Relationship Habits We Mistake As Toxic

Magazine Desk

28 February, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Relationship Habits 
We Mistake As Toxic

It is no secret that building and maintaining healthy, long-term relationships is not always easy. Once you are past the early, heart-fluttering phase of your romance, you are going encounter difficulties - every couple does - so it is important to develop healthy strategies for dealing with conflict. As every partnership is unique, so is the manner in which you have disagreements. What works for some couples might not work for others. In fact, some habits might even appear to be toxic, but that does not mean they are. Here are the relationship habits that everyone thinks are toxic, but those are actually perfectly healthy.

Fighting in front of your kid: Fighting with your partner in front of the whole family is not bad at all until you are respectful of one another in your disagreements, rather it could actually be helpful. The way you argue can be a model for the kids, showing them to work out disagreements. By showing children that it is normal and healthy to disagree, and by modeling negotiation, compromise, and sharing needs and feelings, the couple not only strengthens their own relationship but also sets up the future generation for relational success. But if you resort to excessive yelling and screaming, name-calling, and threats, that's toxic all the way.

Complaining nature: Complaints are a way to let our partners know about the differences. This is different from criticism; criticism attacks your partner's character, but complaints indicate behaviours they can change. Complaining allows for a grievance to be vented out and subsequently fixed. Complaints can be repaired, while criticism is destructive. That means the disagreement can be resolved, reasonably.

Taking your time: No one wants to hear the dreaded words ‘I need some time for myself’. It can make you anxious that your partner is thinking about splitting up, or that they are just interested in doing things without you. But there is nothing toxic about people needing a little room to breathe on their own. But if your partner is talking about moving out or separating, that is a different situation.

Ignoring your partner's texts: We live in an age with an expectation of complete availability and transparency. Consequently, it is considered bizarre if you do not make yourself fully available to your partner. But it can be quite healthy to not always be instantly available. Constant phone access can lead to neediness and controlling behaviours. Additionally, being glued to your phone can make you seem less interesting. You do not want your partner thinking you have no life outside the relationship either. It is a positive thing not to always respond right away because you should have other things going on in your life. Then, when you are free and ready, you can respond.


Set boundaries: Everyone has different emotional needs and thresholds, and they are not always naturally compatible with the needs and thresholds of others. That's why it is good to set boundaries for yourself. We often think about good relationships as having an element of accessibility; that person will be there for you no matter what. However, we all need to set boundaries in our lives, and that can be misinterpreted as toxic behaviour. Despite caring for others, we may have to be firm, clear, and consistent about our limits in order to maintain our mental health and emotional wellness. But boundary setting is anything but toxic when it comes from an honest place.

Being critical: In a relationship, having a ‘critical’ partner can be considered toxic, especially if feelings are hurt. And while that kind of criticism is not healthy, some criticism can actually be helpful for you and your partner. Honest criticism, done correctly, can actually be good for the relationship while bad judgment from one partner can have major consequences.

Having different friends: It is not uncommon for couples to have the same friends and to go out together with the same group of folks. But in some cases, there are good reasons why a person might have friends that they do not share with their partners - and there's nothing wrong with that. Cultivating friendships outside the relationship – belonging to both opposite sex and same-sex - allows partners to express their unrevealed feelings. This is especially true if you do not share the same hobbies and interests. So, as long as your communication is clear and open, and you are honest, it does not matter which friends you do or do not share.