Acting Like A Child? You Don’t Have To
New year, new start…unless, of course, you’re still acting like a child with your partner or they’re still acting like a child with you. Our habits shape our life so if you and your spouse or partner are butting heads repeatedly, perhaps it’s time to take stock of what you’re both investing into the relationship.
Here are 10 behaviours that suggest your relationship dynamic is child-to-child, child-to-parent or child-to-adult, rather than adult-to-adult. As you guessed, the latter is where you want to be, the latter is where conflict is resolved quickly and effectively, and the latter is where we grow closer over time. Ultimately, it’s when we have adult-to-adult relationships that we have the best chance of having one that is happy and fulfilling for life. Continue behaving child-to-child, child-to-parent or child-to-adult, however, and you’ll be likely living a life that is increasingly separate, and may even separate.
10 Signs You’re Acting Like A Child With Your Partner, The Consequences & The Alternative
1. Behaviour: You play tit-for-tat in discussions or arguments.
Consequence: You create unnecessary conflict as a result.
Alternative: Deal with the issue in hand, only, with the attitude of wanting to truly hear what they are trying to tell you and reaching a solution.
2. Behaviour: You refuse to be the first person to say sorry.
Consequence: Arguments are dragged out, responsibility evaded, and animosity affects other aspects of your health and life.
Alternative: Be the first person to say sorry, it feels good, starts the journey to resolution, shows you care, shows self-confidence, and gets you back to love and romance, faster.
3. Behaviour: You refuse to look at the role you’re playing in your relationship problems.
Consequence: Those problems will always be there.
Alternative: Take ownership of the negatives you’re contributing to the relationship so that you can remove the obstacles in the way of true happiness for both of you.
4. Behaviour: You do things to upset or annoy your partner, on purpose.
Consequence: Yep, more unnecessary conflict.
Alternative: Deal with the underlying reason for your anger (whether directed at the self or the other) instead of channelling it via other unproductive means.
5. Behaviour: You’re hanging onto anger about something they’ve said or done even though it’s pretty insignificant to you.
Consequence: More animosity, potentially further arguments, a knock on effect on your physical intimacy, and ill physical health.
Alternative: Again, deal with why you’re really angry if this is not really the reason for your negative emotions. Also ask yourself what you’re trying to achieve by doing this and what you’re actually achieving in the short and long-term as a result.
6. Behaviour: You repeatedly throw the past in their face when you’re angry or you’re arguing.
Consequence: You both feel your issues never actually get resolved, you partner feels stuck, and you both may begin wondering if you can truly move on (towards a future together).
Alternative: Leave the past in the past; it’s not serving you any favours bringing it repeatedly into the present. If there is an issue that isn’t resolved, set about resolving it rather than just using it as a weapon.
7. Behaviour: You accuse them of stuff you’re pretty sure they haven’t done, just to have something to throw at them, so to speak.
Consequence: You might create problems that don’t exist, you might focus their mind on doing something they haven’t yet done but have been accused of. Watch your words, for the sake of your relationship.
Alternative: Deal in facts and ask questions rather than making assumptive statements.
8. Behaviour: You frequently moan to family or friends about your partner in an endeavour to get them on “your side”.
Consequence: You, perhaps unnecessarily, worry your loved ones; you paint your partner, perhaps unfairly, in a bad light; you paint yourself in a negative light.
Alternative: Discuss your issues with your partner first, and if you want to speak to a confidante, speak to one person you trust to help you work towards solutions.
9. Behaviour: You frequently storm off during an argument instead of politely excusing yourself to calm down or instead of staying to resolve the disagreement.
Consequence: Drawn out disputes and animosity and sending the message that you don’t care about the pain being caused to your partner as you abandon them mid-resolution.
Alternative: Excuse yourself respectfully by letting them know that you want some time and space so you can discuss the issue when you can both think clearly and problem solve well, or stay and resolve the disagreement with a compassionate heart and empathic mind and a conversation.
10. Behaviour: You often ensure tension hangs around in the air even after you’ve “resolved” a dispute, with your demeanour, communication style, or passive aggressive behaviours.
Consequence: You’re showing them you lie about your true feelings, suggesting you’re not trustworthy, making them feel vulnerable and leading them to believe that a life with you may be a fairly miserable affair.
Alternative: Be honest when you feel issues are still unresolved so that you can both get to the real underlying problems that exist within the relationship.
The consequences and alternatives mentioned above only paint part of the full picture; they’re really just the tip of the iceberg. The reality is that these 10 signs that you or your partner are acting like a child, if many of them are prevalent in your relationship, are actually warning signs. They suggest deeper issues exist within the relationship that for some reason, you’re not addressing. The ultimate consequence is that if these 10 behaviours are maintained, a relationship breakdown is very possible, even if many years from now.