Sometimes we take a perfectly good relationship and drive it off the cliff. Hindsight is 20/20, but wouldn’t it be nice to have some tips to avoid some potential deal-breakers? If you’re guilty of any of the behaviors below, you may be to blame for wrecking things:
1. You’ve been acting like a green-eyed monster.
It usually starts out innocently: You overhear a phone call with a female voice responding, and your mind starts to wander. You should probably ask who’s on the other end of line, but don’t want to sound nosy; so instead, you end up inventing a scenario in your own mind that makes sense. Perhaps it’s his ex-girlfriend, or someone he works with that has a crush on him. Pretty soon, you get the urge to spy on your guy — and find yourself checking his email and texts when he’s not around. Once this green-eyed monster rears its ugly head, it’s pretty hard to ignore. Now, he can’t even look a waitress in the eye without getting a glare of jealousy from you. Next thing you know, your man finds out that you’ve been reading his texts, and it’s “game over” for your relationship, because he doesn’t trust you anymore.
How to stop doing it: The best way to curb feelings of jealousy is to take a deep breath and relax any time you feel that monster’s voice starting to creep up on you. Next, put your trust in your partner. Know that he is on the up-and-up. Whenever you get the urge to freak out with worry: Stop, take a deep breath, relax — and try to chill out. Let it slide, because soon, you’ll see that your partner is being honest and your fears were totally irrational.
2. You’ve co-opted your boyfriend’s life.
If you’ve been dating a guy for less than three months and you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, you’re busted for having appropriated someone else’s life. Question #1: Are you really into college football all of a sudden, despite having never watched televised sports before the two of you met? Question #2: Do you find yourself using his favorite catchphrase all the time with other people? Question #3: Would you say that your interests have completely changed in the past couple of months — i.e., specifically since you’ve been dating?
How to stop doing it: Just be yourself, exactly as you are today. It’s a simple mindset change, but you have to trust that he liked you for who you really are, inside and out! He didn’t care that you have no idea whether the Dallas Cowboys play for the NFL or are a college football team. He liked your cute phrasing; he didn’t want to date a parrot who simply repeats his words. He liked you for all the cool new things you introduced him to and are passionate about. You rock, and you know it! Learn how to love yourself, and he will, too.
3 . You’re rushing the relationship instead of living in the moment.
Do you have your bridesmaids’ dresses already picked out before you’ve even ordered dessert on your first date? Does it take all your willpower to refrain from asking him whether he’d like to get married in the mountains or on a beach? Did you recite your first name with his last name and then jump up and down because they sounded so good together? If you answered “yes” to any one of the questions above, you’re guilty of living in the future.
How to stop doing it: Women trying to rush through the stages of a relationship and putting the pressure on for marriage sooner than their partners would like is one of the things that men seem to complain about the most. Trust me when I tell you that if you’re spend all of your time planning for a potential future, you’ll miss out on the real life that’s happening all around you right now. So try to keep your excitement limited to the present; otherwise, you’ll look back on your staid life years from now and wish you had reveled more in those wonderful, just-started-dating moments instead of obsessively planning your next steps.
4 . You’re being too clingy.
Despite sounding like something out of Star Trek, a “cling-on” girlfriend is someone who can’t seem to do anything without her man by her side. She practically follows him to the bathroom, and gets nervous whenever he isn’t around her or within her line of sight. She balks when he has to leave for work or go back to his place. There’s a fabric softener called “Cling Free” that keeps your clothes from getting stuck together — so if he starts buying it in mass quantities, take note: He’s trying to send you a message, and that message is to back off.
How to stop doing it: It’s natural to want to spend lots of time with the man you’re involved with romantically. It’s normal to want to share experiences with whomever you are dating. However, you don’t want to be so attached at the hip that he can’t even brush his teeth without you being right there by his side. Take an honest look at your behavior; if you think you may be crossing the line, slow things down a little. Make sure you have at least one activity every day that you can do all by yourself. Let him have some alone time as well — you might be surprised at how much more you have to talk about after spending some time away from each other.
5. Everything you say is driven by your own insecurity.
To men, there’s nothing less attractive than an insecure woman. Every time he gives you a compliment, you shoot it down with a negative response: “I’m not pretty,” or “I’m horrible at sports,” or “I don’t look good in anything right now.” Regardless of the words you choose, the the real message you’re sending to your partner is: “I hate myself.” Why on earth would any man want to be with a woman that emanates constant negativity and obviously hates herself? If you keep telling him bad things about yourself, he just might start to believe you — and skedaddle.
How to stop doing it: You can easily negate the hate and insecurity you’re feeling with some easy self-love steps, which I’ll share with you here. Step 1: Write down your three best features. Take a good, long look at them before moving on. Step 2: Write down your three best qualities and commit them to memory. Step 3: Look in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re beautiful, smart and confident. Step 4: Now, get out there and start acting like it!
Marina Sbrochi grew up in Dublin, Ohio and attended Ohio State University. She’s a forever Buckeye, a dating coach in Dallas, Texas and the IPPY Award-winning author of Stop Looking for a Husband: Find the Love of Your Life. You can learn more at stoplookingforahusband.com, on Facebook (facebook.com/StopLookingForAHusband) and on Twitter (@MarinaSbrochi).