8 Bad Relationship Habits You Need To Kick Before Getting Married

Kelsey Borresen
HuffPost
The good news? It’s not too late to work on these rough spots.
The good news? It’s not too late to work on these rough spots.

When you’ve been dating someone for a while, it’s easy to form bad relationship habits, which, if left unchecked, have the power to crack the very foundation of your partnership.

We asked therapists, psychologists, professors and other relationship experts to tell us which negative patterns should be broken before you start thinking about marriage. Here’s what they had to say: 

Bad habit No. 1: Expecting your partner to read your mind

“Stop thinking you should get things you want without having to ask. Yes, it’s nice when your spouse anticipates your needs. But none of us is married to a mind reader. Though we have no guarantee that we’ll get everything we ask for, it’s our job to ask. In fact, asking is a sign of strength.” ― Winifred M. Reilly, marriage and family therapist and author of It Takes One to Tango 

Bad habit No. 2: Trying to make your partner jealous 

“Getting married is all about building a secure base for both of you. When you try to make your partner jealous as a punishment or as a way to get their attention, you undermine the security of the relationship. Try talking about your frustration or need to be seen instead of playing this game.” ― Ryan Howes, psychologist

Bad habit No. 3: Constantly asking your partner if they love you

“It cheapens the expression when it’s not given freely and spontaneously. You can say ‘I love you’ and hope he or she says it back. You can say, ‘One reason I love you is ... ’ and hope for some reciprocity ― at least sometimes. But asking to be told all the time can make you seem insecure (which you probably are, so you might want to examine that). It also pressures your partner in a way that may stifle the genuine moments of wanting to express love. If you have a partner who is a bit miserly with ‘I love yous,’ talk about that, but don’t ask for it.” ― Pepper Schwartz, professor of sociology and certified sexologist

Bad habit No. 4: Getting stuck in a boring routine 

“You’ve met someone, you’ve dated for a while, maybe you have lived together and now you are planning on marriage. Your idea of fun has become hanging out watching TV, going to the occasional movie and maybe for a wild time, a weekend away at a bed-and-breakfast. I interviewed hundreds of long-married people for my book 30 Lessons for Loving, and according to them, that’s not enough. Before you get married, start having adventures. Break up the routine, try adventures where you are forced to step out of your comfort zone. Think a camping or canoe trip, a few weeks on your own in a foreign city, or, even better, a week or two of volunteer service together in a needy locale.” ― Karl Pillemer, professor of human development at Cornell University

Bad habit No. 5: Playing the blame game 

“Some couples are in the habit of blaming each other for their own mistakes, no matter what. Example: ‘You left the water running...’ ‘Oh, that’s because you called me away in the middle of washing my hands.’ This is a toxic habit because when partners are so busy defending themselves and blaming their partners, they lose the chance to be kind to each other and to feel close. The opposite of blaming is taking responsibility for your own actions, and that is the hallmark of a mature and emotionally healthy relationship.” ― Samantha Rodman, psychologist and dating coach

Bad habit No. 6: Mindlessly checking your phone

“Nothing says disconnection more than two people gazing into their phones when they’re eating dinner together or snuggled up on the couch. ‘We’ time can be in short enough supply as it is. Make the time you spend together count. ― Winifred Reilly 

Bad habit No. 7: Threatening to leave when the going gets tough 

“When dating, some people threaten to leave the relationship when they’re losing a fight or wrestling with difficult issues. But once you’re on the road to marriage, you need to drop that tactic and view the problems as issues for ‘us’ to address. There are certainly exceptions (e.g., when abuse is the problem), but generally when you say you’re ready to commit to marriage, you are agreeing you’ll stick around through rough patches and not use bailing as a bargaining tool.” ― Ryan Howes

Bad habit No. 8: Grilling your partner about where they’ve been and with whom

“If they want to share, they will. If you are suspicious, then something sordid is at stake, and trying to catch your partner in a contradiction, badgering them or asking questions like a prosecuting attorney will just make matters worse. You have to back off and try to have conversations that are truly engaged about what your partner may have done during any given day, and not seem as if you are trying to control his or her life like a parent. If you are really getting paranoid, then just be watchful ― but quizzing only makes your partner angry, defensive, perhaps insulted and maybe a better liar.” ― Pepper Schwartz 

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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