Updated 5 months ago

5 relationship habits most people don’t recognize as toxic

Popular culture has created or encouraged a lot of relationship “norms” that shouldn’t exist, but continue on. Some of these have become so commonplace that we don’t recognize how damaging they are and continue to use them because we believe it’s the best way to handle the situation. Over time, our habits deteriorate the relationship, and we end up bitter and frustrated.

Below are 5 of the most common counterproductive ways of thinking that sabotage our relationships, and why they’re so toxic:

1. Using the relationship as an ultimatum: When we get into arguments with our partners, things can get heated. A toxic behavior that often happens when arguing is threatening one’s commitment to the relationship. This means saying things like, “Well, if you’re so sick of it, then why don’t you break up with me?” or “I can’t be with someone who always acts like a jerk.”
This is toxic because it creates the feeling that even the most minor disagreements could result in the termination of your relationship entirely. This leads to people not feeling comfortable enough to say what they’re truly feeling or thinking.

2. Dropping “hints” and other passive-aggression: Instead of stating a desire or thought overtly, your partner tries to nudge you in the right direction of figuring it out yourself. Instead of saying what’s actually upsetting you, you find small and petty ways to piss your partner off so you’ll then feel justified in complaining to them. This shows that you two are not comfortable communicating openly and clearly with one another. A person has no reason to be passive-aggressive if they feel safe expressing any anger or insecurity within the relationship. A person will never feel a need to drop “hints” if they feel like they won’t be judged or criticized for it.

3. Over-protection and jealousy mean they just love you a lot: We’re often taught from a young age that being overprotective or displaying jealousy is a result of someone “caring too much” for us. They just can’t help themselves. They love us so much that they act irrational sometimes. These displays show that our partner loves us more than anyone and is only trying to protect us. Someone’s inability to control their irrational thoughts should never be taken as a sign of true love. Your partner can help themselves, no matter how much they insist that it’s an uncontrollable gut reaction to someone doing something as innocent as having a conversation with you. if you’re the one being overprotective, recognize that it’s not out of love, but out of some other problem that you’re neglecting.

4. Making up with your partner with a gift or special trip to show you care: You’re not literally trying to buy their love/forgiveness, you’re showing them how much you care about them. It will let them know that everything is back to normal and that even though you were kind of mean before, you’re going to be really nice and take them out to a fancy restaurant to prove that you care. If your partner is still upset with you, no gift or gesture will truly solve the root of the problem if it’s not related. Buying them that thing they need or surprising them with a weekend beach trip sounds like a good idea, but they don’t need to just be put in a good mood, they need the conflict truly resolved.

5. Shifting negative emotions onto your partner: When we’re having a bad day, we tend to rely on our partners for support. When we don’t get that support, sometimes we take it the wrong way. You take their lack of noticing how bad you’re feeling as them being insensitive, even though you’ve made no effort to tell them how bad your day was. Don’t get upset with them because you’re in a bad mood and they’re not jumping at the opportunity to fix it. Both people need to be responsible for their own emotions. Constantly relying on the other’s validation and support builds codependency, and before you know it, both of your lives revolve entirely around making sure the other is emotionally stable.

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