8 relationship behaviors your partner is secretly judging you for

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Once the honeymoon period wears off in a new relationship, the cracks often begin to surface. 

Suddenly, those once charming quirks suddenly aren’t so charming. Or perhaps you start regularly arguing over trivial things. 

Just because you’re in a committed and safe relationship doesn’t mean you should be totally at ease. 

Sure, by all means, be comfortable! But I’ll be honest: there is such a thing as too comfortable.  

If you want your union to last, be practical about how you move forward, such as avoiding certain contentious habits

In this article, I’ll take you through the behaviors that your partner might be quietly holding against you—things you should be concerned about, if you’re in it for the long term. 

Let’s get to it! 

1) Constant phone use

It wouldn’t be a 21st-century romance without technology (specifically smartphones) getting involved in some way or another. 

If you’re constantly glued to your phone, particularly during quality activities like meals, conversation, or movie time, this isn’t just annoying, it can make your partner feel neglected and undervalued. 

Once this becomes a way of life, your other half will likely realize this behavior is unsustainable; at this point, expect resentment to grow at a rapid pace. 

My ex had a pretty decently sized Instagram following. 

It seemed like every waking hour, she was mindlessly scrolling through her feed, idly anticipating a new notification. 

When we’d be out to dinner, she’d be so preoccupied with her virtual double life, it would be like talking to a brick wall. 

And if she wasn’t on her phone, she’d be on her laptop or tablet. 

Sure, her gadgets weren’t strictly drugs or gambling, but they represented a proper addiction nonetheless. 

Over time, this behavior really got to me. I saw the lack of basic consideration as a red flag. 

And sure enough, I was right–a few disagreements later, we decided to take a break.  

2) Poor listening skills

You’ve heard it before: communication is a core foundation of any functioning relationship. 

Hence, making the extra effort to listen actively will pay off. 

If you often interrupt your partner or blank out (or… turn your attention to your phone) while they’re speaking, this is a fairly clear sign of disrespect.

Eventually, you’ll partner will feel dismissed and ignored–in other words, it could well be the beginning of the end. 

Time to shape up. 

3) Being overly critical

Frequently being critical or nitpicking will negatively affect your partner’s self-worth and ultimately make them hesitant to share things with you. 

As their partner, you’re supposed to represent a safe space; if you can’t be that, then that’s hardly a good omen for the fate of your relationship. 

And your critical remarks don’t solely have to be directed towards your partner. 

If you generally exude a negative aura, always complaining and putting down others in your periphery, this act gets real old fast. 

At the end of the day, nobody wants to be around that kind of energy, especially those you are most intimate with. 

4) Jealousy and possessiveness

Unfounded jealousy is such a turn-off, mainly because it’s rooted in deep insecurity.  

If you make a fuss or ask probing questions every time your partner chooses to spend time with others or act independently, then that will make them feel trapped, claustrophobic, and mistrusted. 

It’s also flat-out stifling. 

If they’ve never given you a reason to be jealous before, then I hate to break it to you:  it’s you, not them.

Start acknowledging their autonomy and individuality as a person, or expect some rightfully deserved turmoil down the line. 

5) Lack of affection

I think it’s a safe assumption that for the majority of people, affection is an absolute necessity in a relationship. 

If you don’t often show affection or intimacy towards your partner, I’m telling you now, it’s smart taking steps toward correcting this behavior. 

Because if there’s no affection, it’s pretty much just a glorified platonic relationship/roommate, isn’t it? 

Feeling unloved and unwanted isn’t a great way to go about life, particularly when you’re dating. 

So, start practicing your cuddles or sending words of affirmation from time to time, it’ll do your relationship wonders. 

Showing affection costs nothing, after all. 

6) Not sharing responsibilities

This is a big one, and the cause of many a breakup. 

When things are one-sided in terms of household chores, financial obligations, or other shared duties, your partner will feel overburdened. 

Expect the contempt to start growing. 

It’s a relationship—you’re supposed to be a co-pilot, not a passenger. Neither of you should be reduced to domestic help. 

I learned this the hard way. 

My ex used to keep our apartment very tidy. She was admirably disciplined in the way she performed daily chores. 

I had my tasks too, like walking the dogs in the afternoon and washing the dishes. 

Typically, I’d put these things off for as long as I could, and occasionally, I just wouldn’t do them altogether.

In hindsight, this double standard was the root of many of our issues. 

She felt resentful towards me for many reasons, my lack of courtesy towards chores being one of them. 

And I can’t blame her. I needed to be better, only realizing it when it was too late. 

7) Unpredictable mood swings

Nobody wants to have to constantly walk on eggs shells in a relationship–this sort of defeats the purpose of being in one. 

So if you’re moody or hostile without explaining why, it can create a toxic, hostile environment, something that, if unchecked, will chip away at your partner’s affection towards you. 

Over time, they may even come to their senses and break away for good. 

There’s no excuse for perpetual moodiness, even high-stress levels. 

If this sounds like you, I suggest addressing your issues and the underlying triggers. 

Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and have empathy. 

Seek professional help if needed. 

Life is short–nobody wants this kind of baggage and volatility hovering over them. 

8) Taking without giving

Just like the New Radicals’ hit single goes: you only get what you give. 

Remember, a relationship is a partnership and the last thing it should be is one-sided. 

If you periodically take support, resources, or time from your partner and rarely reciprocate those gestures, they will feel used and disrespected. 

Successful relationships take effort and compromise, so if you want a harmonious life, start willingly doing both. 

Let’s say one weekend you make your partner marathon your favorite TV show with you for hours–be willing to do the same thing for them the next weekend, even if the genre doesn’t immediately appeal to you.  

It’s the thought that counts.

Try not to perpetuate a double standard–that just isn’t fair. 

Final words

The great thing is, in most cases, with a bit of effective communication these issues can be corrected. 

If both parties are willing to put the time in, then that’s the mark of a lasting and successful relationship. 

So talk it out–sometimes, we don’t realize things until we verbalize them. 

Be solutions-oriented and committed to change. If you run out of steam, regroup then keep going. 

It’s a process. 

And if things still aren’t smooth after all that, then perhaps it’s time for both of you to consider moving on. 

Lack of compatibility is more common than you think. 

Onto the next! 

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Justin Brown

As co-founder of Ideapod, a digital publishing platform reaching millions, and creator of The Vessel, a new platform for self-knowledge, I bring a unique perspective to the world of culture, politics and psychology. With a M.Sc. from the London School of Economics and M.A. (First Class Honours) from the Australian National University, I've dedicated my career to understanding and sharing new ideas and perspectives for a new generation.

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