If your relationship has started to get a little bit fractious — or you've split up — you need to understand why. Small disagreements can turn into big problems if you let them simmer.
You're not alone. Men sometimes drive their partners away without even knowing it. They ruin otherwise healthy relationships in ways they may find surprising or not even think about.
So here are five of the worst culprits, along with why they can turn good relationships bad and what to do to make sure they don't.
1. Bad habits could be ruining your relationship
In relationships, the little things mount up. Letting your toenails grow to outlandish lengths, even though you know she hates it, is fine....once or twice. Saying "phwoarrrr!" every time an actress undresses on telly is funny, until she tells you it's not. Belching loud and proud while she's eating is no problem, except it probably is.
Reining in a few of your bad habits is not tantamount to being 'changed'. It's not being 'under the thumb'. It's just common courtesy to someone you love and respect.
2. Being anti-social to or about her friends
You might not like some of her friends very much, but you don't have to show it. Remember, her friends are a reflection of her. She likes them — probably loves some of them — so if you actively dislike them you're telling her all sorts of things she doesn't want to hear.
At the same time, gushing over people you don't have much time for can appear shallow and fake. So go for the third way. Be polite, be friendly, but don't be too fawning in trying to ingratiate yourself with her 'besties'.
3. Being threatening or argumentative
We don't mean being physically threatening — no man in his right mind would do that. But there is a certain argumentative style — practised by both men and women — that deals in absolutes. You might think her behaviour requires a definitive statement of your intent, a black and white representation of just how angry or upset you are. But what that means in practice is that you reach for the nuclear option during spats and threaten the entire foundations of the relationship.
It's awful. Build a relationship on trust and mutual care-taking, and if you're genuinely unhappy, end things amicably — don't just threaten to.
Always or occasionally taking the easy route
It's your anniversary so you thoughtfully send her an e-card. It's your turn to cook something a little bit out-of-the-ordinary so generously you pay for a take-away. You've not seen her for a few days so you kindly send her a text.
Maybe in your relationship this is just the way things are done, and if so that's fine. But many women would consider these examples — and many others — as taking the easy route or, more damagingly, not putting any effort in to the relationship.
Not doing your fair share of housework
You might have guessed this one was coming. Study after study has suggested that one thing that's guaranteed to turn her off and drive her away is your refusal to pitch in with the housework. That's not just true if you're cohabiting. If she regularly has to pick dirty pants and mouldy crusts off the floor of your room just to feel like she can stay the night it's going to lead to negative conclusions about your potential as a long-term bet eventually.
Cleaning the loo, picking up your boxer shorts, clearing away the dishes and changing bed sheets are all nurturing jobs that fall under 'motherly love' rather than 'loving relationship'. "So clean up. Ten minutes spent doing the dishes will pay for itself if you want a partner who does more than just clean up after you."