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9 Terrible Habits That Are Secretly Ruining Your Relationship

9 Terrible Habits That Are Secretly Ruining Your Relationship

People do not begin a relationship intent upon ruining it. We meet someone and we are either immediately drawn to them like magnets on opposite poles (and this may be a red flag) or the relationship heats up to a slow simmer. But soon the things we thought were cute or quirky begin to irritate like a pebble in a shoe. Over time, these secret habits are ruining your relationship, so before that happens, let’s uncover some of the worst offenders.

Blabbing = Ruined Relationship

  1. Have you ever turned to your friends or family in times of crisis or smaller problems? Has your partner found out you didn’t pay the rent from your sister during a backyard barbecue? Ouch! Talk about feeling like the insignificant other! If you don’t feel you can communicate in a time of crisis, it’s time to work on communication.
  2. About 10 years ago a girlfriend said something that has stayed with me ever since. I was complaining about something silly my husband had done and she said, “We sure can build a case, can’t we?” I realized that in a moment of irritation, all I could think of were things my husband did that closed my case, conveniently forgetting all the wonderful things he does on a daily basis…and I was even telling my friend about them! Ugly stuff!
  3. Years ago I had a client who called his mother every time his wife tried to tell him something he didn’t quite believe. This eroded the relationship big-time. She felt disrespected, and it caused her to resent her mother-in-law. Never a good thing.

 Being Too Busy = Ruined Relationship

4. You’ve heard it said that relationships take work…but they take play, too! Make sure you make time to have fun together as a couple. Plan times alone. Make a date night if you have children at home. Do things that make time for conversation. A favorite of my husband’s was the time I packed a picnic dinner and bought a bottle of wine. When he got home from work, I drove us out to the lake where we sat high on a bluff in the late afternoon sun. So much better than sitting in front of the boob-tube, eh?

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5. Turn off the cell phone…shut the lid to the laptop! Sometimes it can’t be helped, but I know couples who not only fight via text messages, but also sit on the couch together and text their friends half the night while their spouse flips channels on Hulu.

6. There is such thing as “alone time”, though, and this can enhance a relationship if it’s kept in balance. Each of us has our own tolerance for alone time. Some like to spend time alone or with other people quite a bit. Others think commitment means being together constantly. If you misread signals, feelings can get hurt. This is a big one to talk about early in the relationship. Don’t be too busy for each other, but don’t smother each other, either.

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 Battling = Ruined Relationship

7. Subconsciously we want our partners to meet our emotional needs. We just don’t realize that our needs come from our personal history and our partner may not know what they are. They have their own needs as well, and when the twain shall meet it can mean fireworks! Remember that your partner’s reaction comes from somewhere. It could be you triggered insecurity, or fear, or shame. Check your heart. Soften your blame. Nothing calms anger like being validated for your feelings.

8. There are three basic ways we “dance” with our partner. We pursue each other (butt heads), we withdraw from each other (off to our own corners) or one pursues while the other withdraws. You want to get back to that fine waltz. Remember how you talked for hours in the beginning? Look for what is being left out of the conversation now, like grace, for instance.

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9. No sniping! Do you remember watching those couples who put each other down in front of other people, or act like they are constantly in a state of crabbiness? You and your partner vowed you would never become like them. So stop it already! Realize that your partner is not going to want to spend much time with you if he or she feels terrible about themselves in your company.

These nine relationship busters are just starting points, but they are important. They can secretly destroy a relationship if left unchecked.

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Know of any that got left off this list? What would make a good #10? Post your comments below and let’s have a conversation.

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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