9 common behaviors that are subtly sabotaging your relationship

Are you guilty of any of these behaviors?

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9 common behaviors that could ruin your relationship
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9 common behaviors that could ruin your relationship

Making your cell phone the top priority

We live in a culture where we’re constantly checking our cell phones. But, this obsession comes at a cost, and the casualty of a technology obsession can be your personal relationship. “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 M.D., a psychiatrist in Beverly Hills, California. “Answering your phone 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 says a solution is to turn off your phone when you’re having dinner, being intimate, or doing anything else where your partner expects your full attention. Make sure you know these 9 social media mistakes that could ruin your relationship.

Being jealous 

Jealousy within relationships typically comes down to fear of abandonment and not feeling good enough, says Michele Kerulis, EdD, professor of counseling at Counseling@Northwestern, Northwestern University’s online masters in counseling program. “Jealousy can stem from insecurity, lack of trust, fear of betrayal, low confidence, and can linger from past relationships and life experiences,” Dr. Kerulis says. To smooth over a situation, she suggests talking to your partner about your feelings and concerns. “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, ” suggests Dr. Kerulis. “If you see patterns of feeling jealous throughout your life, whether it is within romantic relationships, friendships, or with family members, it is a good idea to talk with a counselor to process your feelings and to get a better understanding of why jealousy plays a role in your life.” Check out these 17 signs to find out if you’re the toxic one in your relationship.

Nagging and complaining 

A nagging mate can quickly create tension and division. “I suggest practicing the art of holding your tongue, prioritizing, and considering your approach,” says Melanie Ross Mills, PhD., a relationship expert in Dallas. She advises to consider 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, it’s a life discipline to cultivate,” says Dr. Mills. “Seeing the good [he or she does] 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,” she adds. These are the 16 relationship resolutions every couple should make for a happier, healthier life together!

Lacking communication 

Not having an open dialogue or an effective communication system in place can cause feelings of resentment, misunderstanding, hurt, and feeling unappreciated. “Instead of letting the small offenses fester, talk about them when the timing is right,” says Dr. Mills. “Don’t let too much time pass which can cause you to internalize your true feelings. Share with your partner about what is going on with you daily.” These communications skills can help improve the dialogue with your partner.

Losing yourself in the relationship 

It’s common for people to lose their own sense of self if they don’t make an exerted effort to continue to grow, learn, and evolve, says Dr. Mills. “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 your same interests,” 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 you’re confident.” Here are the 19 things every marriage counselor won’t tell you about your relationship.

Fighting with your partner over text message

It’s never fun or desirable to fight with your partner, especially when you are not in the same room, town, or city. “Couples who are in long-distance relationships or couples who just are not in the same vicinity of their partner all the time will most likely engage in text-fighting,” says Gabriella I. Farkas MD, PhD, a psychiatrist at Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine at The Zucker Hillside Hospital in Glen Oaks, New York. “Text-fighting is one of the bad habits that people do that can eventually lead to a downward spiral in a relationship.” She says fighting via text is a terrible way to communicate your feelings for many reasons, including you aren’t 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 emphasize or relay emotion correctly, it’s important to sit back and wait until there is the opportunity to have the conversation face-to face.” Try learning a few tricks from these 7 happy couples who fight fair.

Overstepping social boundaries

Speaking on behalf of your partner can create a sense of resentment. This behavior can be intrusive, because making decisions for you partner can be demeaning, disrespectful and impede a person’s sense of self, says an article in Psychology Today. “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 for us but it undermines our strength and feelings for our partner,” the article says.

Unwilling to try new things

While no one should force themselves to do something they don’t want to do, shutting down the part of ourselves that seeks new experiences and responds to a spark in our partner can drain us of our aliveness and spontaneity, says the same article in Psychology Today. Next, don’t miss these 15 signs your relationship is rock solid.

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The post 9 Common Behaviors That Are Subtly Sabotaging Your Relationship appeared first on Reader's Digest.

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Tips from Tinder’s Dating and Relationships Trend Expert
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Tips from Tinder’s Dating and Relationships Trend Expert

Ask yourself why you’re on the app

Are you looking for marriage, a casual relationship or just a fun dating experience? Once you’ve determined your reason for being there and what you’re looking to get out of the app, you can begin swiping. 

If you have hard dealbreakers, like you don’t plan on having children or you are only looking for something serious, Dr. Sterling suggested leading with that in your bio.

“I know people hesitate to lead with that information because, and the feedback I’ve gotten from my clients in my private practice is that, they don’t want to sound arrogant or like they’re flattering themselves,” she said. “But there’s nothing arrogant or flattering about that. If you indicate in your Tinder bio that you’re not looking for marriage or you are, or you don’t want children or you must have children, then none of your Tinder matches can take that personally. They’re not going to interpret that information as, 'Oh, this person is really into me and thinking too long term.' Because it’s just out there for everybody. So I don’t think you can be forthright with that enough.”

Be smart about how you text

Although there’s technically nothing wrong with starting a conversation with “Hey, how’s it going?”, it doesn’t exactly stand out. On the other hand, cheesy pickup lines often go ignored or worse, get turned into Instagram memes.

Dr. Sterling suggested sticking to your personal style and opening with what feels most authentic to you, like a GIF. “I think a GIF can communicate so much more than just text. I think that they can be done really adorably and they can make you look more vulnerable and open and more emotive than words can,” she said.

Text is obviously the next step to starting a conversation and getting to know your match, but too much text is a no-no.

“Don’t overwhelm your Tinder match with too much communication. Definitely allow space so that they can respond back. People can get really overwhelmed very quickly in a text tsunami situation, so definitely control the urge to text too much,” Dr. Sterling said.

However, every conversation has a tipping point — if you exhaust the conversation, it can often feel like there’s no point in meeting up. So, once you’re pretty sure you're into your match, it’s time to initiate a date. 
Meet up in person

Deciding where to go can also be a pretty intimidating. (Are drinks too casual, but is dinner too serious?) Dr. Sterling suggests straying from the norm and trying a new activity together.

“I would encourage people to engage in activities that they wouldn’t normally engage in that challenge them, because I’m all about personal development and growth,” she said. “You learn a lot about values that way. You know, if the person hasn’t been as forthright as you wish they were in their bio or in their communications about what they’re looking for, you’re going to learn a lot about a person based on their willingness to lean into an activity like that.”

Some examples include taking your date to a cooking class, rock climbing, a salsa club or exploring a new area of the city.

Embrace your first date jitters

If you get nervous before a first date, embrace it (as in, don’t turn to alcohol).

“I think that we need to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and actually use those nerves,” Dr. Sterling said. “I  hate hearing people say, 'Oh, don’t be nervous!' Well, unfortunately we can’t dictate the emotions that we feel, but what we can do is acknowledge that we feel that way and honestly, there’s something really sweet and vulnerable about disclosing [your nerves] to your date.”

So, let your date know you’re a little nervous. If they don’t appreciate your honesty and authenticity, and that’s something that you yourself value (again, know what you’re looking for!), then consider that maybe they’re not the best match for you. Everything you experience on a first date can provide you with insight as to whether or not you and your date are going to be long-term compatible matches.

Ask the right questions and really listen

One way to find out if you and your date could be a long-term match is looking at your common values and principles, not just common interests. 

“In a long-term relationship, both people are going to change over time, "Dr. Sterling said. "But if your values and principles are aligned, if they’re similar, then those changes are going to manifest in ways that remain compatible.”

Although it can be pretty tricky or even intimidating to ask someone about their values on a first date, creative questions can help you get to the root of a person and even help you stand out.

Dr. Sterling gave an example: Say you’re looking for a long-term relationship and you value personal integrity and happiness, and look for depth in a person. Ask them something like, “Would you rather be at a job for 10 years, making half a million dollars a year, but unhappy and unable to quit, or make $25,000 a year and feel completely fulfilled professionally?”

The answer to a question like that is going to provide you with information on whether or not you and your date have similar values and what that person prioritizes in their life.

When asking your questions, however, make sure you’re really listening. Dr. Sterling agreed that sometimes we really want something to work out, so we ignore major signs or red flags.

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