In terms of what we know about relationships, small and annoying habits can add up to big relationship frustrations and even contribute to divorce.

Here is one that falls into that category. It can begin innocently but turn toxic. It’s the habit of turning outside your relationship when problems erupt.

Consider Julie. She was growing more annoyed at her husband because of his habit of not calling her when he was going to be late at work. She knew his job had high demands. She knew his boss often demanded a last minute “to do” at the end of the day. Julie considered herself quite understanding and supportive of her husband, Jake’s career. But when Jake didn’t call, it bothered her. This happened a few times and she didn’t say anything. Then it happened more and anger was building up inside of her. She believed Jake was being insensitive to her needs.

Instead of telling Jake her frustration, she complained to a friend. He reinforced how insensitive Jake was being. But instead of encouraging Julie to talk to Jake, he became a listening ear, a supportive friend and showed empathy. This happened time and time again. The problem with Jake wasn’t be solved and Julie was beginning to see Jake in a more negative light.

Instead of turning towards Jake to talk out the problem, she turned to a supportive friend. And the more they talked, the more positive they felt about each other. He listened and cared for her. Jake didn’t. Julie was developing the habit of turning away from her husband, looking for support outside the marriage.

Turning away instead of towards a person when there is conflict is playing with fire. You don’t work it out with the person involved and you feel more positive towards another person. Unless it is a therapist trying to help you as a couple, turn towards the person and work through the conflict. This small habit could save your relationship.

Habits that lead to divorce

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