Vulnerability/intimacy can be difficult, especially in the initial stages of a relationship.
However, trying to initially minimize our unbecoming behaviors instead of working on them is a surefire way to turn someone off. Before meeting my husband, I continually found myself in relationships with men who would manage to hide particular quirks/bad behavior until after we started dating.
Although it felt like a one-way street at the time, I was also guilty of some behaviors that ended my relationships back in the day.
Ask yourself whether you are exhibiting the following behaviors that could be offputting to your date/partner.
Are you shaming/embarrassing your partner in a public setting?
It started as a casual dinner night with my husband’s friend Conner and his date Brandi. The four of us enjoyed wine and conversation. Although Brandi wasn’t my cup of tea, I tried to make conversation.
Things felt awkward and tense, so I excused myself to do some dishes. My husband asked Conner if he wanted to join him and some buddies for a basketball game the following week.
Conner looked excited, and then Brandi jumped in, looking annoyed. “Why would you play basketball with the boys (boys was said in a mocking tone) when you’re terrible at sports?”
Conner instantly shut down and said he couldn’t make it. My husband was bewildered as the two of them had played sports in college and said that Conner was a perfectly ample athlete.
Shortly after, they broke up, and Conner said that Brandi would continually “joke” and poke at him when they were with friends in a demeaning and just plain rude way.
Do you forget simple details about your partner?
Recently I saw a video where several men were interviewed and asked about their girlfriend’s eye color.
At least half of the group answered incorrectly, with their girlfriends beside them. Yes, the video could have been staged, but be honest: oversights or lack of attention to seemingly effortless details can be earth-shattering.
Years ago, I was in a relationship when a friend asked my boyfriend what he loved about me. He couldn’t think of one answer and sarcastically answered, “whatever everyone else likes about her, what does it matter?”
Small details matter, and not taking the time to learn/acknowledge those unique qualities about your partner will result in them feeling underappreciated.
Are you trying to buy “peace” instead of working through problems?
Ryan and his current girlfriend seem relatively happy.
However, he follows an age-old pattern in all his relationships. After he and his girlfriend fight, he makes it up to her with gifts instead of communicating or dealing with the underlying issues.
Jewelry, shoes, and lavish trips are all used to brush things off, and we have observed Ryan repeating this pattern throughout his dating history.
However, it is a temporary fix. The cracks eventually get too many, and Ryan becomes single again and repeats the same patterns. Working through problems is essential; anything else is a temporary fix.
Are you pressuring someone to move at a pace that is too fast for them?
John was a sweet guy I dated in my last year of college.
Our relationship was a whirlwind. Within a couple of weeks, we were boyfriend/girlfriend and had fun. We had known each other through mutual friends, so we also hung out and got to know each other before we dated.
Around four months into our relationship, we decided to take a quick trip to Vegas to see some friends. On the way there, John joked about us eloping. He continually expressed his desire to get married and have a family, and all I kept thinking was that we had only been dating for a few months.
It quickly became apparent that John wasn’t joking. He pressured me to move in together, get engaged, and do things I wasn’t ready to do.
The pressure was too much, and I ended things with John.
In the past, some of my behaviors were a turn-off. Even today, with my husband, we inevitably do seemingly small things that upset the other person.
However, any behavior can be worked on and eventually corrected. Doing so will benefit your relationship and make a romantic partnership successful long-term.
The cherry on top is that identifying these behaviors helps us become more self-aware and allows us to work on changing those behaviors.