You might have fallen for someone’s looks or cool attitude, but will it be a long-lasting and fulfilling relationship or just a fling? Every relationship hangs on two basic human necessities — mutual trust and respect. Love then shows up naturally. It’s never the other way around. It is not always obvious whether we’ve made the right choice in hooking up with the right partner. Though our gut says otherwise, sometimes we go on in an otherwise unhealthy relationship because we are charmed, believe this is life, or feel it’s too late.
A relationship is a long-term positive game that empowers and brings out the best in both partners. We don’t want to feel like a helpless victim in someone’s clutches. A strong relationship can often survive hard times like poverty or ill-health. But it collapses at the sight of certain destructive behaviors.
Want to know the common yet unobvious relationship-killing traits? Thankfully, most of them can be fixed with some effort. Here goes…
A lie instantly breaks trust, and studies indicate it’s hard to forgive unless you think highly of the lying partner to let go. Lies create a void in the betrayed person’s heart, leading to a sense of initial denial, disbelief, and ultimately a sore and heavy heart. The victims of deceit end up in deep self-criticism, blaming themselves, and often need therapy.
In another Notre Dame University research, participants aged 18–71 were asked to stop lying completely for 10 weeks. The results clearly demonstrated improved relationship quality, better physical and mental health; their lying showed a reduction by 36% each week. By five weeks, they considered themselves more honest.
Lies and deceit top the reasons causing a relationship to crack and quickly form a vicious cycle of more lying to cover up past lies. Liars are also good at vehemently denying lying, even in the face of truth. It’s better to find a way out of such relationships instead of trying to live, forever doubting your partner’s words.
2. Overly dependent on you
You sure would have come across folks who would shrug at making themselves a cup of coffee, let alone cook a meal. From the start, they expect their better half to do all the cooking, cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, and around the house errands. It not only means they are taking their partner for granted, but it also wreaks mental havoc on the person enduring it.
Initially, it may seem cute to be there for your partner’s needs, but eventually, you’d burn out. I was hardly surprised when I saw research reports that scream women still do a majority of the household work, more so if she is not working outside the home.
Outsourcing the routine household jobs brings peace, time together and hence better relationships say a recent study. If that’s not an affordable option, partaking in the chores is the practical alternative; otherwise, it can quickly advance into a frustrating relationship.
3. Addiction issues
Addiction is the 3rd most common reason for separation, according to a study by Buffalo University. Alcohol or substance abuse can lead up to 40% more verbal fights between couples.
Common addictions vary from smartphones, Netflix, Alcohol, flirting to obsessive gaming. But if it breaches the other person’s tolerance level, the relationship will turn sour and go in only one direction: South.
If the partner says, he/she will stop a negative habit after you commit, that’s just a white lie. Once kids come into the picture, the relationship gets more complicated. Similar to the American Academy of Healthcare Providers in Addictive disorders, several support groups in every country offer guarded consultations to help in de-addiction.
Unless the partner comes totally out of an awful, or dangerous addiction, don’t take chances in those relationships for your own sake would be my suggestion.
4. Doesn’t stand up for you in public
Suppose you get a snide remark from your partner’s parent. Or say you’re with common friends, and someone talks BS about you. How does your partner react? Does your partner give a shy smile or raises a full-fledged voice in your support?
How would you feel if you were asked to take it lightly and shrug it off when you are put in an embarrassing spot? We know very well, and there is even scientific proof that positive and negative social exchanges with family and friends do affect us mentally.
We all look for that person in our partner whose shoulders we can cry, vent, laugh, act crazy and not feel judged and be sure they will stand by us. Supportive partners are your best bet if you want to pursue challenging work and life opportunities. People with such partners enjoy better personal growth, happiness, and psychological well-being.
5. Spendthrift or a Penny pincher?
One of my good friends liked everything about this guy and was over the moon when he too expressed interest. Soon she discovered he was a deadly penny pincher and had a habit of making her pay almost every time they went out, though both were earning and had zero financial problems. He even wanted her to buy most stuff for their future, while he could save all the money in his bank account. Holy sh*t, she ditched that loser for good.
In later life, everything boils down to financial planning, and it’s good to have mutually agreeable financial goals. Money is one thing that every couple fights over, rich or poor, reports one study. If your and your partner’s idea about money vary too much, it will take a toll on your financial freedom very soon.
Be watchful of how your soon-to-be life partner thinks about or spends money. Your money. And their own. Frugal living is one thing, but cheap?
6. Being Secretive
Some people are naturally quiet introverts. They think, talking about something is unnecessary unless it shows up in a discussion. When dating an introvert, if they’re not intentionally hiding a secret you should know, it is understandable. But if a partner doesn’t care enough to disclose important life details like an imminent job transfer, other sources of income, crucial happenings in one’s life, then something’s wrong.
It is always better to weigh the person’s nature and if you’re going to be ok with it before going to town with it. It doesn’t mean you doubt and keep track of your partner’s every move. But you’ll understand sooner or later when a partner is secretive trying to hide.
Body language doesn’t lie, and it’s easy to notice a cheating partner’s body language cues like a change in their voice or lack of eye contact. According to this paper, if a partner has a history of cheating, it’s twice or thrice likely to stay that way.
7. Zero Accountability.
Does your partner stick to their words or change their mind as quickly as switching a TV channel? Fickle-minded people are unpredictable; whether it is intentional or not is another story. You are left confused about what to think of this person.
It’s not like the person will remain like that forever, as a person’s nature is formed since childhood and their circumstances. Some partners are sensitive enough, and if they value the relationship highly, chances are they can show signs of improvement naturally; force doesn’t work. However, if the person is not too serious, they wouldn’t bother to change for you specifically.
Non-accountable persons are escapists, good at cutting excuses, and typical nitpickers waiting to get a one over you and have a laugh or rant about it.
Research proves accountability is one ethic that’s important in all facets of life, including relationships. Isn’t life all about showing your worth and setting mutual expectations, though some are unspoken?
8. Shabby or No self-care
If a partner lacks self-care, their home and even their mind are likely in the same state. The space a person lives in is a reflection of their inner self.
A well-balanced person knows by taking care of themselves first, they can care for their loved ones better. Saying “No time” is such a sham. It’s just that self-care isn’t a priority for some.
Recently a friend of mine walked out of a shared accommodation as his room-mates lived amidst half-eaten boxes of donuts, pizza, spilled cola, and strewn cigarette butts with obsessive gaming always on.
Can you imagine spending a lifetime with someone who showers once a week? Or doesn’t mind living in a house stinking of a month’s garbage piled up in a corner? I guess not.
9. Lack of empathy
Showing Empathy doesn’t come easily to everyone. They might be oblivious to your situation. Several studies indicate that women are more empathetic compared to men.
Since women have been in the caregiver role for the past thousand years, it is presumed that women have more tolerance levels and hence display better empathy.
Men are presumed to be more practical and less emotional, but empathy can be learned. It is equally essential for both genders to switch roles when a life situation demands.
10. Suffocatingly Possessive
Do you have a nosey spouse in the house? I’d hate my partner checking my phone because that’s an invasion of my privacy. If his phone is acting up and wants to browse or call, it’s ok, but it shouldn’t be on purpose.
If we’d like to hang out with our weekend buddies or signed up for a month-long yoga getaway, we’d want to have that time for ourselves. how much ever devoted the partner is we shouldn’t need to answer a partner’s repetitive calls and messages just to check on us.
Do you have a nosey spouse in the house?
It may be jealousy, doubt, or whatever, but refraining from constantly trying to sneak into a partner’s life gives the much-needed space in a relationship.
One in three people divorce because they wouldn’t share phone or social media passwords; It’s laughable yet depicts the issue’s seriousness. Set aside the charm, attitude, and lifestyle, but a partner who gives space commands respect.
11. Different Sexual Preferences
The sexual drive can vary a lot in a long-term relationship and is one of your relationship’s driving factors to feel satisfying. For some, sex is as necessary as a daily coffee. Generally, a partner’s mental state at different phases of life determines the interest in sex. Maybe they lost a job, a dear one, health issues, or plain stressed and uninterested in sex, but it can affect relationship quality in subtle yet disturbing ways.
Sexlessness has not much bearing on happiness and isn’t uncommon. A recent study of over 17000 American adults aged between 18–79 shows that 15.2% of males and 26.7% of females had no sex in the past year, while 8.7% of males and 17.5% of females reported no sex for five years or more.
Though there is even a law in most countries to walk away from a sexless relationship, being more aware of your and your partner’s sexual needs before commitment will make life less of a hassle for both of you.
A healthy relationship is all about celebrating the differences between two people. You may crave junk food, but your partner may be that obsessive fitness freak. You may be that person with OCD to keep everything in place, and your partner is carefree and loves to throw the towel on the bed and socks and shoes anywhere. We actually put up with many qualities of our partner, and so would they. Over time they can give you a list of what they don’t like about you. Mine did. But the values are what keeps a couple together.
A healthy relationship is all about celebrating the differences between two people.
Not all relationships are perfect, and no one is perfect, and that’s fine. Consider having top-three essential traits when looking for a partner and decide to move forward if they tick those mandatory boxes. You can also have a wishlist of secondary behaviors in the order of importance. If major characteristics and values align, everything else can be discounted.
For me, being truthful, clean, an excellent financial planner were the core traits, and it’s been quite a journey of alignment and finding a mid-path. Perfection is overrated. We all have a few flaws, but we must know where to draw the line.
How do you decide if he/she is your one and only? Let me know in the comments…
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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