1. You allow your insecurities to get the better of you
We all feel insecure from time to time. But if you let your insecurity control how you interact with your guy, it can harm your relationship. For instance, when you’re out with your boyfriend and you notice him glancing at another woman, do you overreact and blow it out of proportion? Josh*, a 32-year-old lawyer, says that his ex would pick on him whenever she caught him looking at other women: “She would get really upset with me, telling me that she wasn’t attractive enough for me and accusing me of cheating on her with other girls. She would jump to some crazy conclusions. But it’s not like I was undressing these women with my eyes or even thinking about having sex with them! I’m just a visual guy. Glancing at other women is normal for most men and in many cases, perfectly harmless. My ex-girlfriend’s reaction spoke volumes about her lack of trust in me as well as her own insecurities. After a while her behaviour started to turn me off and caused me to fall out of love with her.”
2. You won’t let even the smallest issues go
You’ve heard the saying: “Don’t sweat the small stuff”. This applies to relationships too. If you hold on to slights and find it hard to forgive your partner for his mistakes, how will you move forward and work towards building a strong and stable relationship? Says 32-year-old teacher Marcus*: “My ex-girlfriend hated it when I showed up to dates even a few minutes late, if I forgot to do something I told her I’d do or if I had to cancel or postpone an outing with her at the last minute because of work or family reasons. She never let me off the hook, but worse, she’d remind me of these ‘mistakes’ often instead of just letting them go. I felt like I was responsible for her anger and dissatisfaction and I knew that I couldn’t sustain the relationship in the long-term.”
3. You shut your partner down during an argument
Have you ever walked away from an argument with your man while he was in the middle of talking and simply refused to listen to his point of view? Communication is vital in any relationship, so by shutting your partner down, you’re actually preventing your relationship from thriving and being the best it can be. Remember, too, that communication is a two-way street. While nobody likes an argument or a confrontation, it’s just as important to listen as it is to be listened to. Effective communication can only take place when both partners make the effort to hear each other out and discuss their problems together.
4. You expect your guy to know what you want and need
If you don’t ask for what you want, how will you get it? You can’t expect your man to read your mind or anticipate your needs, so if you feel that he isn’t doing his part to make your relationship work, don’t be afraid to speak out. Lawrence*, a 30-year-old writer, shares why this is so important: “I was in a long-term relationship with a woman who never told me how she felt or what she needed. I was always left to figure out what was going through her mind, and of course, half the time I was wrong. It’s not surprising, then, that our relationship didn’t last. She’d get angry with me for not being able to read her mind and I’d in turn get frustrated about her inability to be open with me. In the end we just couldn’t make it work. I’m now with a woman who has no qualms letting me know when something’s not going well.”
5. You focus more on what’s wrong rather than on what’s right
No relationship is perfect, but if you dwell on everything that’s wrong with it or always expect the worst then you’re just inviting more negativity in. Instead of focusing on those aspects of your relationship that could do with improvement, look at all the things you’re happy with. Instead of highlighting what your man could do better, point out what he’s doing right. If you focus more on your relationship’s strengths you’ll soon find that you have less to complain about and feel dissatisfied with, and more to celebrate and be thankful for.
6. You compare your partner to other men
“My ex treated me so much better”, “I wish you were more like the other guys I used to date”, “If my last boyfriend could do it, I don’t see why you can’t” … If you’ve ever uttered these phrases to your man, then you may be putting your relationship at risk. Daniel*, a 35-year-old hotel executive, shares his story: “I once dated a woman that compared me to every other guy she knew. Of course, they were all better than me, in her opinion, which made me feel that I couldn’t do anything right. I wasn’t earning as much money, I wasn’t as good-looking or smart as they were, and I didn’t know how to please her the way they did. It was exhausting trying to live up to her expectations. In the end I called it quits because I realised that if she couldn’t accept me as I was then I could never make her happy.”
7. You overanalyse everything
Reading too much into your guy’s texts and replaying conversations with him in your head to try and decipher what he really meant… These aren’t just emotionally unhealthy; they can also push your boyfriend away and cause a rift in your relationship. “My ex would get worked up over something I said or did and then pick a fight with me about it afterwards,” says Joseph*, a 38-year-old finance manager. “Instead of asking me what I meant, she’d come up with her own interpretation and then drive herself sick with worry over it. This created a lot of unnecessary arguments between us and eventually we decided that it was too much hard work to stay together.”
8. You hold back from being yourself
How can your partner connect with you if you conceal parts of yourself or pretend to be everything other than what you really are? Jonathan* says that his previous relationship didn’t last because his ex-girlfriend didn’t let him get to know the real her. “I was physically attracted to her from the start, but once that wore off, I found the relationship hard to sustain because there was very little emotional attraction,” says the 32-year-old chef. “She never opened up to me and would pretend to like something just because I did. After a couple of months I still wasn’t sure I knew her at all. Some parts of her even seemed phony. I found that to be a turn-off so I ended things with her.”
*Names have been changed.