As dreamy and fairytale-esque love is painted out to be, it’s not uncommon that lovers fall into a certain less fortunate pattern…
In this, and despite loving with all their hearts, they can find themselves repeating the same unhappy story over and over again
Even if they’re not doing so on purpose, they notice themselves engaging in certain habits that seem to put a dent in their love lives.
That fated, happily-ever-after-love is soon stripped away, leaving something far less perfect exposed.
If this cycle of love and loss is something you’re not all that unfamiliar with, this one’s for you.
Because chances are, you’re not alone in returning to these habits again and again.
And whilst these habits may seem small or insignificant, they could be the very culprits sabotaging your own version of a happily ever after (whatever that might look like, for you.)
So, in a bid for a happier fairytale, let’s show these 8 poisonous habits straight to the door.
These may seem like no-brainers to some (lucky you, if this applies), but they are surprisingly common pitfalls that can trip up even the most devoted of couples.
1) Ditching communication
I harp on and on and sound a little like a broken record, but never underestimate the importance of communication.
Even when times are tough and you’d rather choose to knuckle down and hibernate (using your emotions as a comfort blanket), this is not the right path to be choosing.
True – it may seem like the easy path. The tempting path. The more comfortable path.
But at what cost? Your relationship, most likely.
Communication is absolutely key to any relationship. It’s one of the pillars, the foundation, the building blocks, etc., etc.
And while it may seem easier to just let things slide, it’s often a fast track to misunderstandings and resentment.
This doesn’t mean you need to have deep and meaningful conversations 24/7.
But being open about your thoughts, feelings, and expectations can save you from a world of confusion and hurt in the long run.
Whether it’s a small annoyance or a major concern, not communicating can create invisible walls between you and your partner.
And these walls can slowly erode the foundations of your relationship.
So, if you want your love to last forever, it’s time to say goodbye to the habit of not communicating.
Don’t push yourself upon them, but try to remain supportive, lighten the subject, and show up when needed.
2) Neglecting self-care & forgetting to love yourself, too
There was a time in my own life when I thought that being in a relationship meant putting my partner’s needs far above my own.
Because that’s what loving someone entails, right?
Well, turns out that’s far from true.
While it’s important to cater to your partner’s needs and wants, it’s equally crucial to take care of yourself.
Self-care is not selfish (as I’ve learned the hard way.)
If you’re giving and giving and giving, and receiving nowt in return, you’ll inevitably end up feeling burned out, exhausted, unwanted, and resenting.
All of these will slowly lead you to hate yourself. And your partner (eeek!)
So, if you want your love story to stay closer to that happily-ever-after, remember to invest time in yourself, too.
Do your skincare. See your friends. Buy that game. Read your book. Do whatever rejuvenates you.
Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup.
And taking care of yourself ensures that you’re at your best – not just for your partner, but for yourself too.
3) Taking each other for granted
A familiar trap many of us fall into in long-term relationships is taking our partners for granted.
So used to the presence of your partner, you forget what life was like before them.
You assume they’ll always be there, so start forgetting to acknowledge their efforts, or forgetting to express your love and appreciation.
He makes you coffee every morning.
And once upon a time, you used to light up looking at that all-too familiar silhouette bringing you a steaming hot latte (made just the way you like it).
But now, you’re so accustomed to this ritual, you no longer look up at nor even acknowledge the person ferrying the coffee in from the kitchen.
It’s easy to get caught up in the routine of daily life and overlook the little things.
But it’s these very things – the coffee brought to you every morning, the sweet text ‘thinking of you’ text in the middle of the day, your favorite meal handcooked on a Wednesday evening – that make up the glue that holds your relationship together.
And not to instill you with fear, but if you’re not careful, this tendency to overlook the ways in which your partner loves you can create feelings of neglect and resentment.
A resentment which slowly eats away at your relationship.
So, if you want your love story to last forever, it’s essential to show your partner that you value their presence in your life by actively expressing your affection and appreciation…
Not just assuming that they know how much you care.
4) Holding onto past mistakes
You’d think that in continuation from the above, and your tendency to forget to show appreciation for the little things, your mind would gloss over the mistakes, too.
Whilst you grow complacent with love and all your partner does to add to your life, you grow equally aware of the past mistakes that line up outside the door.
You can’t help yourself, but in the midst of minor disagreements you grow so frustrated, you open the door and let these mistakes in; one by one.
And these mistakes surround you and your partner, looming over where you sit at the kitchen table and poisoning everything that they touch.
Mistakes happen. Such is life, and human nature.
But in order to move forward and grow together, it’s important to learn from these past mistakes – then to forgive, and let go.
This doesn’t mean forgetting everything, nor sweeping pressing issues under the rug (where they still collect and form such a huge mound that you trip over.)
It’s not wiping your memory or allowing someone to trample over you, but also not weaponizing these past errors as ammo in future disputes.
Instead, direct that energy towards communicating, forgiving, and growing together.
5) Avoiding vulnerability
To truly love is to open yourself up to the possibility of loss, which is quite terrifying when you think about it.
In addition, there’s a special kind of magic that happens when you allow yourself to be fully seen by someone you love.
It’s scary, it’s raw, and it’s incredibly beautiful.
Opening up and showing your vulnerability is like handing over a piece of your heart to someone else.
However, many of us tend to build walls around our hearts to protect ourselves from the potential hurt that comes with baring our souls.
10 foot-tall walls seem far safer than sharing sordid parts of ourselves with someone else.
And it’s this habit that can prevent us from experiencing the true depth of intimacy and connection that comes with being fully vulnerable and committed.
Unfortunately, in a relationship, it’s this vulnerability that creates a deeper bond, a stronger understanding, and an emotional intimacy that unites couples.
So it’s important that you remember that love isn’t just about the shared happy moments, but also about feeling like someone has your back when you’re in the shadows.
6) Keeping score
It’s funny how complacency brings couples to forget the small ways in which their lovers make their days better…
But tends to instead hand out scorecards to them both.
Have you ever caught yourself keeping a mental tally of who does what in your relationship?
He was 3 hours late after I spent all afternoon cooking his favorite meal.
She shrunk my favorite sweater.
He called me stout.
She said I didn’t care enough about us.
He said I was the reason our relationship was headed for ruin.
Maybe you’re constantly comparing who makes more sacrifices, or who contributes more to the relationship.
This habit of keeping score soon creates such a toxic competitive environment, making your relationship feel more like a contest or a jabbing war than a true partnership.
Relationships are about teamwork and about working together – not about competition nor rivalry.
Hence why this habit of keeping score does little to bring you and your partner together, and instead forces you apart.
If you notice one person giving or taking more in unequal amounts, communicate this and work through it together as opposed to two players on opposite sides of a chess board.
7) Sweeping issues under the rug
To confuse you even further!
Finding the balance between which issues you tackle head on, and which you choose to strike off your scorecards is a tricky one.
Because you can’t allow yourself to be so complacent, so ‘cool’ and so ‘chill’ that you allow someone to toss you about like a broken puppet.
Neither can you cling to every little mistake and add it to your list of wrongdoings.
Sweeping issues under the rug might seem like the easy way out in the moment, but it’s a habit that can lead to far greater problems down the line.
Because even if you think you’re sweeping them under a rug, it’s these unresolved issues which have a way of piling up and exploding into major conflicts when least expected.
You’ve ended an 8 year marriage because someone left dirty socks in the kitchen.
This isn’t a call to turn every tiny issue into a massive, heated discussion, but a reminder that addressing appropriate problems as they arise can save you from a lot of heartache in the long run.
8) Prioritizing perfection over reality
We grow up on fairytale stories of beautiful princesses and white knights, of star-fated lovers and destinies.
Hence almost all of us have some fantasy about soulmates. About meeting our ‘perfect’ partner – always understanding, always patient, never making mistakes.
This leaves us remarkably unprepared for reality; where relationships are not about achieving perfection, but about accepting flaws, understanding differences, and loving each other despite these so-called imperfections.
Aiming for or expecting an always perfect relationship can create unrealistic expectations and unnecessary pressure on both partners.
Because inevitably, perfection doesn’t exist.
(Hopefully, I’m not the first to let you in on that little secret.)
And it’s often this embrace and commitment towards each other’s imperfections can lead to a far deeper connection and a more authentic relationship.