How to Avoid Bad Relationship Habits
Hello, my name is Sevin Philips. I’m a licensed marriage and family therapist. I’m here to talk about those bad relationship habits. Many of us fall into them and I have some great ideas about how not to.
The first thing is taking each other for granted. It happens to the best of relationships. You stop sharing those little things that you used to share. Remember when you were dating and you sent a lot of text to each other “Hey, that was a treat this morning. Thanks.” Or “I had such a good time last night” or “I’m looking forward to seeing you tonight.” Even those seemingly mundane things that each one of you does, you used to say, “Wow, thanks. That’s great.” You stop doing that over time. These are the things to pick back up. Do these on a regular basis, and your relationship will feel good in a lot of ways.
Another that happens often enough is people stop talking. When you have a difficult conversation or a difficult subject, sometimes people avoid having those conversations. My recommendation is to have a monthly meeting. And I mean it: a monthly meeting. Maybe an hour long. You don’t want to make this something more arduous than it needs to be, but for an hour talk about sex, money, the needs that you have that are not being met and maybe the ones that are being met, how you are happy, and maybe future goals that you have. Mix it up. But have that conversation on a regular basis and you’re sure to have a better relationship.
Another thing is that many of us react. We’re reactive when someone comes to you and shares something that’s hurtful or you didn’t like to hear. Maybe it’s about you. You’re defensive; you react in a way that’s hurtful back at the other person. This kind of stuff happens a lot.
My recommendation is to consider what the person said. When somebody comes to you and they feel hurt or slighted or whatever it might be, at least give them the courtesy of considering that it may have happened – that it at least feels like it happened for them – and think about it. “Hey, wow, I had no idea. Let me think about that. We’ll talk about it in a couple of hours.” Something like that gives you enough time so you can think about, wow, is there some truth to that? Maybe you can come back later and not have a reaction or be defensive but maybe have a more productive conversation. Nevertheless, you let the other person know that they’re worthy of your consideration. It’s a great way to go.
Another thing that happens often enough is people get disconnected. They stop talking to each other, more TV, you’re working a lot, and life gets busy. What happens is we have to actually have quality time to keep the relationship going. This isn’t with your friends; I mean alone. Talk about things that are important to you. Have fun. Spend maybe once a week a couple of hours that it’s just for you two. Put your computers down, turn your phones off, and have a good time. It’s really important for relationships.
Another thing is resentment. Resentment can build over time in a relationship. It can do a lot of damage. I’m not saying this is going to be the main thing for you to do that prevents resentment, but it’s a really great tool to use that helps reduce the resentment and from carrying it on in your lives.
Make amends. Make amends for your behavior. What do I mean by this? If you had an argument with somebody you love, when it’s all over, think about the behavior that you did. Even if the other person started it (so you think), think about the behavior, the way you talked to the other person, how you reacted that maybe wasn’t so good. Then come back later and make amends for your poor behavior. Don’t mention what you think their poor behavior was. Just keep it clean about your behavior and walk away. It gives you a lot of dignity. I also think it spreads this goodwill that sometimes – but not always – elicits the other person to want to do the same.
I hope you enjoyed my suggestions to the relationship bad habits that many of us fall into. Thank you so much.