9 unconscious behaviors that can slowly ruin your relationship

We often focus on the big things – the grand gestures, the major disagreements.

But sometimes, it’s the small, unconscious behaviors that can slowly chip away at your relationship.

You might not even realize you’re doing these things.

They’re subtle, almost invisible, but they can cause a significant amount of damage over time.

In this article, we’ll explore 9 such behaviors.

This isn’t about blaming or finger-pointing.

It’s about helping you recognize and address these small but destructive habits.

1) Assuming you know what your partner is thinking

It’s so easy to fall into the trap of assuming you know exactly what your partner is thinking or feeling.

But this can lead to misunderstandings and resentment.

Remember, no matter how long you’ve been together, you’re not a mind reader.

Your partner is a separate individual with their own thoughts and feelings.

When you assume what they’re thinking or feeling without asking, you’re essentially dismissing their individuality.

Over time, this can create a disconnect between you and your partner.

Rather than guessing, it’s always better to communicate openly.

Ask them how they’re feeling or what they’re thinking.

It might feel awkward at first, especially if you’re not used to it, but this simple act of communication can make a world of difference in your relationship.

2) Criticizing instead of complimenting

It’s human nature to notice the negative more than the positive.

I remember a time in my own relationship when I was constantly picking on small things my partner did without appreciating the good.

Each time he’d forget to do something, I’d immediately point it out, neglecting to mention all the things he did right.

What I didn’t realize was that this constant criticism was slowly eroding our relationship.

My partner started feeling underappreciated and undervalued.

It wasn’t until we had a heart-to-heart conversation about it that I understood the impact of my words.

Now, I make it a point to express my appreciation for the things he does right.

Instead of focusing on the one time he forgot to do something, I focus on the many times he remembered.

This shift in perspective has not only improved our relationship but also helped us communicate better. 

3) Spending too much time on your phone

In today’s digital age, it’s not uncommon to see couples sitting across from each other at a restaurant, both engrossed in their phones.

“Phubbing” – the act of snubbing someone in favor of your mobile phone – can lead to lower levels of relationship satisfaction.

It’s not just about the time spent on the phone, but also about the message it sends to your partner.

When you constantly check your phone, even during intimate moments, it can make your partner feel less important and less valued.

So consider setting some boundaries around phone use, especially during quality time with your partner.

It could be as simple as putting your phone away during meals, or dedicating certain hours of the day to be device-free.

It might take some getting used to, but it can significantly improve the quality of your relationship.

4) Avoiding conflict

It might seem counterintuitive, but avoiding conflict can actually harm your relationship more than it helps.

Yes, arguments can be uncomfortable and stressful, but they’re also an opportunity for growth and understanding.

Sweeping issues under the rug might keep the peace in the short term, but those unresolved problems can fester over time.

They can lead to resentment, which is far more damaging to a relationship than a healthy disagreement.

Instead of avoiding conflict, try to tackle it head on.

Open up a dialogue about the issue at hand. Be honest about your feelings, but also be open to hearing your partner’s perspective.

It’s not about winning or losing an argument. It’s about finding a resolution that works for both of you.

And sometimes, that process can bring you closer than ever before.

5) Not spending quality time together

Life can get busy.

Between work, family obligations, and social commitments, it can be challenging to carve out quality time for your relationship. But this is crucial.

Spending quality time together allows you to reconnect, strengthen your bond, and create shared memories.

It’s not about the quantity of time spent together, but the quality.

This doesn’t mean you need to plan extravagant dates or weekend getaways (although those can be nice).

Quality time can be as simple as enjoying a cup of coffee together in the morning, or taking a walk in the park after dinner.

Make it a point to prioritize your relationship amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Trust me, it’s worth it.

6) Forgetting to say “I love you”

These three simple words can have a profound impact on your relationship.

Saying “I love you” isn’t just about expressing your feelings.

It’s also about reminding your partner that they’re loved and appreciated.

Over time, it’s easy to fall into the routine of life and forget to express our feelings as often as we should.

We start taking our partner’s love for granted, and we forget to reaffirm our love for them.

But these words are powerful.

They can bring comfort, security, and happiness.

They can mend wounds and bridge gaps.

So don’t hold back.

Say “I love you” often.

Let your partner know how much they mean to you, not just through your actions, but also through your words.

It might seem small, but it can make a world of difference in your relationship.

7) Neglecting self-care

There was a period in my life where I was so focused on taking care of others that I forgot to take care of myself.

I was constantly drained, both physically and emotionally.

As I pushed my needs to the side, I noticed a shift in my relationship.

I was less patient, more irritable, and less present with my partner.

Self-care isn’t selfish.

It’s necessary.

When you take care of your own needs, you’re better equipped to take care of others.

You’re more patient, more understanding, and more present.

Whether it’s taking a few minutes each day to meditate, setting aside time each week for a hobby you love, or ensuring you get enough sleep each night, make self-care a priority.

Not only will it benefit you, but it will also benefit your relationship.

8) Keeping score

Relationships aren’t a competition.

Keeping a mental tally of who did what or who’s turn it is to do something can create unnecessary tension.

It’s easy to fall into the trap of scorekeeping, especially when you feel overwhelmed or taken for granted.

But this tit-for-tat mentality can quickly lead to resentment.

Instead of keeping score, aim for balance over time. There will be periods where one person carries more of the load, and that’s okay.

What’s important is that both partners feel appreciated and valued for their contributions.

When issues arise, address them directly rather than resorting to scorekeeping.

Clear communication is key in maintaining a healthy and balanced relationship.

9) Failing to listen

At the heart of every strong relationship is good communication, and listening is half of that equation.

Truly listening to your partner shows them that you value their thoughts and feelings.

It fosters understanding and builds trust.

But listening is more than just hearing.

It’s about being present, showing empathy, and trying to understand your partner’s perspective.

It’s about validating their feelings, even if you don’t necessarily agree.

So the next time your partner is talking, try to really listen.

Put away any distractions, make eye contact, and show them that you’re fully engaged. 

Relationships are a journey

At the heart of every relationship are two individuals, each with their own perspectives, feelings, and experiences.

Navigating these differences can be challenging, but it’s also what makes relationships so rich and rewarding.

The behaviors we’ve discussed in this article are subtle, often unconscious.

But their impact on your relationship can be significant.

It’s not about blaming or finger-pointing, but about understanding and growing.

No relationship is perfect.

We all make mistakes.

We all have room to grow.

The key is to be aware of our actions and their impact on our partners.

So take a moment to reflect on these behaviors.

Are there any that resonate with you?

Any that you’d like to work on?

Remember, change doesn’t happen overnight.

It’s a journey of small steps towards a healthier, happier relationship.

Struggling to Love Yourself? This Quiz Reveals Why and Shows You How

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