Three Toxic Relationship Habits We Mistake As Healthy

Matt Lillywhite

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It’s incredibly difficult to maintain a healthy relationship.

At least, that’s what I used to think. We often find it incredibly easy to criticize our partner when they do something we dislike. But whenever they start getting annoyed at us, we can’t help but wonder why they’re frustrated.

If you’re anything like my past-self, that’s something which has crossed your mind. You can easily recognize when your partner has annoying dating habits that make it difficult to stay in love. But for one reason or another, you have no idea how to tell if you’re also putting strain on the relationship.

So, if you notice yourself displaying any of the following toxic habits, it’s a good idea to eliminate them, so you can quickly improve your relationship for the better.

1. Communicating Way Too Much.

Regularly talking to your partner is a great sign of being in a healthy relationship. However, arguments and other problems can easily arise when the frequency of communication becomes intrusive or incredibly overwhelming. Quoting an article published by Psychology Today:

“Once texting begins, it might not stop. The more texts people receive, the more they feel obligated to text back, creating a cycle of mobile relationship maintenance.”

I found this out the hard way. A few years ago, I was in a relationship with a girl I first met while waiting for a flight at the airport. Everything seemed great at the start.

But as time went by, she got extremely frustrated when I wasn’t texting back immediately, or unable to take phone calls at random times of the day.

Resentment slowly started to build as the constant texting was preventing me from being fully present with my friends, family, and other people that I care about. So within a couple of weeks, I made the decision to end the relationship as her constant need to communicate was overwhelming.

If you’re texting your partner throughout every moment of the day, it might be frustrating for them. So take a few moments to have an honest conversation about the frequency you’d both like to communicate. For example, I’ve found that talking for an hour in the mornings and evenings works pretty well.

At first, it might feel strange to talk less frequently. But when neither of you feels overwhelmed or annoyed by a constant need to communicate, the quality of your relationship will exponentially improve as a result.

2. Relying On Your Partner To Make You Happy.

Of course, your partner should make you feel incredibly special. That goes without saying. But if your self-worth is reliant on their actions and emotions, it can have a hugely detrimental effect on your relationship.

Relying solely on your partner for praise or validation is a recipe for disaster. Because if arguments arise and you stop talking for a while, how will you stay happy? You won’t.

Instead, your level of happiness will quickly decrease. You’ll feel insecure, paranoid, and continually worry that you’re not good enough. After all, your partner won’t be there to give you the affirmation that you desperately crave.

As soon as you get a chance, try and become a little more independent.Find other things that make you happy, and build a support network of people that can help you get through any moments of adversity. Michel de Montaigne said it best:

“The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”

3. Sugar-Coating How You Genuinely Feel.

Don’t be an asshole. That should be obvious. But it’s also essential to make your true feelings known, instead of trying to say something in the nicest way possible. Because unless you tell your partner that there’s a genuine problem, they won’t be able to change their actions and resolve it.

I’ve spent a lot of my life living in several countries around the world. But my favorite is undoubtedly Australia. Why? Because people there don’t feel afraid to tell you exactly what they think. I love the brutal honesty. If you’re an idiot, they’ll tell you. If you say something stupid, they’ll let you know.

That’s a massive contrast to my hometown in the UK. People always go out of their way to be polite and do everything possible to avoid hurting others’ feelings. For example, they’ll say “with the greatest of respect” before giving a mild insult about someone’s behavior. But consequently, people often don’t know there’s a problem when there is one, so it quickly creates a passive-aggressive culture.

I see this all the time in relationships. People are afraid of hurting their partner’s emotions, so they try and avoid being honest about how they genuinely feel. They dance around the problem, or even worse, don’t say anything at all because they’re afraid of confrontation. But as Jenny O’Connell once said:

“Hiding how you really feel and trying to make everyone happy doesn’t make you nice, it just makes you a liar.”

Honesty is a vital element of a relationship. After all, avoiding a problem just makes it worse, as you’re not doing anything to solve it. So whenever you get frustrated with your partner, be honest. Tell them how you feel and provide a solution or alternate way of doing things.

I’m empathetic to the fact that this might be a difficult behavior and mindset shift to make. But when you’re completely honest with your partner during every conversation, it’ll be much easier to resolve arguments whenever they arise.

So every day, ask yourself: “What actions can I take right now to eliminate any bad habits, and significantly improve the quality of my relationship?”

That’s all you need to do.

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