Everyone wants a happy, healthy relationship. They do everything they can to keep love alive, keep the romance going, and ensure longevity. They might take on habits and actions that they deem to be helpful in ensuring a positive relationship.
But lots of toxic habits and behaviors are normalized and even romanticized, and it’s important to be able to tell them apart from truly positive habits. Luckily, if you are able to spot them, you can stop them from taking over you and your partner before it’s too late.
Here Are 6 Toxic Relationship Habits To Never Ignore
1. Using The Relationship As Leverage
There are a number of ways someone might use a relationship as leverage, but for the most part, they all involve threatening a break-up over some form of conflict or disagreement. This is a form of emotional and psychological blackmail, making it a highly abusive and toxic type of behavior. Here are some phrases a person doing so might use:
- I can’t date a person who prioritizes their work over their family.
- If you go on that trip, we’re through.
- I don’t want to be with someone who can be so inattentive.
One quibble or disagreement shouldn’t be a reason to threaten the entire relationship. A partner who uses your desire to keep a relationship together against you is seeking to gain high ground. They are not interested in proper communication or problem-solving – they just want to “win,” and this kind of attitude is extremely detrimental to a couple.
If you or your partner engage in this type of behavior, it’s time to focus on communication and compromise instead of cutting and running at the first sign of trouble. It’s important to understand that loving someone and being 100% committed to them doesn’t mean you’re going to like or agree with everything they do. Go for feedback and discussion instead of judgemental reactiveness.
2. Beating Around The Bush
Direct communication is very important in ensuring a healthy, positive relationship, but that doesn’t stop a lot of people from neglecting it, especially when they are angry or upset. Here are some ways someone might beat around the bush with their partner.
· Dropping Hints
Dropping hints is a surefire way to get misconstrued or misunderstood. Many people do this in order to avoid being judged or sounding cruel. There’s a difference between stating something in a gentle, tactful manner and completely confusing the other person by hedging around the real issue.
Don’t nudge someone in the right direction; kindly tell them what the issue is and what you need them to do. Be direct about it. You can be firm without being mean!
· Passive Aggression
Passive aggression is rooted in emotional manipulation and mind games that don’t actively solve the problem. It involves a refusal to deal with the problem maturely, instead seeking to “win” or get your way by guilt-tripping the other person.
The correct way to deal with a problem is to have a discussion about it. Passive aggression will only hurt the other person.
· Silent Treatment
This is the opposite of good communication, as it involves no communication at all. Plus, it’s highly emotionally toxic. It’s almost a form of guilt-tripping and it closes off all opportunity for discussion.
If you need time to be quiet and collect your thoughts, tell your partner that you need it. Don’t just fall silent and walk around huffing and giving them the cold shoulder – it’s non-productive and mean.
If you or your partner tend to beat around the bush in your relationship, figure out why that happens. Is there a fear of confrontation? Does one of you tend to lash out at the other? Are there deeper issues at work? Communication is crucial to a relationship’s survival – don’t discount it!
3. Buying Peace
Conversations and discussion are difficult – we know this. Sometimes, if an argument has been going on for too long, partners may attempt to “buy” peace instead of solving the issue. Here are some ways someone might try to buy peace.
A partner might buy you expensive jewelry, flowers, and other presents in order to appease you after a fight, and you may do the same for them. This is all fine if it’s an apology gift after you’ve made up and talked things out – but it’s not good if it’s taking the place of good communication.
Intimacy is used as a reward, apology, or proof of love in many relationships – in 78% of relationships, in fact! Unfortunately, it is not a positive mechanism for solving problems. It can result in the commodification of intimacy, which is then seen as something to be earned instead of an enjoyable bonding activity between partners.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with promises. But making them in lieu of talking about something is dangerous. A partner may refuse to talk about an issue and instead promise to do better next time without even understand what they did wrong. This causes an endless cycle that has no clear solution.
Covering up arguments and problems with gifts or material items and shoving them beneath the rug instead of dealing with them is a surefire way to have them build up. Taking someone out to a nice dinner or buying them a new item is not going to solve the issue. It’s going to fester and grow instead.
4. Keeping Score
Relationships aren’t a competition – or, at least, they shouldn’t be. Here are ways you might be keeping score without realizing it.
Who gives the most gifts to the other? Relationships aren’t about presents, and who gives the most isn’t a viable argument to have.
If you give your partner a lot of gifts and want more from them, talk about it; don’t silently keep score and get increasingly more angry with each additional present you give. Gifts should be given from the heart, expecting nothing in return.
Remember that one time you messed up at your partner’s family home? How can you forget, when they keep reminding you and using it to prove that you’ve screwed up more than they have?
You and your partner are both human. You are going to make mistakes, and you are going to have to learn more and more as you go. If you’re keeping track of errors and using that to judge who the best partner is, you’re doing it wrong!
· Successes and Failures
A little healthy competition is great, but in some relationships, it can become all-consuming. If you’ve both been gunning for a promotion at your respective jobs and you win it before your partner does, your partner should not become angry. They should celebrate your success with you.
In many relationships, a scorecard of this variety is used as a reasoning for why current wrongdoings are acceptable; this adds a whole additional level of toxicity. Dredging up the past and using a scorecard as proof of your point is only going to guilt-trip your partner. You’re convincing them to view your actions against their track record, instead of taking them at face value.
When a new problem comes up, deal with it in the present and treat it as an individual occurrence – not as an add-on to past problems. If something that happened six months ago is still bugging you, it should have been dealt with six months ago. If needed, deal with it separately, after this current issue is handled.
5. Blaming The Other For Emotional Problems
If you’ve had a bad day or are in a bad mood, the last thing you should do is take it out on your partner. You might find all sorts of excuses as to why it’s their fault, such as:
- They aren’t being sympathetic enough.
- They’re too distracted.
- They haven’t done anything to make your day better.
- They never care about your problems.
Of course, through the perspective of your upset thoughts and anger, it definitely looks like this. But perhaps your lens is muddy and needs a change. Your partner is not responsible for solving your problems. They are not expected to magically know how to brighten your day. And if you’re in a place where nothing helps, it is unfair to expect the impossible of them.
This type of behavior is very selfish, and it can be dangerous and harmful to your partner. If you need them to make you feel better, tell them. In fact, tell them exactly what you need. Want to be left alone? Need them to listen? To offer advice? Hugs? Their full attention? Be clear.
Worse still, this type of blaming can lead to codependency. Your partner may start to feel like they have to constantly check in with you at every turn and for every single tiny decision, or else face your wrath. If positive thinking just isn’t possible at the moment, take time to yourself and speak to your partner again later.
Most importantly, take responsibility for your own emotions. Your partner should be supportive of you – not obligated to take all your worries away.
6. Expecting A Relationship To Make You Whole
Lots of people perpetuate the idea that when you find the right person, you become “whole,” and two parts become one. They expect everything to fall into place the moment they meet a good dating candidate. This is an immature thought born from romantic movies and novels, and it’s incredibly damaging and toxic in real life.
To say you must love yourself before someone else can love you is mostly accurate. Though it is a little extreme, the concept rings true. You have to be one whole person going into a relationship with another whole person in order to enjoy a successful relationship.
Relationships aren’t designed specifically to make you happy. They’re meant to encourage you to grow. They are meant to provide you with extra positive thinking on your journey of self-discovery and self-improvement. They’re part of your life – they shouldn’t take over all of it.
Final Thoughts On Some Toxic Relationship Habits To Never Ignore
Relationships aren’t easy, but they shouldn’t be toxic. It takes a lot of work and effort to communicate well and maintain positive interactions without any negative habits forming – but it’s definitely worth it.
If you or your partner display any of these toxic relationship habits to never ignore, it’s time to sit down and talk about them. By working together, you can solve the issues you are facing.