Everyday bad habits can destroy relationships over time.
If you ask what causes people to break up, they might say money, lying, or cheating. And that is true. But, like death by a thousand paper cuts, there are even more insidious everyday habits that kill relationships too.
For nearly three decades, I’ve had a front-row seat to thousands of relationships. My ongoing research — a long-term study funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1986 — gives me the opportunity to study, closely and over time, critical patterns in marriage and divorce, romance, and relationships.
Today, here’s what I know for sure: Small stuff is a big deal.
To create a truly happy, healthy relationship, every couple, of every stripe, should take the most overlooked and under-discussed relationship killers to heart.
Here are the five most overlooked relationship killers and solutions to those bad habits.
1. Skipping me-time.
Many couples say that space or giving each other plenty of time for themselves is the single most important reason they think their relationship survived.
Time alone gives partners those vital moments to process thoughts, pursue hobbies, and develop new topics to talk about! Too much space or long separation isn’t good, but partners who pursue their own hobbies, interests, and friends tend to be happier than those who depend on each other for everything.
Solution: Talk to your partner about the benefits of “me-time”, and emphasize that you still want couple time too. Don’t keep secrets, and share with your partner some of the fun or funny things that happened during me-time.