1. Relying on the Silent Treatment
Icing your partner out after a fight can hurt your relationship physically and emotionally, says a study inCommunication Monographs. If it sounds familiar, you’re definitely not alone: Researchers cite this “demand-withdraw” pattern as the most common way conflict plays out in committed relationships. Routinely giving the cold shoulder makes you both less satisfied overall and obviously makes it practically impossible to communicate with each other. It’s like plugging a volcano that’s about to explode—it’ll only make it worse in the end. Instead of turning your silence into a weapon, try taking an agreed-upon time-out from each other and talking after you’ve both calmed down.
2. Rolling Your Eyes
Obviously it’s one thing if he makes an over-the-top corny joke just to get your “come onnnnn” reaction. But if you find yourself reacting to a lot of what he does or says by sending your eyes skyward, it’s worth squashing the impulse. It can actually come across as contemptuous and send your guy subtle signals that you don’t respect him, especially if he’s expressing how he feels during a fight. Cutting it out cold turkey takes some practice, so lady up and apologize if you catch yourself doing it at a sensitive time.
3. Saying “Always” and “Never”
Unless it’s “you always make me orgasm” and “I never want to break up with you,” speaking in absolutes can automatically make him feel defensive, even if what you’re saying is valid. Let’s say he goes MIA any time he’s with his boys. Before saying “you always ignore me when you’re out!” go for “I feel like it’s hard to get your attention when you’re hanging out with friends, even if it’s something important.” Using “I” statements shows you’re not trying to blame him, just explain how his actions affect you. He’ll be more likely to want to find a solution if he doesn’t feel like you’re making unfair accusations.
4. Making Fun of Him in Front of His Friends and Family
When it comes to poking fun in a cute way, absolutely go for it. But there’s a difference between innocent jokes and zingers that could land him in the burn unit. When he’s with you and people who are important to him, he’s especially concerned with how he—and your relationship—come across. Each guy has a different threshold for this, so just keep his comfort in mind even when trying to win over the people he loves.
5. Saying You’re Fine When You’re So, So Not
Such a classic. You’re pissed and don’t want to let it go, but for whatever reason you don’t feel comfortable voicing exactly why. It’s understandable, but not quite fair. One way I’ve squashed this is by implementing this rule: I don’t get to be annoyed about something unless I explain why. If I refuse to talk about it, that means no grudge-holding. It’s pushed me to express my feelings when there’s something I really need to talk about and let go of things that aren’t big enough to matter.