8 Bad Relationship Habits to Kick This Year
The PDA Habit
Here's the thing about bad or annoying relationship habits: You don't usually realize you have them until someone else points them out. And who's really going to have the heart to do that, anyway? Okay, twist my arm. Do any of these sound familiar?
You stick your tongue down your partner's throat in a cab, in a movie theater, in the back pew at church. You call each other sickeningly syrupy names (you know what I'm talking about, Schmoopy). The thing is, you make your friends nauseous. You make parents cover their children's eyes.
The fix: The next time you're in public, imagine your mother is seated next to you. I really hope this stops you.
The (Other) PDA Habit
We're not talking sloppy kisses; we mean your smartphone. Your manners fly out the door when you're glued to your iPhone. You send emails at the dinner table. You tweet at the movies. You talk to your partner ("Mm hmm, mm hmm, yep...") while simultaneously playing Angry Birds.
The fix: Try to get through an entire evening without your PDA -- and focus on present company instead.
The TV Habit
Every night's a threesome that includes you, your partner and that trusty old pal: the DVR. True, there's a lot to be said for the comfort of getting into your pj's and catching up on your shows together, but you can't always act like the Old Married Couple. Until, well, you actually are. And even then....
The fix: One week without TV. (Yes, Hulu counts as TV.)
The Smothering Habit
9:05 a.m. text: "Morning! Get to work okay?" 10:10 a.m.: "Soooo bored at work. You?" 10:11 a.m.: "Is it 5 o'clock yet?" 10:45 a.m. phone call: "Hey, what are you up to?" And it's not even lunchtime yet.
The fix: One hour without contact. If that's too aggressive, try 10 minutes and work your way up. It's fine to want to be in constant contact, but give yourselves some time to miss each other.
The Teasing Habit
It's all meant in good fun, right? You tease him about his haircut, his clothes, his eating habits, his job, the barren walls in his apartment, the way he cleans his car, his toothbrushing, his sunglasses, his [fill in the blank]. After a while, it's not funny; it's actually pretty annoying and demoralizing.
The fix: Don't try to go cold turkey and stop the teasing -- it's not realistic. But try to trim it by 20 percent.
The MIA Friend Habit
Tell me if this sounds familiar: You interact with your best friend about once a month -- to "like" one of her posts on Facebook. When you finally do hang out with the group, you bring your significant other and you both keep looking at your watches, whispering to each other and wondering how early you can bolt.
The fix: A weekend with your friends -- without your partner. Remember: Your other relationships need nurturing too.
The Overanalyzing Habit
You spend more time talking about the relationship than you do actually experiencing the relationship. Open communication is one thing, but when you take it to the lunatic fringe -- Where will we be in five years? What did it mean when you said... -- what you actually could be doing is sabotaging things.
The fix: Shock therapy. (Kidding.) But on your next date night -- or any day -- try to live in the present instead of thinking about the future.
The Non-Dating Habit
You've found someone you love, so you don't need to go on stupid dates anymore; the courtship is over! Taking your partner out to dinner and a movie sounds about as logical as taking a surprise vacation to Guam.
The fix: 8 p.m. Reservations. Wine. Candlelight. Romance. (Don't let it die.)