You loved that she was a health freak.
She looked sexy and fabulous. Your health was in safe hands.
It’s downright annoying because she dictates what you eat and how much you eat.
You loved his passion for music.
He does nothing but work on his music all day.
His voice irritates you because it reminds you of the things he’s failing to do as a husband.
When you first meet someone, you rarely know you want to be with them for life.
Sure, you might feel that initial attraction, but it’s usually just a surface-level sort of feeling.
But once you get past that, something else starts to unfold.
You start to see traits of the person that are much more powerful than the initial attraction or liking.
These traits then become the basis of your decision to pursue a long-term relationship.
You’re so attracted to a specific trait that just like that, you decide, “This is the one.”
But sadly, the same traits you find most attractive are, at times, the ones that bring a relationship to its knees.
In my interaction with people, I’ve found the following seemingly attractive traits to be the same ones that ruin their relationships.
The laid-back and chill attitude.
Everyone loves a laid-back soul. People who try to control everything are tough to be around.
A laid-back person wants to enjoy life, stresses about very little, if that, and is almost always very chill. You wish you were born with their kind of attitude.
They are the ones you want at the party because they carry a warm vibe that radiates to everyone. They have an uncanny ability to pull everyone out of their shell because they aren’t judgemental about a thing.
This dude will make you forget all your troubles. And I mean every last one. So you can see why it can be very cute if you marry them.
But only at first.
Eventually, you realize this person has zero or very little ambition. They cruise through life with no focus and bear no responsibility over their lives.
You find yourself doing everything — from planning holidays and managing the home to deciding where and how you want to live.
If you have kids, it gets even worse because parenting becomes your cross to bear. And heaven knows parenting ain’t for the faint of heart.
The problem with having partners like this is that, with time, resentment starts to simmer because the relationship loses its balance.
Couples in an unbalanced relationship often dislike the people they’re with because the relationship no longer fulfills them.
The generosity streak.
Photo by Yaroslav Muzychenko on Unsplash
At the risk of stating the obvious, women are attracted to men who are givers.
And this has always been the case going back from the times of our ancestors.
The funny thing, though?
It didn’t even start with the woman herself.
Back then, she didn’t have a choice about the man she would be married to. Her parents had a say here.
What did they look for exactly? How well he could provide and care for their families.
Those who didn’t have much to offer were considered not men enough. Or not worthy of marriage, and no father was willing to entrust their daughter to such hands.
Today? Women still want the big fish.
At a time when so many men have forgotten the role of a man, women still want generous men.
If you’re wondering, a man’s role is to protect, provide and profess his love to his wife.
So simple. Yet so hard to find.
But I digress.
In some cases, relationships with generous men partners tend to go south for several reasons.
Generous men turn their generosity into tools of emotional manipulation.
He gave you that trip to Paris, so you can bet he expects you to do everything he wants — whether you want to or not.
And when you resist, he turns around and reminds you of what he gave you. Or any conditions he may have laid down before giving you said thing.
You start to lose your power to make decisions.
Why? Because smothering you with generosity makes you feel like you owe them each time.
Generosity can also be used as a substitute for availability in a relationship.
You see, these husbands shower their wives with niceties but never make time for the things that truly matter.
It’s just you and the kids at the dinner table. You’re the only parent who attends school meetings and doctor’s appointments.
But hey, he has given me a good life, so why would I complain? Too many women would trade places with me.
You tell yourself.
But deep down, you know what’s happening: The generous streak is slowly flipping your marriage on its head.
This is still happening to a friend. Her husband showers her with gifts and stuff, but then she never has control over her time. Her weekends are planned out for her, and he expects her to follow through with them. It’s tough.
It’s also very hard for generous people to set boundaries with others.
Looking from the outside in, a person’s generosity can seem harmless — just a way to make someone else happy.
But gauging from the generous people I’ve encountered, I noticed that they give to others to feel more wanted. More relevant. It’s as if, without giving people stuff, they feel insignificant.
So they keep giving to the extent that they have no boundaries anymore. So people start to manipulate and abuse their generosity.
If you find yourself in a relationship with such a person, it can be very difficult to show them that they are being manipulated.
The social butterfly.
Photo by Ann Danilina on Unsplash
My first thought when I met Sue was that she had this magnetic pull that only God would have given her.
I was new to the city, and she made me feel as if I’d known her for years. So relatable. So welcoming. So casual.
It didn’t surprise me that she had a billion friends all over the place.
But back home, the wind blows very differently.
Her husband isn’t exactly impressed with this social butterfly that draws anyone in with the flap of her witty wings.
He resents this side of her because he’s often dragged into affairs he’s not prepared for.
She’s a member of about seven different community organizations.
This means her time is spread out thin much she struggles to carve out time for her family.
Her husband complains about the lack of privacy in his own home.
You see, she hosts new people before they find their feet.
As you can imagine, if one stranger isn’t coming in, another is walking out. Her husband says he feels like he lives in a shopping mall.
But on a serious note, it has created a massive rift between her and her husband because he feels neglected, ignored, and weighed down by her commitments.
This is a pervasive feeling among people married to social partners.
Sue means well. I can vouch for her.
But not everyone means well. Some social people are driven by ulterior motives.
I read a story of a very social guy who was only out to flirt and initiate multiple relationships.
His wife thought he was just being himself until several women revealed that he had made passes at them. She unraveled many stories showing his philandering ways.
Being conscientious with money.
Photo by Allef Vinicius on Unsplash
As someone who hustled when I was younger, I admire people who know how to manage their finances, whether saving or investing.
And in a relationship, you want to know where your money is going.
There are too many stories about partners who end up sinking each other in the murky waters of bankruptcy due to terrible financial decisions or a lack of financial discipline.
So yeah, let’s watch our money like a hawk.
Or should we?
One thing I noticed with people who are too conscientious with money is that they lose the plot somewhere down the line.
Conversations become about how everything costs.
A trip to the supermarket turns into how the world is coming to an end because XYZ has gone up three and a half times and how you need to save more.
Money no longer becomes a means to an end but a thing to be guarded constantly.
This is all penny-pinchers think about, so they lose the point of being alive — to enjoy life and get the most out of it.
Oh, if you want to know whether someone is just careful with money or is merely a penny pincher, here’s what to look for in the latter:
They always split the bill. Never once will they treat someone else.
They never donate to charity because it’s always about how much they have.
They know the amount in their bank account to a t.
They can be jealous when you get more money or better opportunities than them.
They never share; even when they do, it’s after thinking about what they’ll have left.
Penny pinchers are no fun to be around.
The “I hate conflict type.”
If you look at most couples, you’ll see that one always dominates conversations more than the other.
This is the one who always speaks up when they feel a pebble in their marital shoe while the other one, well… goes along for fear of upsetting their partner.
If you ask the latter, they’ll say they hate conflict. And it’s often for a valid reason, like having grown up in environments that were hypercritical.
So stating their opinions becomes unnerving as they always want to be the good guys.
But, people who avoid conflict are very unpredictable. You never know their true stand on anything because they never dip their feet in uncomfortable discussions.
Other times, they resort to stonewalling or intentionally side-stepping conversations.
They would rather walk around with a smile plastered on their faces all day rather than acknowledge any uncomfortable emotions.
Because of bottling up negative feelings, some sink into the dark hole of depression.
As a partner, you can never feel safe around them because they never communicate their true feelings. So what do you do? Walk on eggshells constantly.
This can be very difficult for a relationship because someone needs to be willing to get in the ring with you. Why?
Because whether we like it or not, difficult conversations must be had once in a while.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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