Every relationships has habits—second nature ways of living and doing things together. But not all of these habits are good ones. Some, unfortunately, can be quite dangerous. Here are three dangerous habits to look out for in your relationship and some tips for dealing with them.
Have you ever been in a long-term romantic relationship, only to find out after months and months (or years) that you’re radically unhappy? Perhaps you’re in one now?
Unfortunately, you’re in good company.
The question is: how? How exactly does this happen? How do couples who started so strong and happy end up so miserable and disconnected?
The answer can be boiled down to one thing: habits. Or, as I’ll refer to them: dangerous habits. Dangerous habits are those second nature actions that conflict with what’s good for us and our relationships.
One example might be not wearing your seat belt. It’s become so rare for you to put it on that not putting it on has become second nature. The dangerous part: it puts you at risk for greater harm in case of an accident.
No matter who you are, everyone is vulnerable to developing dangerous habits. And the way to defend against them is to learn what some of them are and what makes them dangerous. Here are four dangerous habits to look out for in your relationship—dating, engaged, newlywed, or otherwise.
My wife and I are incredibly busy people. She works full time and sees clients outside her normal work schedule. I’m a full time graduate student, a part-time content writer, and I oversee a blog to help newlyweds have flourishing marriages.
On top of this, we’re starting a business together. So, ya...we’ve got a lot going on. Because of this, it means we’re often “on the go.”
Being on the go is essentially inevitable in our case. And simply being “on the go” is not the dangerous part. It’s what being always on the go can give rise to that’s dangerous: minimal moments of connection.
When your schedule becomes your leader, you and your’s risk not making time for the other, no genuine time to sit and be with the other person. You might not feel the impact of this loss of time with the other and that’s exactly what makes this habit dangerous.
Continue to put off quality time with your partner spent checking in and getting to know the other (even in marriage you still can get to know the other), even if it’s only once a week, and before long you’ll hardly know the person sitting next to you.
Make space for your person and make it regularly.
Has it become increasingly difficult for you to simply listen to what your partner is saying? Maybe during your listening, you find that your blood pressure easily rises and your feelings of anger are soon palpable?
This is a dangerous place to be. What’s interesting is how at odds this is with where we generally start in relationships: overflowing with curiosity about our significant other with a readiness to listen for hours on end.
Why the discrepancy?
There’s a lot that could be said here, but what I want to say is that if this is the case for you, you’ve likely neglected parts of your inner life—what’s going on inside of you.
Often times we get angry because we’ve been triggered in a way. When it comes to listening to your partner, one possible trigger of your anger could be that you felt missed or un-listened to.
Maybe deep down you’re craving some space to talk, some space to share what’s going on, but you always find yourself in the position of “listener.” It’s easy to see how you might be quick to anger in such situations and stop listening.
Underlying a slowness to listen and quickness toward anger is almost always a need or desire deep down that’s going unaddressed: Suggestion: address it. Pay attention to it. And, most importantly, talk about it.
Last but not least, you’ve stopped enjoying your person. You forget what it’s like to joke around, what it’s like to genuinely look forward to seeing your better half.
What I’m not saying is that you should be enjoying them all the time and that if you’re not, you’re in danger. No, that’s utterly unrealistic.
Instead, what I mean to point out is that you can’t remember the last time you’ve had fun or enjoyed your partner because it was simply too long ago. Now, your moments together are characterized by preoccupation with your phones, your list of to-dos or, sadly, maybe tons of arguments.
This is a dangerous habit for many reasons, but one of the leading reasons it’s dangerous is because the absence of enjoyment in one area of life usually leads to the search for enjoyment in another area of life.
Divorce rates are high. This is a statistical fact. How many divorces do you think result from couples losing enjoyment in their relationship and tolerating its absence because they’ve found it somewhere else or in someone else?
I’d venture to say a lot.
Now, why you don’t enjoy your spouse or partner anymore could be the product of a million different things. But I invite you to start small: simply ask yourself “why don’t enjoy my person anymore?” and see what comes up.
If you currently enjoy your person more than ever, ask yourself what it is about them or your times together that causes so much enjoyment. And then, go after that with your person. Talk about it together.
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