it’s not and it’s controlling. In fact, some countries have started to develop laws to guard against it.
In summary, it’s a trust issue. If you don’t trust each other to be around other people, there are more deep-lying problems to contend with. Sure, you might experience “some” jealousy, but that’s all it should be. If it turns towards the controlling-type, you need to take action. Just start to try and trust each other, and see where it goes. Otherwise, you’ll grow apart.
Buying your way out of problems
This is perhaps one of the more interesting habits we’ll look over and it’s something which is becoming more and more common.
In simple terms, if you do experience any sort of conflict in your relationship – there’s only one way out. You, or your partner, will buy something for the other party and effectively try and paper over the cracks.
While it might bring instant good feelings, it doesn’t solve the problem which caused the initial conflict. Its dusting the problem under the carpet, where it waits ready to pounce for another occasion.
Not only this, but other problems can suffice. The partner who always buys something will always have this “get out clause” – and will never be truly accountable for problems. On the flip side, the “receiving partner” can subconsciously start to find problems to prompt more gifts.
Well, the solution here is simple and again revolves around communication. Talk about the problem and try and sort it the traditional way.
The dropping hints approach
It sounds completely innocent – and when we talk about it we seem to do so in a completely lighthearted way. However, next time you or your partner starts to drop hints, it’s time to stop and change your approach.
The idea is simple; you won’t directly say what you desire – you will just hint and hope that your partner eventually works it out. Most of the time this will result in one of you not directly stating what’s on your mind, and you’ll resort to tactics which provoke the other party.
Hopefully, you’ve already worked out while this is hugely toxic. Put simply, it means that you just don’t have the ability to communicate in an open manner between each other. You shouldn’t have a reason to drop hints – you should feel safe in the knowledge that you can express your feelings without judgement or criticism. At the same time, there will be occasions where your partner should potentially know a problem, long before you’ve had the chance to drop a hint.
So, what’s the advice? Unsurprisingly, you’ve just got to be more open. At the same time, your partner has to always be open to offer support – it’s a two-way thing.
The break-up threat
This is something that most of you will have probably experienced and is something that can signal the beginning of the end of a relationship. Like a lot of the problems in our guide, this is something which stems from a lack of proper communication – whereby two partners don’t really know how to solve their problems.
On this occasion, one partner will tend to voice a threat about breaking up through a conflict, or just a minor disagreement. We should highlight that these threats don’t come through the real, major arguments – but ones over the simple things that are pretty insignificant.
It might via an outright threat to break up, or through a more subtle approach such as saying that they “can’t date someone who does x, y z”. Regardless, it still has the same toxic effects and is a form of emotional blackmail.
When this starts to occur, every conflict is a crisis. It means that there’s never a small argument and can result in you or your partner suppressing feelings in a bid to avoid the threat.
So, how can you move on from this? At this point it’s worth understanding exactly what forms a relationship. It’s worth understanding that you’re not going to like every possible thing about your partner, but you will still be committed to them. They will annoy you, you will annoy them – but this happens in all good relationships. The bad relationships are those in which partners can’t communicate effectively; such as in the above scenario.
Living in the past
It’s always good to live with a sense of nostalgia, but not if you’re tracking your partners every move. In other words, keeping track of their mistakes and reminding them is a sure-fast way to a toxic relationship. In the end, it becomes a battle to see who owes the other partner more and suffice to say, this is only going to end in one way.
Additionally, this is a vicious circle. Once you start doing it, your partner will usually start to play you at your own game.
Not only does this problem mean that you start to put incredible focus on both of your bad points, but it creates real feelings of guilt and bitterness as well.
In the end, you’ve got to try and treat situations completely individually. Move on from events, and don’t look back.
Unless two situations are linked somewhat, they should never be brought up. You are in a committed relationship and as part of this, you have agreed to live with whatever has happened in the past. If you can’t do this, then you probably should have dealt with it earlier, but more to the point you’re probably never going to be truly happy with that person.