We can all agree on some major reasons to call it quits, like infidelity, abuse, or engaging in reckless behavior that endangers the lives of others, but here are 5 small habits that can eventually cause good people to part ways: 

1.Going global– if in the heat of the moment you say to your partner things like “you never load the dishwasher” or “you always forget to throw out the trash” you basically are telling them that they can never live up to your standards. Eventually, they will just stop trying, which is the opposite result you were after. Instead, try to be specific about a particular incident and not talk about past episodes.  Praise the person when a task is completed to your liking, and you will see that everyone responds far better to rewards than punishments 

2. Lack of encouragement– if you have a tendency to be critical, and are not very good with compliments, this can be really hard on your loved ones.  There is already enough negativity out there, and while I am all for openly talking about problems, to me the point is to find a solution and not just bitch and moan about your personal gripes.  When someone makes an effort to brighten your day or show you they care, you need to acknowledge and praise that effort.

 3. Procrastinating– Of course we all want to do things according to our own timeline, especially when we are not at work.  But if you constantly blow off your partner’s request to do something within a certain timeframe, then s/he will begin to resent you because you obviously aren’t really listening or making his/her requests a priority.  Ask them upfront for a timeframe, and be honest if that won’t work for you so you can both agree on a realistic timeline.

4. Being Tardy/Absent– If you are routinely late or fail to show up to things, regardless of all the great excuses beyond your control like work, traffic, train delays, etc. the stories will eventually grow old, and your partner (or kids) will come to the conclusion that s/he can’t count on you.  Rely on modern technology if you have to and use your calendar not just for work but also personal commitments, then come up with some strategies to build-in extra time for delays. 

 5. Disorganized– It’s fine to have an occasional mess here or there, but if disorganization is a constant pattern in your life, this may cause real problems for your partner, especially if you forget to pay some bills or keep getting skipped over for a promotion at work, or you keep having to pay to replace lost things. When someone else has to spend time, money or energy dealing with your problems (that easily could have been avoided) that person is very likely to become increasingly agitated or resentful. 

These kinds of conflicts tend to show up most  often between couples that are opposites, like an ADHD person married to an uber-planner or a Type A living with a Type B.  For those of us that strive for perfection, it is hard to understand how someone may not care about being on time or keeping things organized; for those of you that are laid back, it may be hard to comprehend how some of us could lose it over seemingly minor things.  But, the point is not to be dismissive or try to establish who has the “right” or “wrong” outlook on these situations.  Instead, take a look within and see which habits you could tweak in order to keep the peace (both at work and home) to keep good people in your life.

By Regina A. DeMeo, Esq.