Selfish Relationship Habits You Need to Stop

Once the newness of a relationship passes and the chaos of adjusting to life sets in, many of us get comfortable and start developing selfish relationship habits.

Photograph by by David Collier

Photograph by by David Collier

Selfish relationship habits are a lot more common than we realize. Romantic relationships can be messy and, most of us would agree, that is an understatement. Between forfeiting your bachelor lifestyle to accommodate your lover, establishing common grounds (and negotiating the not-so-common grounds), learning the different dynamics of your relationship, and working out what doesn’t seem to work, it’s ridiculously easy to get caught up in all of the different aspects of your relationship. Once the newness of a relationship passes and the chaos of adjusting to life as a couple has settled, you get comfortable with the way things are. Most of us don’t like change, and we often find ourselves stuck in our own ways. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be if you get a little bit too comfortable with the way things are and you start to take them for granted. In this sort of mindset, it is likely that we will develop selfish behaviors. Too often, selfish behavior turns into a habit, which can turn your relationship from sweet to sour in no time at all. Selfish habits will ultimately destroy your relationship in one way or another, and unless you are able to identify them, there is no stopping their wrath of destruction. Don’t let your relationship fall victim to your selfish habits. Save yourself the heartbreak and use the following list of common selfish relationship habits as a guide to keep your behavior in check, and your relationship intact. 

Stop putting "me" before "we."

"Me" is probably one of the first words to come to mind when you think about the word "selfish." Being in a relationship requires teamwork, which means that you are no longer only looking out for yourself, but for your team. If you find yourself making your wants and needs a priority over your partner's, you might want to reevaluate the way you think about your relationship because this is a selfish relationship habit.

Stop with the unrealistic expectations.

When I was growing up, Disney movies taught me that I shouldn’t settle for anything short of a knight in shining armor. Needless to say, I was hit with a harsh reality check when I entered the dating game. Realizing that guys don’t act the princes in the Disney movies was like finding out that Santa wasn’t real. It was a rude awakening because I had some seriously high expectations of being treated like a princess, which was definitely not always the case. We all harbor unrealistic expectations about how “the perfect one” is supposed to look, act, and treat us. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way because relationships are partnerships where two individuals match each other’s efforts. So if you aren’t riding up to your partner on a white horse and saving them from all of their problems, then it’s not realistic to expect that from them. Relationships have a give and take dynamic that isn’t compatible with Cinderella stories. 

Stop the Blame Game.

This is a game we have all played. However, this is not a game to bond over with your significant other. If you often make excuses and try to justify your questionable behavior, you are playing the blame game. Regardless of who is right or wrong, when the deed has already been done, blaming will only make it worse. If you find yourself on the receiving end of the blame game, try being neutral by starting sentences with phrases like “I feel…” and “I disagree with the way…”, instead of “you were wrong by doing…”, and other loaded expressions that could be interpreted as you attacking or blaming your partner.

Photo by Maurizio Di Iorio

Photo by Maurizio Di Iorio

Stop trying to "fix" your significant other.

Trying to change your partner for any reason other than at their request is a selfish relationship habit. Unless your significant other asks you to help them change something about themselves, it is not your place to decide that something about them needs fixed. That doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t let them know how you feel about something they’re doing that you disagree with, because you absolutely should do this. However, if your partner doesn’t see eye to eye with you on the matter, then it is time to decide if staying in the relationship is best for you, which is something only you can know. If there’s something about your partner that you can’t deal with and you have already confronted them about the issue, then it might be time to consider walking away.

Stop comparing.

Relationships should be totally independent of past romances and previous sexual encounters. Comparing your current partner to past relationships is like trying to compare apples to oranges. Comparing your significant other to one of your past lovers is definitely a selfish relationship habit and even more so, it is not a good way to get the outcome that you’re hoping for. It will just make your partner feel incompetent and unable to live up to your past. This can hang over your partner’s head for a long time, and living under the constant pressure of trying to live up to your ex can really suck. Try to use the classic “putting yourself in the other’s shoes” technique, and if you don’t like the view then it’s time to change some of your communication methods.

Stop keeping score.

Some friendly competition is healthy every once in awhile, but when you find yourself keeping score in your relationship, things can start to go downhill. Don’t get me wrong here; it’s extremely important to discuss your opinions with your partner, but it shouldn’t be a competition of proving one right and the other wrong. You should embrace the differences between you and your lover because without them, you might as well be dating yourself, right? It’s part of your job description as a mate to be encouraging and supportive of their opinions and decisions even if you disagree sometimes. It’s more than ok to put your two cents in (even when it’s not what your honey wants to hear), but at the end of the day, you should respect their decisions and be supportive of what ever it is they decide to do. If your partner doesn’t make a decision that’s in your favor, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they do not value your opinion and advice. It means they still value their own independence and they are not completely reliant on you, which is usually a good thing. Otherwise, your relationship would be more like babysitting without pay, and that would get old pretty fast.

Stop the break up threat.

Threatening to end your relationship for any reason is a selfish relationship habit. It is unfair to use your relationship as leverage to get what you want. If your relationship is something you are willing to compromise over a disagreement, then chances are you don't truly value the relationship. Don’t fall into the trap of this selfish relationship habit.

Stop assuming instead of asking.

The golden rule in a successful relationship is communication. Making assumptions about your partner’s thoughts, feelings, or behavior could be detrimental to your relationship. It’s easier said than done, I know. It’s unlikely that you can totally eliminate assumptions in your relationship, but you can prevent them from having a negative impact on it by admitting when you realize that you made a false assumption and you acted on it before you verified it. This is nothing to be embarrassed about because it happens to everyone, and if someone tells you they’ve never made an ass out of themselves over a false assumption they made, their nose will grow an inch or two longer. As human beings, we are all guilty of assuming because (especially when it comes to people we care about) we tend to jump to conclusions and go into defense mode when we think there might be a threat to our relationship. The assumption is not the mistake; however, denying that you did it, and not acknowledging you're jumping to conclusions, is. 

Stop using sex as a reward and denying it as a punishment.

Sex is too often used as a means of currency (more or less), and doing this falls under the category of a selfish relationship habit. Intimacy is a considerable factor in the overall health and happiness in a relationship. Since it is a significant portion of your love life it shouldn’t be discounted to a form of leverage used against your partner for your own personal benefit.

If you can manage to avoid these selfish relationship habits and instead focus on the love you have for your sweetheart, then you should have a happy and healthy relationship.

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