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unhappy1. You subconsciously put your ex on a pedestal.

Some women fondly look back on former flames as time blurs the reasons you fell apart. Careful, though: “A long-gone ex can affect established relationships,” says relationship expert Charles J. Orlando, author of The Problem with Women… is Men. Mentioning an ex’s best qualities may incite unhelpful arguments about what your husband could be doing better. Focus on your spouse’s top attributes, which likely outnumber old what’s-his-name’s, and communicate problems instead of making comparisons.

2. You think all men are bad.

Maybe your exes mistreated you, and you’re just waiting for your spouse to do the same thing. A big problem with that: You can’t develop intimacy with your husband when you hold onto past hurt, says Orlando. “Accept what happened and your part in things, forgive yourself and the other party and change the behavior,” so you can make a fresh start with your husband, he suggests.

3. You try to make the relationship work all by yourself.

A one-sided effort can’t improve a problem-plagued marriage. “A relationship takes two,” says Orlando. “If one is gun-shy, or not on the same page emotionally, there will be disconnection.” Recognize if you’re alone in keeping the marriage afloat and seek a pro’s help in getting your hubby on board to repair what needs work.

4. You assume you know what your husband’s thinking.


Never bring up finances because you know what your hubby will say? Assumptions breed hostility, says marriage therapist Carin Goldstein, creator of “Instead of creating a dialogue with your spouse, you’re writing the script in your head,” she says. Every time you catch yourself assuming, Goldstein suggests a quick check-in. Start by sharing your concerns with your husband, and then ask for the real deal. He’s more likely to speak his mind in response to questions than start a conversation.

5. During disagreements, you ignore his perspective.

If your husband suggests watching your spending, don’t immediately snap back about his pricey season tickets to Knicks games. “We get stuck in the offense-defense trap when we don’t take time to understand our spouse’s feelings,” Goldstein explains. She suggests asking questions about where he’s coming from. “You don’t have to agree,” she says, “but you do need to understand his point of view.”

6. You rely on sarcasm to communicate.

We’re not talking about playful teasing; this is when your words mask the message you want to convey. “It can be a passive-aggressive way of expressing anger or hurt,” says Goldstein. If the knee-jerk reaction toward your husband’s waning interest in exercise is asking, “How’s that gym membership going?” stop, and self-correct with, “What I mean to say is: You’re not going to the gym anymore, and I’m concerned for your health.” He doesn’t learn your genuine feelings when you don’t communicate them clearly, says Goldstein.

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Sistas Are You Sabotaging Your Marriage Without Knowing It? was originally published on

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