Nick and I were at a dinner party recently, and one of the couples there had the most annoying habit: whenever one of them was telling a story, the other would correct them constantly. And these weren’t major, necessary corrections like “no, silly, his death sentence was exonerated!”, they were trivial corrections about tiny, insignificant details, like the color of a car their mutual friend was driving, or if something happened in April instead of May. It was so bad that by the end of the night I wanted to scream, “Just let them tell the damn story!” This experience got me thinking about bad couple habits — the annoying habits that often manifest themselves when people get in relationships. What are they, and how do you fix them? Read on to find out!
Bad Couple Habit #1: Constantly correcting each other when telling stories.
Person #1: “So I’m sitting there, staring down the barrel of a pitch black revolver, and I’m thinking ‘Damn, this is it,’ so I turn to Steve Zahn and say –”
Person #2: “Wasn’t the gun more of a slate gray? I thought you said it was a gray gun.”
How To Break It: If one half of the couple is a chronic corrector and doesn’t realize it, the oft-corrected half of the couple should gently bring it up. Say something like, “I’ve noticed you tend to correct me a lot when I’m telling a story in front of our friends. Is there a way we can work on this, because I think the interruptions are making things kind of awkward.” DO NOT bring this up in the moment, because the only thing more awkward than a frequently corrected story at a dinner party is a frequently corrected story that segues into a screaming fight about how one of you is “alwaaayyys right.” If you’re the corrector, practice letting things go. Repeat after me: It’s not the end of the world if your partner mispronounces the name of a hotel.
Bad Couple Habit #2: Mega PDA
Example(s): Making out on the subway; aggressive butt-grabbing in line at the grocery store; giggly earlobe nibbling in the waiting room at the dentist’s office.
How To Break It: There are two possible reasons for excessive PDA. Some couples are unaware of just how awkward their heavy petting is for those around them. If you fall into this group (did you just blush a little while reading those examples? If so, you probably fall into this group), your PDA has gotten a little out of hand; try to reign it in a bit and keep your sexy interactions behind closed doors. If you just got aroused while reading those examples, chances are you fall into the second group, which is comprised of couples who get off on PDA. I’m not sure what to tell you, except maybe you can try to limit yourselves to one epic exhibitionist display a month (like having sex behind a Dunkin’ Donuts dumpster) and spare us your amorous gropes the rest of the time?
Bad Couple Habit #3: ”Fixing” each other’s clothing and grooming one another in public.
Example(s): Adjusting your husband’s collar while he’s talking to a friend; wiping lipstick off your wife’s teeth with your finger.
How To Break It: These tweaks are totally fine to make in private, but in public, they seem weirdly infantile and can make people around you uncomfy. Try to adjust each other’s clothes before you leave the house, and once you’re out and about, tell the other person about any clingy hems or BBQ sauce drips, and let them make their own adjustments.
Bad Couple Habit #4: Using pet names in public.
Example: “Can I get you another drink, pookie-poo?”
How To Break It: Usually doing this once sparks enough embarrassment that the problem solves itself (as in the time I accidentally called Nick “Yubby” at a formal work function and wanted to DIE), but if you’re consistently calling your significant other by a lovey-dovey nickname in public, on purpose, you’ve gotta retrain yourself to use their actual name. If the pet name is deeply entrenched, this might require briefly curbing your pet name usage in private to keep the habit from spilling out into the real world (which is what I had to do with my “Yubby” issue). If you hate the idea of calling your partner by their real name, then at the very least, pick the most normal pet name in your repertoire (honey, dear, etc), and vow to only use that one in public.
Bad Couple Habit #5: Frequent, gushing Facebook posts.
Example: “My honeybear is the sweetest i’m the luckiest guy/girl in the world, can’t wait to see you after work today [tags SO's name] i love that u made me a sandwich last week it was soooooo sweet!!!!”
How To Break It: Next time you’re about to post a Facebook update about how much you luuuuurve your partner, ask yourself, “Do other people need to know this? Am I posting this purely out of love or is there a part of me that wants to brag? Would this sentiment be more meaningful if I actually told it directly to my partner instead of turning it into a public statement that will be read by my friends from high school and that random girl I did a group project with in college?” and then post — or don’t post — accordingly.
Bad Couple Habit #6: Always using “we” instead of “I,” even when it makes no sense.
Example(s): “We’re having a tough time at work right now”; “We are good, how are you?”; “We’ll have the lamb, rare, with very little mint sauce.”
How To Break It: In my experience, this seemingly insignificant verbal habit is actually a red flag that your relationship has become overly codependent. The solution? Add some independent activities into your life to help redefine yourself outside of your relationship. Make plans with friends (just “your” friends, not “our” friends), take a class, binge watch a trashy reality show (and don’t force your partner to watch it with you), volunteer, get some quality alone time. Dedicate some time to the things that make you “you” instead of “us.” As Amelia puts it, “Just because you’re in love doesn’t mean you’ve become one unit, like the Borg.”
[Photo via Shutterstock]