5 Things That Are Harming Your Relationship (and How to Stop)

Relationships ARE HARD. I'm not going to beat around the bush or "look on the bright side". They are tough, testy and beautiful. Harming your relationship may come easy and certainly does to the best of us (even when we don't realize we're doing it).

Over the years, I've had a few serious relationships - the most serious being the one I am in at this moment (3.5 years and a home together), and in all of these relationships there have been challenges! Inspired by my experiences and observations, here are the five things that are harming your relationship (and how to stop):

LACK OF INDEPENDENCE

It's difficult at times to recognize that you do not have to spend every waking minute with your partner! This is definitely one of the pieces that I've struggled with the most throughout my relationships (greatly due to my severe anxiety).

Achieving independence can be horribly difficult for lovers who live in small living quarters (like my boyfriend and I!). When we moved into our apartment, the living rate drastically went up after our 6 month lease, so we inevitably couldn't afford a two bedroom and won't have a two bedroom until we can move out to a rental home. This creates difficulty when there is nowhere else to go but the bedroom or the bathroom! It's also a pain as a business owner having no designated office, but I soldier through it.

Break the habit:

  • Set aside a day each week to spend away from each other. Find your happy place that isn't in your home and go to it!
     
  • Determine an area of the apartment/house that is "your own" for a certain chunk of time every day.
     
  • Encourage your partner to find a great group of friends or hobby, and to spend time without you, even when you aren't at work.

ATTEMPTS TO CHANGE THE other

Hopefully you've learned by now that you cannot change someone other than yourself! This is a common error that many romantic partners make. Maybe you wish your partner was college-educated, maybe you wish they had taken a different career path, maybe you just simply hate one of their bad habits or ticks. Whatever it is, you can't force them to change.

Change has to come from within the self. When you signed up for this relationship, you signed up for who they are in all of their beautiful colors. Love them for it!

Break the habit:

  • Work at reminding yourself why you got together with this person in the first place.
     
  • Write a list of all the wonderful things they do for you and how they make you feel (who cares if they have a college degree - they would move mountains for you!).
     
  • Equally important: don't become blinded to the truth. If there is a dealbreaker that you cannot live with, it's important that you become honest and open to that reality, and communicate that to your partner.

NO HOBBIES BESIDES EACH OTHER

This is tied in to #1 and independence, however this is really key in terms of finding something that you love that maybe your partner doesn't.

My boyfriend really enjoys gaming and football. Can you see my eye roll through the screen? Well, he eyerolls at my beauty guru YouTube videos, figure skating and while he respects it, this blog isn't exactly his forte! Having outlets of expression and individuality will certainly make or break your love.

Break the habit:

  • Find something you love and do it.
     
  • Show that you can respect your partner's hobby by complimenting them - this doesn't mean you have to actively engage in that hobby as well.
     
  • Buy them a gift relating to the hobby to show your attentiveness.

CLOSED COMMUNICATION

One of the most popular errors made in a romantic relationship is lack of honesty and communication, and it's not only present in men (I'm still sticking by my belief that it is heightened in men, though...)!

Perhaps you don't want to tell your partner something out of the fear that they will reject you, not see you for who you are at your core or even become mad at you for it. All of this negative self-talk can be detrimental to your budding love.

If you don't trust that this person will understand you, why are you with them?

Break the habit:

  • Practice non-violent, transparent communication in your everyday life.
     
  • Address issues when they arise, don't sugarcoat or sweep them under the rug.
     
  • Develop a safe space where your partner feels comfortable coming to you with issues, and verbally reassure them that they can.

SELFISHNESS


Compromise is at the heart of every good, healthy relationship. You can't be selfish and get by! When you were single, you were able to make decisions and think much less about the consequences they will have on others. This is a very large transition, as you now have another human's life that is directly impacted by what you do and don't do.

When you make a big life choice (or even a small one on the daily), it's so important to consider the wellbeing of your partner and how they might feel about your decision.

Break the habit:

  • Refocus your priorities to match that of your relationship (without sacrificing too much of yourself).
     
  • Think about how your decisions may impact your partner before making them. Even asking your partner openly is a great solution.
     
  • Recognize that while you may really want beer with the boys or shopping with the girls this weekend, you've committed to your in-laws' dinner - helloooo! :)

What do you struggle with in your relationship? Comment below!

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BLOGGER: KATHRYN COFFMAN

 

Kathryn is the lead contributor + founder at FashionablyFrank.com. Obsessed with leading a life of balance, she started the blog in 2013. Since graduating from The Evergreen State College (Washington) in 2016, she is now a digital marketing specialist through her business, Fashionably Frank Marketing. She believes a cup of coffee is the answer to all of life's problems + that all women should strive to embrace a #girlboss mantra.