5 Secrets of Happy People
Picking FightsFatal Flaw #5: You pick fights with your partner.
"I can't help it. He used to be great, but now he's just driving me crazy."
The ugly truth: Sure, he may work your last good nerve at times (and to be fair, you're not perfect either), but it could also be that you're testing him to find out if the relationship is really on solid ground. Creating unnecessary drama in your relationship is typically a holdover from childhood, explains James Tobin, PhD, clinical instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. While you were growing up, a parent unknowingly may have established conditions for love, and you've unconsciously learned that you have to look a certain way, act in a particular manner, or achieve certain goals before you're deemed worthy. The result: "You end up fearing that just as you're ready to make a commitment, your partner will see your true self and find a reason to not love you," says Tobin.
The fix: Don't jump to conclusions. Maybe your analysis of his behavior is just wrong. For instance, if your boyfriend had to cancel your big night out on the town, that doesn't necessarily mean he wants out of the relationship. Maybe he really did have to work late. Remember, even people who love you get caught up in their own lives. The realization that many things have little or nothing to do with you can mitigate the drama, says Tobin. "It's like changing the rearview mirror in your car. If you rotate it just a little bit, you get a whole new perspective."
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, July 2006.
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