1. They have “don’t know what they got ’til it’s gone syndrome”.
Our dating culture emphasizes the philosophy of “there’s plenty of fish in the sea” and this is reinforced by apps like Bumble and Tinder that make it seem like another, better relationship could be just around the corner. We see all these images of smiling, happy people and we wonder if the grass would be greener with them. We don’t realize that good people — ones who are kind, smart, emotionally intelligent and willing to put effort into a relationship — are increasingly rare. These are people who you need to try to make it work with and see if a real partnership could be there, because they don’t come around that often. Unfortunately, it often takes losing someone great and realizing that most of the other fish in the sea don’t measure up in order to realize it.
2. They purposefully make the other person feel insecure.
There’s a game we play in dating that’s about making it seem like you care less than the other person. This may work at the beginning while you are each enjoying the thrill of the chase, but after you’ve been on a few dates it’s toxic to continue to try to instill insecurity in the other person. One of our fundamental human needs is to feel accepted by others, and when you don’t get this need filled by the one person above all who is supposed to do it, your behavior can become immature, needy, manipulative — or you could be tempted to cheat. The whole purpose of a relationship is this feeling the other person refuses to give you so they feel more secure (and don’t run the risk of getting hurt). It’s selfish and brings out the worst in most people’s personalities.
3. They don’t put themselves in their partner’s shoes.
To a toxic person, they are always the victim. When there is a fight in the relationship they are the victim and the other person is the aggressor, it’s black and white. They don’t think about their actions and what could have caused someone else to act hastily or how they contributed to the conflict. There is no way to win with this person unless you’re up for a lifetime of being the bad guy.
4. They don’t realize how quickly life can change.
When you’re young and life has been good to you its easy to assume things will be like this forever, but life can turn on a dime. People get sick or in accidents. People lose their jobs. Just like there are good times in life, there are also times where everything seems hard or impossible. Because of this, their immature view of relationships may be that relationships are always supposed to be fun. They don’t understand commitment because they think about a hypothetical future point at which they stop having fun. They don’t realize that this is just as likely to be a result of them having a down period in their life and needing someone to lean on as it may hypothetically be about them needing to be there for someone else when times are tough. Relationships are a partnership for a reason, everyone needs people who will be there for them in thick and thin.
5. They get crabby.
We’ve all seen relationships like this. They seem to constantly be on edge or annoyed at the other person. They snap at each other and it’s uncomfortable for everyone around them. This is what happens when you keep a scoreboard in your relationship, you get bitter because you think you are giving more than you are getting and so everything the other person does annoys you. The way to solve this problem is to learn to let go. If there are larger issues in your relationship, address those and work on them (without bringing up the small stuff). Focus your energy on set times you will work on relationship problems and on letting go in the moment when you feel annoyance creep up. Remember that you deserve a quality of life where you are happy and not constantly bitter and that all you are doing by feeling crabby with your partner is poisoning your ability to feel happy.
6. They don’t understand how much little gestures mean.
For most people, little every day affirmations of love mean so much more than a big romantic gesture once in awhile. These little things add up because it makes your partner feel like a priority in everyday life. Every couple should read about the 5 languages of love and make sure they are showing their partner that they are appreciated in a way they understand. It could be as simple as a good morning text that lets your husband or wife know they are on your mind.
7. They let their ego get in the way.
They refuse to work on problems in the relationship because they don’t want to admit sometimes they aren’t a perfect person. For some reason, they don’t understand that everyone has personality flaws and apologizing and working on them throughout a relationship is completely normal. They need to view themselves as someone who doesn’t make mistakes, as if all conflicts are the fault of the other person. They have difficult with the words “I’m sorry” when those should be said freely and often in a relationship.
8. They expect perfection.
Likewise, some people don’t understand that their partner will have flaws. They take it as a personal affront, or get embarrassed because they have an expectation that relationships are always fun and not something you work on. When you get into a relationship you spend so much time thinking about all the awesome qualities your new person has, it shouldn’t be abnormal to understand that most great characteristics have a “shadow side” — a less than desirable quality that while not ideal, is something that is worth putting up with because it’s part of the package. For instance, some people are visionary thinkers that are exciting to talk to and are often successful in their careers, those are not the same people who are typically good at detailed thinking like remembering specific dates or showing up on time. Other people are very responsible and put a lot of effort into everything — but they wouldn’t get out of their comfort zone unless you helped them along. There is good and bad to everyone, and you need to work with the individual person you are with instead of expecting them to be everything you desire.
9. They take their partner’s efforts for granted.
Rather than realizing the effort their partner puts in, or their generosity when they give to the relationship, they expect it as a baseline. They don’t say “thank you” for the little things, or even acknowledge that they happened. Part of this is insecurity because they feel threatened that by their partner being “good” they might somehow be “less good”. They view the relationship as a competition between two people instead of a partnership, and they worry that they won’t end up on top. Unfortunately, this quality is hard to fix. You can’t nag or wish or guilt your partner into realizing how good they have it. They need to come to a point on their own where they see what a relationship would be like without all the work you put in.