A little acceptance can go a long way when opening our hearts to new people. Sometimes, however, we may encounter behaviors that should not be overlooked.
I am as imperfect as they come. I get grouchy, like real grouchy. I have road rage—why people in Colorado don’t know how to use their blinkers is beyond me. I pop my toes so frequently that sometimes it sounds like I’m attempting to write background beats for Dr. Dre.
We all have our habits and weird quirks that make us who we are, but how do we know when a habit or quirk is actually not a quirk but an unhealthy behavior that’s toxic to a relationship?
I had a friend who would get wasted and punch walls. She was living with her boyfriend at the time and it got to the point where he became the wall she was punching. They were in a seriously unstable relationship regardless of whether or not they loved each other; they were not helping each other become better human beings.
A healthy relationship is about the willingness and desire to help each other reach their full potential and there can be a thin line between accepting someone’s imperfections and accepting someone’s unhealthy behavior.
5 Questions to Ask Yourself to Determine if it’s an Unhealthy Behavior
1. Is it safe?
Does the behavior put you at risk? Your partner? Other people? If it’s a risk to anyone then it’s not healthy and should be confronted and dealt with; if it can’t be resolved, then it’s time to move on as it’s not benefiting anyone to stay together.
2. How does this behavior make me feel?
First pay attention to the feelings you have when the other person exhibits the behavior. Do you feel threatened? In danger? Do you feel worse about yourself? Indifferent? If the feelings are super negative then it’s not helping each of you reach your full potentials.
3. Am I owning my feelings?
Being able to actively listen and openly communicate on a regular basis is vital to a healthy relationship. When the behavior arises and it makes you feel a certain way do you express it? Is time given to work through the feelings? Resisting the urge to openly discuss an issue can be an indication that there is fear surrounding the situation. You must have the freedom to be honest and forthright in a relationship or the relationship is not serving you.
4. Is there any way that this behavior can stop?
In other words, is this a learned habit or an innate personality trait? If it’s a bad habit, habits can be changed overtime. If it’s something super serious like a drug problem or anger issues those can also be dealt with if love and patience are in place. If it’s something about their personality though, like they degrade you in front of others, that behavior steps over acceptable territory; if it won’t stop, the relationship needs to end in order to preserve the self and move on to healthier interactions.
5. Can I put up with this for the long term?
Maybe it’s something super simple, like he eats his food in two bites or she clips her nails in public; but even though it’s simple or stupid, if it turns out to be a behavior that won’t ever change is it something that can be lived with? Those little things could be snippets of a bigger issue or problem within the relationship and the bigger issue is the one that should be dealt with first. If it is just the stupid thing is it a stupid thing that can be overlooked because overall everything else is fine?
It’s vital to tap into the source of the behavior and look at whether or not it’s harming anyone. If it harming you, the other person, or both of you emotionally, spiritually or otherwise it needs to be determined whether or not it can be resolved—if not, it’s time to move on to save both of you the continuing heartbreak of the unhealthy connection.
[image: via α is for äpΩL † on flickr]