Nine Quirky Behaviors To Watch For


posted by on Divorce Encouragement, Relationship Encouragement

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After a painful breakup, it often takes some time before you find something that resembles love again. So, when you meet someone whom you find to be attractive, and who wants to spend time with you, it’s very easy for you to fall into something that feels like love to you. (Now we know these feelings are more like infatuation and lust, but it still feels very good to have them after a long drought.) But these long-coveted feelings can make you blind to some very childish behaviors.

There are so many troubling behaviors that you might consider insignificant in the beginning of a relationship. But these petty behaviors that you’re inclined to overlook in the honeymoon season of your new relationship will often become, when the honeymoon period is over, like a churning ball of fire ants consuming your flesh while you wade through a murky flood of alligators. So, the petty annoyance that means nothing to you in the passion of your new love could very well become the major vexation that helps to end your marriage in the future.

Now, we talk constantly about the importance of a long, pure, investigative courtship, where you have the chance to discover all these things. And we also tout the necessity of exposing your relationship to those you trust, with the hope of disclosing these potentially relationship-killing quirks. But the simple truth is that your friends and family are not responsible for your marriage choices, you are.

So it’s your responsibility to carefully consider each of these behaviors, to see if you might be overlooking something that will eventually gnaw upon the fibers of your sanity in the event that you find yourself married to this person. And here’s the deal, if you continue a relationship with a problematic individual longer than you should, you will talk yourself into marrying that person nearly every time. So we’ve given these troubling behaviors cutesy, androgynous names, but many of us know they’re just not-so-cute in the long run.

Picky Eater Pasquale
When you first start seeing someone, you might find a food quirk to be adorable. This is the person to whom you say, “I love how you pick all the breading off your shrimp and mix it all up into Sriracha soup!” “It’s so cool that none of your foods can touch each other, in fact they have to be on separate little plates!” “Isn’t it fun how you eat Hot Pockets three meals a day, that’ll make shopping so simple for us!”

Now, it’s probably okay if your new love is not fond of raw squid or steak tartare. And they don’t have to like everything. But, if you’re dealing with a genuinely (and frankly childish) picky-eater, you will grow weary of preparing, or spending money on perfectly reasonable dishes, only to have them refuse to eat them, and later forage around for a bag of cookies or a box of mac and cheese because they’re starving.

See, one of the fundamental forms of caring for someone is to try and nourish them, feed them, and make them happy. But all of this will be wasted on this person, and the level of disrespect you get from this will grate on you for the duration of the relationship and beyond.

Facepalm Frankie
So, your quirky new person is like a Chatty-Cathy doll, you just never really know what they’re going to say next. Sure they might be obnoxious and inappropriate at times, but at least they’re not dull like some of your exes were. And besides; don’t opposites attract?  So, you say yes to Facepalm Frankie when he or she wants you to dance suggestively with them in front of the security cameras at Wal-Mart while old people are watching, because that’s what your life has been missing, after all.

But after a while the fresh antics are going to get a little stale, and you’ll find that you’re just hanging around, attached to a brash, disrespectful person who frankly doesn’t give a rip about you or anyone else. And now you’re simply embarrassed all the time. You care what people think, and your partner simply does not.

Facepalm Frankie might be rude to the server at a restaurant, or they might yak on their cell phone in a movie theater. And these behaviors might get you excited at first, because you wouldn’t do these things. But later on in the relationship these same behaviors will just make you angry beyond words, because no-one should be doing these things…

Your tolerance for someone who can’t or won’t act normal in public has a shelf-life, and when it’s reached the point of saturation for you, there will be disrespect, cold shoulders, tense moments and hard times. Facepalm Frankie’s antics are not cute, they’re childish, and you should see that before it’s too late.

Possessive Paulie
Most single people in the twenty-first century have a very hard time transitioning from a “Me” mentality to a “We” mentality. But, there will come a time in your relationship when it’s not you and me anymore, it’s us. It’s not your life and my life, it’s our life. We do things together, we make decisions together, and we own things together. It’s perfectly okay in the beginning of a relationship to need some time to get used to this. But if you’ve been in a relationship for a substantial amount of time, and there’s still a massive problem in adopting a “We” attitude, then one of you simply doesn’t belong in a relationship.

Now, you might not find someone who is willing to give up a kidney for you (that’d be a good benchmark, however) but if your relationship has some miles on it and you’re still labeling stuff as mine and yours, there’s definitely a worm in the woodpile somewhere. A little possessiveness goes a long way, and if all this adversity were to suddenly appear after you’ve made a long-term investment in this person, you’d feel plenty betrayed indeed. So, please look for it early, and if it’s there, it probably isn’t going away.

Selfish Sam
Selfish people think mostly about themselves… you heard it here first, folks… Seriously though, we’ve already said, for a relationship to work, a couple must transition from a “Me” mentality, to an “Us” mentality. Selfishness is when one of you just won’t play along. When someone repeatedly disregards the “Couple” aspect of the relationship, it’s like they’re saying to the other half, “Your part of the relationship only matters when I feel like including you.” And the problem with selfishness is that, you can’t un-ring the bell. Every selfish behavior pattern will add up in the mind of the one who’s holding on – the one who’s doing most of the work.

So, if you or your partner can’t be considerate of the basic couple-hood of your relationship, then someone needs to back away from the relationship long enough to reconsider what he or she needs, in order to be happy in concert with another human being. And maybe the correct answer is, that having no relationship is better than having a selfish and imbalanced one

Jealous Jan
Jealous people are very insecure, and jealousy destroys relationships. Often, extreme jealousy has its roots in a past incident, where someone got burned in a relationship, or possibly they were left to feel like a fool. A jealous person simply will not trust you. They will constantly believe you are cheating on them, and their level of suspicion and accusation will leave you incredulous at their faith in your sexual prowess and power over the opposite sex.

It’s not uncommon for a jealous person to show up unannounced or embarrass you in countless situations. And heaven forbid that you find yourself out with your jealous person and you happen to interact with the opposite sex, because the level of fury you will face on the way home and for weeks afterward will be plain stupid.

Now, you might believe that you can change your jealous person, and that you can somehow make them more secure in your devotion to them; but the truth is that you did not break this person, and it’s simply not within your power to fix them. So, like every other severely broken individual we’ve met in this discussion, once you’ve discovered that you’ve landed a severely jealous person, your only choice is to jettison them as quietly as possible and move forward with your life    

Silly Speaking Sandy
We all think it’s cute when a preschooler says, “Eww, look, a monsto” And likewise, when an adult uses certain speech affectations, we might think it’s quirky and adorable as well. But when someone has reached adulthood and they’re still using the words “berfday” and “libarry,” it might somehow call their level of maturity into question. In a new relationship, you might overlook those mispronunciations, and you might think you’ll never get tired of reminding your special someone that “Façade” and “Arcade” do not rhyme.

If you’re with someone who legitimately thinks that big, orange squash is called a “punkin,” and refers to it that way every Halloween, by the fourth Halloween you’ll probably start gritting your teeth to keep from exploding like a Herman Munster piñata full of Bit O’ Honeys. And you’ll have to wrestle with the fact that you’ve committed yourself to someone who, even with repeated corrections, will not speak correctly.

It can be truly infuriating to interact with someone who simply refuses to acknowledge that their immaturity isn’t cute anymore. So the situation feeds off its own energy – one person won’t change the behavior, and the other won’t stop correcting them – until both parties become beaten down to where their interaction stops altogether. This is a lousy way to foster positive feelings, so you can expect things to fall off the rails if it doesn’t change.

Controlling Carly
Controlling people usually live in the world of ultimatums, and this behavior has a tendency to sneak up on you. Sometimes this behavior has its roots in a life event, or a childhood situation, or sometimes a controlling person is just mean for the sake of being mean. But, a controller always has to have leverage over someone before he or she can control them.

A controlling boss has leverage over his or her employees, so the threat is that you’ll be fired if you don’t comply with their wishes. In a relationship, the controlling threat is always the relationship itself. And the threats are usually worded like, “I expect you to do this or I’m done with you.” Or, “This is the last time I’m going to mention it, if this doesn’t happen by this time I’m leaving and moving on.”

Now, obviously these ultimatums will not work on a strong, independent person. Because a strong, confident person would just reply, “Just who exactly do you think you’re talking to?” So, a controlling person will make sure of how and where the hook is set before they start jerking on the pole. In other words, a controlling person will sneak his or her behavior up on you. See, if someone said on your first date, “You’ll either order the French roast, or this date is over;” that date would probably last about a minute or less. So, this behavior is applied slowly, in the same way that you ease into a cold pool on the first day of summer.

Controllers feed on power struggles, and they usually have a need to win at any cost. Our encouragement is that you get away from a controlling person at the first clear opportunity, because they are simply not going to change, for you or anyone else. You really have to ask yourself, “What is the cost of staying in this relationship?’ If the answer is your dreams, your identity, or your dignity, the cost is just too high.”

Argumentative Allie
There are constructive ways to debate a point. And for most couples in constructive relationships, that debate usually ends up in some sort of compromise. But arguers love to argue. They are always on the offensive, and they will argue any point, no matter how silly, until hell literally freezes over and starts calving giant icebergs.

Arguers are usually name-callers as well because, like a controller, an arguer needs to win at any cost. So an arguer is not content with countering your objections and dominating your opinion, he or she also wants to insult you, beat you down, and humiliate you in the process.

And, just like so many of these destructive behaviors, an arguer will sneak up on you. So once you’ve discovered this combative behavior, our suggestion is the same. Get away from this person as cleanly as possible, because if you marry them, you’ll probably end up sobbing in the driveway, while the police haul your arguer away in his or her underwear, like on every episode of Cops you’ve ever seen.

Mommy Complex Markie
Men and women seek out a relationship for many different reasons, and sometimes your new love doesn’t really want a grown-up relationship with grown-up responsibilities; they really just want a mommy or a daddy to take care of them and clean up their messes. You’ll know when you’re the mommy/daddy and not the relationship partner when you discover that your life is harder with this person around than it was before you met them.

The mommy complex usually starts with finances (they’re just not good with them) and maybe it finishes out with you bailing them out of jail. You wanted a partner but you got an overgrown twelve-year-old who is used to having everything done for them. It’s probably their mom’s fault, but now it has become your fault for hanging on to this helpless binky-mouthed brat.

Depending on the level of immaturity you’re facing, you probably won’t change this person permanently. So rather than let the relationship continue to where it’s too late, and you’re left to just complain about it to your friends at work. So, our suggestion is for you to cut your losses and move on.

We want you to discover the major quirks in your new love before you marry them, because these behaviors can be pretty ingrained, and discovering them after you pledge yourself is not the best way to do it. We’re sure that many of you have stories to tell about your escapades with one or all of these cute behaviors… Feel free to share in the comments… We love to hear from you as always.

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