And how to avoid them
At school we study mathematics, chemistry, biology, but no one teaches us about relationships. There is no “How not to become a crappy partner” or “Crash course on finding happy love”.
Moreover, school romances often foist a toxic relationship model on us as an example of “true love.” Remember “Anna Karenina” or “Quiet Don”. In our youth, we dreamed of a love like that of Anna or Aksinya. But a quiet and calm relationship was not for us, because all “happy families are happy the same” – it’s so boring.
Stories in which relationships bring satisfaction to partners and make the relationship happy and peaceful do not sell well and do not look so dramatic on screen and in books. This is why we often confuse “love” with toxic behavior and adopt toxic habits that destroy relationships.
HERE ARE THE HABITS THAT SEEM NORMAL IN OUR SOCIETY, BUT CAN ACTUALLY RUIN RELATIONSHIPS:
1. Expecting your partner to “fix” your emotional upset.
How many times have you fought because your partner wasn’t there for you in your time of need or wasn’t empathetic enough to your bad day? Have you built up resentment because your loved one didn’t show the emotions you “should”? While it is important to support a loved one, there is a big difference between support and emotional commitment. You should complement each other without feeling that one of you depends on the other.
What to do instead: You can simply ask your partner, “I’m having a hard time doing this alone – can you help me get through this?” Keyword: ask. You can voice how you want your partner to perform in this support. Take responsibility for your emotions without expecting others to be responsible for your emotional state.
2. Maintain relationships according to the principle “you give me – I tell you.”
Fairness and balance are two great qualities, but sometimes they are very similar to keeping score in a relationship. If you find yourself mentally calculating the effort your partner is putting in and how it compares to the effort you are putting in; or if either of you responds to an insult with arguments from the past, it means that one of you or both of you are more focused on scoring points than on maintaining a happy relationship. Relationships should not include a system of “you to me – I to you”, which takes into account who screwed up more or who owes whom more.
What to do instead: Relationships don’t have to be “fair and honest” to be good. If you live together, you don’t have to share household chores equally (for example, “I cooked, so you should do the dishes” or “I walked the dog yesterday, so you should do it today”). Instead, invite your partner to do exactly what he likes best. And take for yourself what your partner really can’t stand. And vice versa. Think about what makes sense to each of you, not about what is “fair” and what is not. And treat each issue or disagreement as if it were completely new, without bringing up questions of the past, without remembering past grievances, and without comparing with what once was.
3. Consider that your partner is your “other half.”
The biggest mistake and stupidity is to think that a person should “complete” you. No one can live a fulfilling life with the belief that he needs another person to be completely happy or to solve all his problems. This attitude can lead to toxic dynamics such as codependency, insecurity, and controlling behavior.
What to do instead: See your partner as a person who enriches and completes your already fulfilling, happy life. Focus more on yourself than relationships, look for what makes you happy so you can share your joy and accomplishments with your loved one.
4. Consider that violent conflict = passion.
We all laughed and cried to the cult drama The Notebook, where violent quarrels turned into equally passionate sex scenes. But the “passion” that results in constant fighting or screaming is always fraught with deep problems such as immaturity, communication difficulties, and sometimes narcissism, psychopathy, and a desire for control. Regardless of what causes constant fights, it leads to unstable relationships, which ultimately leads to burnout. The truth is that love should be gentle and calm. Emotional swings have never helped anyone. All is well – it’s when you feel satisfied more often than annoyance or anger.
What to do instead: Change the way you solve problems. Think of the problem as something that opposes the two of you, and not that you are currently fighting against each other. Also, focus on your partner’s emotions rather than his words, because in moments of anger and disappointment, we can say too much without meaning or without thinking it at all. Cultivate those traits in your relationship and your partner that have nothing to do with “passion” – kindness, being supportive, shared values and interests, etc. If your relationship still has more passion and conflict than feelings of safety, security, and unselfish support, just keep in mind that no relationship can last a lifetime on passion alone.
5. Too categorically evaluate a partner.
Instead of saying, “What you said was not very pleasant and offended me,” you say, “I can never be with a person who says such terrible things!” Instead of saying, “Your reaction to what I said made me feel unheard,” you say, “You are ignoring my feelings! I deserve someone who listens to me and cares about my feelings!” Familiar? This reaction is the result of expectations based on your own “ideals” that actually have nothing to do with your partner. In general, stop demanding too much from your loved one and accept him as he is.
What to do instead: Focus solely on the problem, not on your partner’s actions. Talk about how you feel, about why you are hurting, not about how disappointed you are.
6. Give hints and hints instead of speaking directly.
For example, you borrowed a laptop from a partner and “accidentally” left a page in your browser with a certain pair of sneakers you dream about, or you accidentally “thinking out loud” – I always loved ballet, but I haven’t been there for such a long time! – in the hope that your boyfriend or spouse will take the hint and give you what you want. Such hints can be toxic and destructive. These clues mean that one (or both) of you are trying to push the other to what they want instead of just saying so. If you can’t openly express your feelings or desires (“I want you to compliment me more”, or “I want to try something new in bed”), it shows that your communication as a couple needs some work. Because if you know that your feelings are being treated with respect and without judgment, you have no reason to be passive-aggressive.
What to do instead: Be open about your feelings, wants, and needs. Never entertain false hopes that your partner will be able to guess what you want. Nobody can read other people’s minds. Make it clear that your partner is not obligated to meet your needs; rather, you appreciate any effort and support and will not judge if a loved one is immune to what you communicate to him.
7. Believe in “soul mates”.
Another belief that has made girls believe in Prince Charming ever since they first watched Cinderella or Twilight. What is the problem with this myth? You can spend your whole life looking for the perfect partner. This does not mean that you will not find someone who suits you, but you cannot expect everything from your beloved at once. Or waiting for someone to love you with crazy love, like in a movie, no matter what you do and no matter how you behave. Each of us loves in different ways and expresses our feelings in different ways. Some talk about love, others are silent, but prove it with actions. For some, love is flowers and gifts, for others, it’s just touches and hugs every day. Study each other, get to know each other, look for common ground and what conquers and admires you in your partner.
What to do: Think of your relationship as your own choice, not “fate.” Instead of asking yourself if your partner is “perfect”, ask yourself if you want your children to be like them? And finally stop looking for someone who “completes” you, better find someone who loves you the way you are. Believe me, this is much more romantic than passionate quarrels and violent reconciliation.