Sam did it again! He did what he swore to himself he wouldn’t do.
He found himself looking at his phone checking sports scores instead of focusing on his wife Jackie when she was talking about her day.
They’d talked about him being more present when she was trying to share what was important to her and he’d promised…
But the habit of checking his phone was sometimes too strong to ignore.
He knew it was an unhealthy habit if he wanted to keep his marriage strong but sometimes he allowed his “habit” to win his attention when it might be more important to connect with his wife.
Our habitual ways of reacting can either connect us with others or build walls and separate us.
When we continually practice thoughts which turn into actions that we’re calling “unhealthy”…
We push love away that we say we want.
These habits sneak up on us because we do them unconsciously from habit and are usually unaware of the damage they can do to our relationships.
Here are 5 unhealthy love habits that erode love without you even knowing it…
1. You criticize everything the other person says or does and make it wrong
In a survey of men we did several years ago, one of the top problems in their intimate relationship was constantly being made wrong.
Whether you’re a man or woman, in the guise of wanting to do it “right,” you can make the other person’s way wrong in order to get your own way.
This is a habit that can sneak up on you because you aren’t often aware you’re even doing it!
The truth is that someone else’s way can be even better even though it’s different from your way.
If you’re not open to seeing this, you’re closing valuable doors to connection and love.
2. You don’t truly listen
So often if you’re like most of us, you’re preoccupied by your own thoughts and not really listening to others, especially those closest to you.
Like Sam, you can be distracted not only by your inner thoughts but also by splitting your attention with another activity like checking your phone.
When you’re not tuned into the other person, being present, and making eye contact…
You’re not truly listening and allowing the opportunity for connection and understanding to pass you by.
A common complaint of many women is that their partner is emotionally unavailable.
When exploring this complaint in a coaching conversation, one woman we talked with saw an opportunity for deeper emotional sharing and connection with her partner that she’d missed.
She’d missed it because she’d not only been preoccupied with her judgments of him but also had her back turned while he was talking.
By asking a single question and giving him her full attention, she learned she could have opened the door to a more meaningful conversation that she craved.
For more love, become aware of how you listen and allow yourself to be fully present and open to those opportunities, no matter how small.
3. You defend your way and aren’t open to the other person’s point of view
It just seems natural to defend your point of view.
After all, if you don’t defend it, who will?
But when you defend, defend, defend…
There’s no possibility of discovering a way that works for both of you and there are only arguments and building resentment.
When you drop your defense (and that doesn’t mean you abandon your ideas)…
When you’re willing to listen to understand the other person’s viewpoint…
They will not be as likely to get defensive, push back and close down.
There may be an opening and honoring of each other that may not have been possible before.
4. You jump to conclusions and make assumptions
We all are constantly making up what the two of us call “stories” about what happens and what someone says or does.
Like most of us, you can make assumptions about what you think you see or hear which may or may not be true.
When you act from those assumptions without looking to understand the truth…
You can build up resentment that can last for years that’s based on nothing but your thoughts that you believe to be true.
For more love and connection, become aware of when you’re making assumptions and jumping to conclusion to try to make sense out of someone’s words or actions.
Stop and find out before you act on your assumptions that can damage a relationship.
5. You aren’t willing to see your part in a disagreement or misunderstanding
Every disagreement and misunderstanding takes two to make it happen.
When you pause to see how you might have contributed and are willing to own it…
The possibility is there for repair and greater understanding.
This doesn’t always happen immediately but if you give yourself some space and allow emotions to calm…
Deeper feelings of love can be created between the two of you.
Over the years, a common complaint we’ve heard people have about their partners is that the other person doesn’t accept responsibility for their part in misunderstandings.
It all starts with you honestly accepting YOUR part within yourself and then to the other person.
When you do, you’ve opened a door that may not open any other way.