Every couple develops its own pattern in their relationship. From how we live with each other, to who takes the lead, to who cooks dinner when. It’s all part of the “tango” of a relationship.
After all, patterns and habits are a natural blanket of security for us. Unfortunately, however, we are also bound to create negative relationship patterns with our significant others. Sometimes they’re harmless. Often they begin as a minor annoyance. But when you’ve been together for some time, you can easily fall into negative habits that can truly damage your relationship.
Here we have listed 7 of the most toxic relationship patterns you need to break away from if you want a healthy, long-lasting relationship with your partner.
1. The clinger pattern
In this pattern, one person feels like their relationship is flawless, but the other needs some space. The one who needs space flakes, making the nester cling even harder, which in turn makes the space-seeker abandon the ship. Therapist and author of Dating from the Inside Out, Dr. Paulette Sherman says “This is one of the most common patterns in my practice. One person will feel like their comfort zone is distance, especially after an argument, while the other will feel like they need to talk right away.”
In order to fix it Dr. Sherman advises to communicate using your partner’s pattern:
“People think “if you loved me you’d connect the way I do. It’s better if the person who wants to feel closer would just ask, “What would be a good time for you to talk? That way, the other person has the time they need to regroup.”
2. Putting the blame on your partner
Are you familiar with playing the blame game with your partner? Is it always their fault and never yours?
Dating coach and psychologist Samantha Rodman says:
“Some couples are in the habit of blaming each other for their own mistakes, no matter what. Example: ‘You left the water running…’ ‘Oh, that’s because you called me away in the middle of washing my hands.’
“This is a toxic habit because when partners are so busy defending themselves and blaming their partners, they lose the chance to be kind to each other and to feel close.
“The opposite of blaming is taking responsibility for your own actions, and that is the hallmark of a mature and emotionally healthy relationship,”
So, instead of falling prey to this habit, try to take responsibility for your actions, and talk it out with your partner. Nothing good will ever come out of blaming each other.
3. The husband in the friend zone pattern
You are both perfect when it comes to taking care of your kids, but you’ve lost your passion for each other. You begin to treat each other like best friends or co-workers.
It’s easy to fall into this patter because: “Couples forget that they need to be lovers and partners, not just parents and/or roommates,” says Andrea Syrtash, author of Cheat on Your Husband With Your Husband. “I’ve coached couples for years who fall into complacency. After one to three years together, you go from excitement and novelty to attachment and get into a neutral zone. That’s when you really have to work to create that excitement and connection.”
In order to get out of this try to get at least 10 minutes a day to “date talk, adds Syrtash. “One study found that the average couple with kids communicates just 15 minutes a day. If all your communication is transactional, you’re not going to connect as partners and lovers. For those 10 minutes, flirt a little. “Ask your partner, ‘what’s the craziest part of your week?’ ‘What was the most unexpected?’ Ask what you would if you were on your first date.”
4. Complaining to your friends instead of your partner.
Your friends serve as the perfect soundboard and are always on your side. While it feels great to vent it out on someone, to your relationship, it will do more harm than good.
By doing this you put your partner in an irredeemable light. Additionally, you can create a hole between your relationship and your friendships.
On this matter, Andrea Syrtash advises: “Take the issue directly to your partner and discuss it directly, discussing both or your wants based on your individual experiences and values.”
5. The angry parent/rebel child pattern
Does he or she forget to pay the credit card bill causing you to get fined again? In this case, you might lose your cool, curse him out, and set up an automatic payment.
This pattern is easy to fall into. “When you’re married it’s easy to fall into this because so much has to be done, says Sherman. “It’s unsexy for her because she feels like a mom, and he sees her that way as well. The main thing is to catch yourself before you resort to nagging.”
In order to prevent it from getting worse: “From the start, try to have a strong equal pattern,” suggests Sherman. “Don’t treat an adult partner as a child. Sit down and talk to someone as if they were your roommate. “Say, hey, this is happening…how can we solve it? Never take up the slack and just do it yourself.”
6. Excessively showing off on social media
Research suggests that frequent use of social media has a negative impact on people’s levels of relationship satisfaction.
What this consequently means is that the more you show off your relationship, the bigger your need to prove that the relationship is strong will become. Maybe you just enjoy the dopamine hit you receive when you get a stream of “likes” and “comments.” But most likely it runs deeper than that. This could be your way of compensating or concealing the uncertainties you have about your life with your partner.
No matter the reasons focus on fixing your problems rather than oversharing things on social media. Try focusing that energy on something more productive instead.
Truly happy couples spend less time posting on social media, and more time creating good memories together.
Typically in this situation, one person wants to control the other’s business. And to keep things calm, the other person just lets them do it.
Maybe it feels like someone truly cares when they obsess over little things like what your breakfast choices and weekend plans should be (especially when they involve posh vacation trips), but as Andrea Syrtash puts it: “Any time there’s a power dynamic in a couple, the person being controlled will eventually feel victimized. It’s a relationship deal breaker if you don’t feel like your voice matters.”
Can you think of any other toxic relationship patterns?
Let us know how you feel about the issue in the comment section below.