MEN&WOMEN: Bail out if these traits don’t change

Wednesday March 18 2020

You have to be able to discuss anything that’s important to you. So don’t tolerate a partner who shuts down every time you try. ILLUSTRATION | IGAH


It’s hard to know what’s normal in a relationship. Especially if you haven’t had many before, making most of your ideas about relationships come from novels, films and the internet. This tend to play up the drama. Some healthy relationships are intense and argumentative, it’s true. But there are still some things you should never put up with.

So don’t overlook bad behaviour, however much you want to be with your new partner. Because if their behaviour doesn’t improve after you’ve talked things through together, then it probably never will. And life will gradually become miserable.

Like lying. Openness and honesty are the essential foundation of trust in a relationship. So if you’re with a habitual liar, you’ll never feel truly secure together.

Continual cheating’s also completely unacceptable. It’s possible to work through an infidelity and come out stronger than before. Once. But don’t put up with continual cheating. Continual cheating’s never ‘normal.’ So don’t accept it in your relationship.

Emotional abuse is also not normal. So don’t tolerate a partner who tries to control you, puts you down, repeatedly threatens to break up with you, threatens to kill themselves if you leave, blames you for their problems, or just makes you feel bad.

It’s good to help one another out. Like picking up each other’s groceries on the way home. But don’t put up with a partner who constantly expects you to do everything, or who’s forever quitting their job because they know you’ll foot the bills.

Chronic bad sex is also not normal. It could be there’s no chemistry between you, or you’re with a selfish partner who doesn’t care about your pleasure.

Good sex is essential to a good relationship. So if you can’t get it right, it’s time to go.

You and your partner need to be able to discuss getting married and having kids at some point. Without ultimatums, drama or sulking. And if you’re simply not on the same page? That’s a showstopper. And better to know sooner than later.

You have to be able to discuss anything that’s important to you. So don’t tolerate a partner who shuts down every time you try, no matter how diplomatically you raise the subject.

All couples get mad sometimes. But if your partner’s forever focusing their anger on you, then that isn’t normal. There’ll be times when your friends and family push your partner’s buttons. But if they’re forever angry about your family and friends, you’re in trouble. At best you’ll be forever walking on eggshells. At worst, you could get hurt.

In good relationships you support each other’s dreams and ambitions. So don’t put up with someone who doesn’t have your back. Whether they actively discourage you from achieving your goals, or don’t show any interest in celebrating your successes.

So as your relationship develops, be on the lookout for no-go behaviours like these. And if they can’t be fixed, bail out.


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