Some people even base their relationships on things they’ve observed in pop culture, movies or in the relationships of their parents or friends.
1. Are you being a Wonder Woman?
You love helping others, so you never say no to your man – but it’s exhausting. Just a week ago, you said: “This is his last chance!”… but then you took the jerk back. Figures, because you’re the who’s always trying to “save” the relationship.
You might be feeling guilty because you didn’t pull your weight in a previous relationship. Or perhaps you don’t get enough recognition at work or from your parents, so you seek validation in your love life.
2. Are you the damsel in distress?
You have low self-esteem and may have had overprotective parents who stifled your independence. You freak out at the thought of being alone, so you cling on to bad relationships.
You think of your man as your “hero” and depend on him for everything – but these are sky-high expectations no one can ever meet.
Pick up a new skill, such as investment know-how or cooking – your newfound mastery will help you feel more self-reliant.
Keep track of your achievements with a reward system – for instance, buy yourself a cute dress whenever you learn a new dish. Whenever you put it on, you’ll be reminded of what you’ve achieved.
3. Are you the bossy mummy?
Remember how your mother used to brush your hair and nag when you misbehaved back were five? You’re doing that now – to your 35-year-old guy.
Unsexy? Yep. Plus, you’re so domineering you make him feel less of a man.
Most women naturally have maternal instincts. But you combine this with a desire to feel needed, which is why you go overboard.
Differentiate between the things he can do himself (like washing his clothes) and the “extra” things you do for him, like baking him cookies.
Rather than scolding him for his mistakes, take a softer approach – gently explain why flip-flops don’t fit the dress code of that posh restaurant.
4. Not respecting their privacy
If your partner has nothing to hide, then he or she shouldn’t have a problem sharing their social media and email passwords with you, right?
Well, that’s where you’re wrong. Privacy is a healthy part of every relationship, and having both doesn’t mean your partner is hiding something from you.
In fact, experts agree that expecting unfettered access to your partner’s email and social media passwords or constantly keeping tabs on them can be a form of digital abuse.
If you’re unable to respect your partner’s need for privacy, then it’s a sign that you don’t trust him or her. As such, ask yourself why that is, and consider having an open discussion with him or her instead.
5. Keeping score
Scorekeeping is a common occurrence in many relationships, and many couples employ this method for financial contributions, division of household chores and who handled the last round of diaper duty.
However, experts say keeping score can become toxic, as it can affect your ability to empathise with your partner.
This, in turn, builds resentment and can result in passive-aggressive behaviour and misunderstandings.
Avoid continually reminding your partner about a mistake he or she may have made a while ago to enforce your point.
Instead, deal with each conflict or issue as it happens and let it go once you have addressed it together.
Understand that your relationship is not a competition, and aim to communicate your expectations clearly and kindly while focusing on the positive aspects of your relationship.
6. Buying solutions
Conflicts are another common part of normal relationships, but when something pops up, your partner (or you) choose to resolve the matter by burying the issue with gifts, holidays or other pleasantries.
Why is this toxic? Not only is it a superficial solution that merely hides the problem for another day, it also means your partner (or you) aren’t taking responsibility for the role you both played in creating the conflict. This often leads to bitterness and resentment.
While doing nice things for your S.O. after a fight is a nice though, it isn’t a replacement for dealing with the underlying issue.
What you can do? Do something nice for your partner after you’ve put in the work to resolve the conflict together.
7. Playing emotional and mind games
Maybe you’ve had a hard day at work and your partner wasn’t as supportive as you wanted him or her to be. Or maybe you’ve been eyeing a new handbag and your partner hasn’t been picking up on your repeated hints.
As such, your frustration with your partner is at an all-time high because they should automatically know what you need, right? Wrong, say relationship experts.
Blaming your partner for your emotions or expecting him or her to know exactly what you want is selfish behaviour.
It can create a codependent relationship, which can lead to you hiding your true emotions from your partner and, in some cases, manipulating each other towards your individual feelings and desires.
Start by taking responsibility for your own emotions and communicating your desires. It’s important to be open and respect each other’s boundaries in this scenario
8. Being unkind
Unkindness isn’t just limited to mean words and actions. In a relationship, unkindness can be as simple as not being empathetic, being unsupportive or not being concerned about your partner’s overall well-being.
Being unkind can also include acts such as failing to prioritise or even compliment your partner.
This doesn’t mean you need to resort to over-the-top solutions. Instead, start small by thanking your partner for something as simple as bringing you a cup of coffee.
Make it point to do just one kind thing for your partner each day, whether it’s doing the dishes after dinner, wishing each other a good morning or even just asking how their day was before you go to bed.