When talking about breakups, most people tend to ask, “what led to it?” And most of the time, everyone replies with an enormous reason. Kind of like a novel, the climax is huge enough to draw the readers, and puts the main characters in a downward spiral. And yet, when the story first begins, things tend to build up, don’t they? The main issue, the big one, starts as a collection of smaller issues, or one single issue that expands like a balloon, until the characters have to face it.
The moral is that certain tiny issues, when left unhandled for too long, can expand into something that resembles an apocalypse. This doesn’t mean you should be paranoid about every tiny thing in a relationship, just that there are times when you sense a repetition. And during those moments of repetition, maybe you should practice a bit of restraint, and try out a different method of controlling the situation.
But what are some of the tiny issues to be wary of?
You may not notice it, but when the following issues build up, they can be enough to cause two people to break up.
#1 Being overly critical. Keep in mind, this isn’t nagging, which comes up next, by the way. Being overly critical means that when your partner makes mistakes, you’re too quick to scold them like a child. If they procrastinate too much on a work project, delay their team by a week, and come home depressed, it’s pretty clear that they were “scolded” at work. If you spend the next two days rubbing it in, they’re going to lash out at some point.
Sometimes, you have to sit back and remember they’re adults. They should be able to learn from their mistakes without you having to make it worse. Your job is to offer advice, lead them in the right direction, and listen to them vent. Does this mean you should let things slide? Of course not. It just means there’s a time and a place, as well as an approach.
#2 Nagging. “Did you do the dishes? Why haven’t you done the dishes? Did you get to work on time? Maybe if you went to sleep earlier instead of watching Netflix, you wouldn’t be so tired all the time. Have you thought about that?” All this, this isn’t scolding, this is plain annoying.
Being in a relationship is more about leading by cheerleading. Literally, if you’re your partner’s biggest fan and cheer them when they’ve done something good, they’ll be more inclined to keep doing it. If you offer advice when something doesn’t go well, you get a healthy relationship.
#3 Never saying “sorry.” As trivial as this sounds, it’s really not. Think of it as the capability of admitting when you’ve done something wrong. If you can’t possibly admit to your mistakes, and only want to acknowledge when you’ve excelled, you’re lacking in a realistic perception of yourself, and you’re just being too full of yourself. And that’s not fair to your partner, especially if you’ve done something negative towards them.
Saying sorry isn’t just about that one word, it’s about being able to say, “I’m not perfect. I understand that I made a mistake, and rather than finding an excuse, I’m admitting to it, and realizing that it caused you pain/anguish/stress.”
#4 Barely saying a loving phrase. This means saying “I love you,” or a simple “you look beautiful/handsome.” It’s not that your partner needs validation *hopefully they don’t, because that’s a whole other issue*, it’s actually just about adding another log to the fireplace.
To keep a relationship fresh, exciting, loving, caring, etc., you have to keep that fire alive. Doing things as little as acknowledging their attractiveness, or your feelings toward them will keep that fire burning. Otherwise, if you never do it, they might feel like you don’t care as much as you once did.
#5 Not balancing a home life and a social life accurately. This especially applies to couples that are composed of an introvert and an extrovert. For instance, say you’re the extrovert, and your partner is the introvert. You may feel more inclined to getting out of the house than they do. You might start getting resentful, bored, or annoyed. But there is one thing to keep in mind: not all introverts and extroverts are the same.
You could easily be an extrovert who is laid back and perfectly comfortable with the idea of staying in, as long as you do something productive. Or you could be an introvert who has no issue going out, as long as you don’t have to interact with people you don’t know or deal with crowds of people.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who isn’t an extrovert or introvert, but you are, it’s just a matter of finding a comfortable middle ground. Otherwise, you run the risk of one of you feeling like it’s all about the other person.
#6 Helping around the house. Sounds like a tiny issue, but it can add up. Notice this reason doesn’t read “being messy.” Sure, being messy might annoy your organized partner, but have you thought of what would happen if you kept being messy, but cleaned up after yourself? They’d complain less about your messy ways. They’d feel like you’re stepping up to the plate and sharing responsibilities. If you leave it all up to them, they’re bound to feel like you’re taking advantage of them, and making them your caretaker.
#7 Bottling up emotions, thoughts, opinions, anger, etc. It helps to think of everyone as a ticking time bomb. If you bottle too much up, the meter goes up, and if it reaches a certain point, you’ll explode. Surely, you’ve been there before when your partner is making poor choices, and you sit back and bite your tongue for fear of them feeling hurt.
There’s a way to voice your concern without it being overly critical, nagging, or annoying. If you let things slide too much, and don’t deal with the tiny issues as they come, you run the risk of blowing up one day in the worst of ways, and you’ll end up regretting some words and actions.
#8 Not compromising enough. If your partner loves to play video games, but you are bored with it, is it right to keep them away from the video games? What if you enjoy having people over for small get-togethers, but your partner hates it, and tends to leave before everyone arrives? Is that okay?
To put it simply, being in a relationship means being able to compromise. It isn’t all about you and your wants and needs. It’s about the needs of your relationship. To make things work, they could leave you alone to play for a few hours while they focus on something else. Or you could find a game you’d both enjoy playing. Maybe your partner could attend 2 out of the 4 monthly get-togethers.
#9 Ignoring your partner. If you text your partner, don’t leave their text floating for two hours after they reply to you. If your partner texts you, don’t sit there and do something else for hours before you reply. Unless you’re legitimately busy, stop. If your partner is trying to get your attention in person, and wants your input on something, don’t ignore them and focus on the cat video on YouTube.
Ignoring someone is like saying that what they have to say isn’t very important to you. If you keep making them feel that way, they’re bound to feel like they’re not very special to you anymore.
#10 Hygiene. Didn’t expect this on the list? It can definitely lead to a breakup. If you don’t take a shower for, say, four days, and expect them to have sex with you, you’re sadly mistaken. If you walk around with greasy hair more often than not and you tend to smell, will they be happy parading you around their family and friends?
How about their company meeting? How professional will it look if you walk around, smelly feet and all, and introduce yourself to those people? Imagine the image of your partner that they’ll suddenly have. At that point, you’re a liability.
Tiny issues are the origins of the bigger issues we tend to think of when breakups happen. It’s those tiny issues that keep building up and up over the span of time that really make a huge difference.
Rather than ignoring the small issues or pushing them aside because you don’t think they’re important enough, try and make small changes to fix them and prevent them from getting larger.