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The Psychology Shop

Bad Romantic Relationships: Part 2


Do You Have An Icky Boyfriend (Or Girlfriend)?
When To Stay And When To Run! (part 2)


In part one of "Do You Have an Icky Boyfriend (or girlfriend)" we discussed some of the basic issues of dating and two warning signs that a relationship maybe in trouble: Drama and Poor Relationships. In this section we will continue to review other warning signs.

Communication
Communication is important in all relationships. It is how we let another person know our thoughts, desires, and disagreements. Communication can take place through words, sign language, body movements, writing, dancing, and drawing. It can be joyful or agonizing. Without communication all relationships would be rather dreadful, indeed.

  • How well does your partner follow through with what he says he will do? For example, does he call you when he says he will on a regular basis? I’m not talking about being five minutes late….I’m talking about missing several hours or days. Granted, unexpected events do happen which may prevent someone from calling or following through on something, but if this happens on a regular basis, look out.
  • Does you partner insist that his or her way is the only way? Yikes! It is hard to be around someone so perfect. While each one of us has strengths; no one in existence knows everything or knows how to do everything. A huge challenge in any relationship is letting someone complete a project their own way or for some, having a differing opinion. Remember, you and your partner came together as individuals, not as a clone of one another.
  • Any use of name calling, constant blaming, emotional abuse or physical abuse is unacceptable at all times.
  • Does your partner threaten to leave the relationship during heated discussions or disagreements? At these times do you hear (or say) "Fine, we should just break up then" or "I want a divorce"? A primary rule that I tell all the couples I see is that you never, ever threaten the relationship unless you truly are planning on leaving. Every time a partner threatens to leave the relationship (without truly planning on doing this) he or she only weakens the trust within the relationship.
  • In times of conflict does your partner go silent and refuse to talk about the issue (or anything else for that matter), even for days at a time? To refuse to discuss a topic is called stonewalling. Granted, there maybe times that you both need a break before talking about a topic, that’s fine as long as you agree to meet within a few hours to discuss things. Otherwise, stonewalling only creates more frustration and conflict which further weakens the relationship.

Behavior
In an ideal world, a partner’s communication always matches his behavior. If that doesn’t happen, then behavior is what matters most. A person can say the nicest, sweetest, kindest, most loving things, yet if their behavior is indifferent or worst, cruel, then their words are not true. This is not to minimize the negative impact that words can have (such as insulting, verbal abuse); but if you are questioning your relationship, be sure to look at your partner’s behavior.

  • Does you partner make time for you? Reasonable time that is… Having to spend every minute of every day or every evening together after you just met is a bit excessive.
  • Do you find that your partner helps out with chores, and I’m not just talking about BBQ. Cooking on the grill is fine but running a vacuum cleaner and cleaning a toilet is better.
  • Are you sitting by the phone, not knowing what activity to plan because you never know when your partner will call with a last minute event or worst yet, frequently cancel plans? If this happens, I strongly suggest that you listen to Aretha Franklin’s song R-E-S-P-E-C-T. If a friend did this to you often, you probably would be hesitant to make plans. Same thing goes for a boy/girlfriend. You deserve consistency.
  • Have you not yet visited your partner’s home? If not, why not? I have known women who have dated their partner for over a year, and yet, have never been to his house. It is not necessary to like your partner’s home, but at least it should not be a secret. Some reasons why partners refuse to let their "loved one" see their home include: ongoing other relationships such as a wife, your partner is a hoarder (his home is filled with gobs of stuff), roommates make illegal drugs, or other odd psychological syndromes.
  • When you and your partner are out, does he constantly look at other woman? Really, this is not a genetic trait that all males possess (no matter what he says). This is actually just rude behavior.
  • Does your partner respect your culture and background? If not, why are you with him anyway?
  • When it comes to sex, does your partner consider your needs or is it all about him (or her)? If sex is totally one-sided, resentments and frustrations will eventually emerge. While discussing sex can be awkward at times, take a deep breath and take the conversation plunge. It could prevent a lot of difficulties later on.

Other Warning Signs
This category consists of huge warning signs which are actually a category to themselves.

  • Is he narcissistic? Narcissistic means that a person loves themselves, many times excluding the needs of others. People who are narcissistic are often quite charming and fun to be with, at least initially. Eventually, you will notice that life is really about them. It is about their schedule, their interests, and how something or an activity will benefit them. "Enough about you, let’s talk more about me". True narcissists do not realize that they are narcissists which makes any chance for a change in behavior extremely difficult. This may be a good time to run.
  • Addiction Ongoing substance abuse/addiction and gambling problems will always create difficulty in any relationship. This does not apply to folks who may have had previous difficulties, just those who are actively using. At the very minimum, do not keep an addiction problem a family secret, there is help through support groups or individual counseling. If by chance you are thinking that the only thing your partner needs is someone to love him and accept all of his problems, think again.
  • Money Have you ever heard of the "U-Haul Date"? You date someone once and the next thing you know, he or she is pulling up with a U-Haul and is ready to move in. I support the theory that financial issues should be openly discussed. If you find yourself financially supporting your partner (which you never intended to do) and your partner has a history of not really supporting himself... run...run...run.

Our article will discuss things that you do which are really red flags that something is wrong in your choice of a partner. You will also learn a few very simple rules of dating which if followed, will create more relationship happiness.