10 Bad habits that could be hurting your relationship and how to break them

This article by Ana Santos may also be viewed on Female Network.

Nagging, jealousy, and being too controlling can kill a relationship. Here’s how you can stop doing them.

Men and their annoying “boy habits” are usually a hot topic during chat sessions with our girl friends. Viewers of Sex and the City are familiar with the scenes featuring Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, and Miranda talking about how their current beaus’ bedroom and bathroom habits were driving them up the wall.

But we ladies have our bad habits too.  Some are acquired during the course of a relationship, while some are quirks we just never manage to get rid of.

Read on to see if you’ve acquired any of these annoying relationship habits and find out how to get rid of them


Here’s a list of the common forms this bad habit can take:

– You constantly remind him to change certain habits or improve some perceived flaw.
– You bug him to do specific task.
– You go on and on and on about something that may not even be that important.

“My girlfriend is always nagging me to cut my hair, to dress up more fashionably like all her ‘fab gay friends.’ It gets really annoying, like I need to project a certain image to protect hers,” says Rob, a 23-year-old musician.

Just like Cougar Town’s Ellie Torres (Christa Miller) who just loves to get on her man’s case, women are notorious for picking apart not only a guy’s appearance, but also his spending habits or how he chews his food. But you should remember that you’re his girlfriend, not his mother. He might have to take this from his mom because he’s stuck with her for life, but you don’t want him looking at you and wondering why he’s putting up with this kind of behavior—at least, not over something as trivial as a haircut.

Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, a book that combines philosophy, history, analysis, and real-life situations with humor, offers 15 tips to avoid nagging. These include “suggesting without words” and not insisting that things be done according to your schedule have a far better effect than constantly reminding your guy to do something—and do it now.

(Photo from Cougar Town courtesy of ABC)


Here’s a list of the common forms this bad habit can take:

– You need to know where he is all the time.
– You call him or need him to call you several times of the day “just because.”
– You don’t want to go anywhere without him.

“In the beginning, it was cute,” says 28-year-old marketing executive Don-Don of his relationship. “But the longer we stayed together, the more she kept tabs on where I was or what I was doing.”

There are guys who like this form of affection and expression of love, but ask yourself if it works for your relationship. Some guys feel smothered—after all, wouldn’t you feel the same if the roles were reversed? You’re his girlfriend, not his jailer. You don’t want to end up like Glee’s Rachel (Lea Michelle), whose need to know every little thing about her boyfriend Finn (Cory Monteith) finally ended their relationship.

Just because you’re in a relationship doesn’t mean that you have to be with your guy 24/7. Try to recapture the free and independent spirit you enjoyed when you were single—when you were busy with yourself and your world didn’t just revolve around your man. Having him in your life should enrich it and help you to grow, not shrink your focus to him and only him.

(Photo from Glee courtesy of 20th Century Fox Television)


Here’s a list of the common forms this bad habit can take:

– You secretly check his phone messages or e-mails.
– You ask him seemingly innocuous questions about his whereabouts/activities, hoping to  catch inconsistencies.
– You look at his female friends as competition.

Think about why you are overly suspicious. Is it because you were hurt before and have become traumatized? Or maybe it’s because he cheated on you and you still find it hard to trust him? Envy is the root ofThe Vampire Diaries‘ Caroline’s (Candice Accola) issues, and look how she ended up!

If it’s the former, try and reassess your priorities. You were hurt before and want to avoid making the same mistake again—that’s understandable. But excessive suspicion and jealousy will make him feel that he shouldn’t trust you because you don’t trust him. Moreover, you should remember that even if another man hurt you in the past, the guy you’re with is not your ex. Give him a chance to prove himself without picking his every move apart.

If you’re with a guy who has cheated on you before, ask yourself if cheating is a deal-breaker for you.  The temptation to hang onto a relationship so you won’t be alone can cloud your judgment.  Know what you can and can’t live with in a relationship; walk away if you need to. You’ll thank yourself in the long run.

(Photo from The Vampire Diaries courtesy of Warner Bros. Television)


Here’s a list of the common forms this bad habit can take:

– You’re dependent on him for things you can’t imagine doing it for yourself anymore, like  driving you to and from wherever you need to go.
– You can’t decide on anything without getting his approval first.
– You don’t know how to do much without his help or if he’s not around.

The Nanny Diaries’ Mrs. X (Laura Linney) is a  classic example of a woman who has lost her sense of self in a relationship. And while she eventually reclaimed her identity, not all women are able to see that they need to make this change. So maybe you’re not a techie and maybe reading a map is like learning a foreign language to you.  But you should know how to do things on your own, whether or not you’re in a relationship. Some “guy” things can be intimidating to do or difficult to understand, but every girl worth her stilettos knows when it’s time take off the heels and get some work done.

Besides, you don’t technically need a man to do things anymore; all the help you need on how to do something is now just a Google search away.

(Photo from The Nanny Diaries courtesy of MGM)


Here’s a list of the common forms this bad habit can take:

– You feel entitled to being his priority all the time.
– You Eexpect him to buy you this and that (and then show your friends what he bought for  you).
– You expect him to give up things like time with the guys to be with you.

Being in a relationship should not mean taking on the world with just each other to hold on to. A healthy, balanced relationship makes room for each partner’s growth and is respectful of the need for me-time.

You need to nourish yourself outside of your relationship. So if he thinks watching the game is more fun than going shoe shopping with you, don’t take it personally. Think about it. If Gossip Girl‘s Blair (Leighton Meester), who is a shining example of a Queen Bee, was able to curb her “look at me” ways, so can you!

And speaking of buying things, there are many girls who expect their boyfriends to shower them with gifts and then brag about it. Don’t be one of them. Your guy might end up thinking that your affection can be bought, and you’ll end up looking foolish.

(Photo from Gossip Girl courtesy of CBS)


Here’s a list of the common forms this bad habit can take:

– You tell his friends and yours private jokes that only the two of you are supposed to know.
– You enjoy making him cringe.
– You purposely call him really cheesy nicknames in public.

Remember the movie, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, in which Andie (Kate Hudson) character insisted on giving her boyfriend’s penis the nickname Princess Sophia?  Yeah, that’s pretty much how you sound and how you’re making him feel.  That alone should tell you that this is a no-no.

(Photo from How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days courtesy of Paramount Pictures)


Here’s a list of the common forms this bad habit can take:

– He responds to commands like, “Fetch [me]” or “Carry [my bags].”
– You shout at him and openly reprimand him for simple mistakes.
– You make majority of the decisions in the relationship and expect him to follow.

It’s a standard joke, isn’t it? He calls you “kumander” as an indication that anything and everything you say goes. You laugh about it and may even be proud of it, but do you really want to be with a guy who asks “how high?” when you say “jump”? In The Proposal, Margaret Tate (Sandra Bullock) pushed around Andrew Paxton (Ryan Reynolds) so much that he was an emotional wreck whenever they were in the same room. Romantic relationships are too important to resort to one-upmanship.

Henpecked men look like emasculated versions of themselves and make for better doormats than boyfriends. Treat him as an equal, as a partner and not as a plaything. While he may appreciate your take-charge manner, give him the chance to make his own decisions or come to a compromise with you about what to do, how to do things, where to go, and so on.

(Photo from the Proposal courtesy of Touchstone Pictures)


Here’s a list of the common forms this bad habit can take:

– You give him the cold shoulder when you think he’s done – something wrong.
– You fume when it doesn’t do something – when you didn’t mention anything about it in the  first place.
– You assume that he can predict how you will react to something.

Dr. John Gray made a fortune with his book Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, which was based on the premise that the differences between the two sexes are just so vast that you cannot expect each other to “just get it.” Don’t follow Rachel’s (Jennifer Aniston) example on Friends, where she expects Ross (David Schwimmer) to pick up on her every mood just because they’ve known each other forever.

“We mistakenly assume that if our partners love us they will react and behave in certain ways –the ways we react and behave when we love someone,” writes Gray in his best-selling book. It’s just another way of saying that there won’t be any mind-reading going  on, no matter how long you’ve been together. And yes, that  even goes for when you live together.

(Photo from Friends courtesy of Warner Bros. Television)


Here’s a list of the common forms this bad habit can take:

– You want to test him.
– You think that being jealous is “cute” and a sign of love.

Take it from Kathryn’s (Sarah Michelle Gellar) example inCruel Intentions. No matter how  attracted a guy is to you, playing this kind of game gets old really fast. We’re not in high school anymore, where trying out each other’s love (and patience) is in order.  Mature, serious relationships call for mature behavior. Check your reasons for wanting to make him feel jealous. Is it because he’s non-committal or doesn’t seem to be into the relationship? Relationship site YourTango.com suggests telling him outright that you feel that he is ignoring you and you need a little attention. If he continues to dismiss your feelings after you’ve shared them with him, then it’s time to dismiss him from your life.

(Photo from Cruel Intentions courtesy of Columbia Pictures)


Here’s a list of the common forms this bad habit can take:

– Always being late because you go through several outfit changes before you’re finally ready  to leave.
– You ask him all the time how you look/if you look okay/if you look fat.
– You fuss excessively over your make-up, clothes and shoes when you’re out together.

Sure, you want to look good. But that shouldn’t get in the way of spending time together. Besides, the truth is, most women dress to impress other women more than to impress the men they’re with. A loving boyfriend will appreciate the effort you take, but will love you just the same whether you’re dressed to the nines or just in a t-shirt and jeans. Fashion and beauty should be fun; it’s not the be-all and end-all of life and should not be turned into an outlet for obsessive compulsive behavior.

In 10 Things I Hate About You, Cameron (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) called out Bianca (Larissa Oleynik) for being a self-obsessed brat who cared about nothing more than her looks and image. And while true love won in the end and they got together, it took a while before he trusted her again.

(Photo from 10 Things I Hate About You courtesy of Touchstone Pictures)

Cover photo courtesy of Marie Claire.