Plus, how to break the bad habit fast.

By Jenn Sinrich
June 12, 2020
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You might be addicted to the drama the comes along with watching reality TV shows like Real Housewives of New Jersey or The Bachelorette, but are you also addicted to it in your personal relationships? A better question may be, do you find yourself in situations involving intense emotions much of the time? If so, you might be addicted to relationship drama—when either or both people in a relationship attempt to get their needs met by manipulation, rather than through open discussion, explains Sherry Benton, Ph.D, former director of the University of Florida counseling center and founder of TAO Connect. Wondering if you fall into this category? Here are five common signs that relationship drama follows you (or the other way around).

You want to change your partner into a better person.

We all want the best for our significant other, but if "the best" for your partner means something totally (or very) different than he or she currently is, this is a major red flag. "If you're trying to 'fix' someone, you're setting yourself up for consistent drama, and indeed, failure," says Aja Burks, L.C.S.W and owner of Transformative Mind Counseling. "If this is you, stop and acknowledge what you're doing and decide whether or not this the person is the one you want to be with regardless of change."

You're constantly throwing jabs at your partner.

If, during your fights, you find yourself calling your partner names, using sarcasm, or mocking them, you are showing true signs of relationship drama, according to Burks. "This is a sign of not being able to manage emotions on your own," she says. "There is an inability to self-regulate because your pain is showing as passive aggressive behavior in that moment." If you find yourself in this situation, she recommends checking in with yourself to help regulate and get you to a space where you feel calm.

You like playing mind games.

If you do or say little things to get a "rise" out of your partner, or others in your life, you likely enjoy a little (or a lot of) drama. "There is a reason for this behavior and it is based off something internally not being fulfilled," says Burks. "Acknowledge what you're doing and identify why for yourself, not the 'why' for your partner."

You yourself (and your partner) that you don't deserve them or the relationship.

"This action is connected to insecurities and behaviorally can lead to fear of losing the person because of the idea that you were never good enough," says Burks. In this situation, she recommends seeking assistance from a therapist who can help you address the reasons behind why you're having issues with self-worth and -esteem.

Your friends keep asking why you're still in your relationship.

Sometimes, the people closest to us in our lives, namely our friends and family, know us even better than we do. At the very least, they can sometimes see us and our relationships more objectively than we can. If they're asking you why you're still with your significant other, pay attention to the question, suggests Kevin Gilliland, Psy.D., clinical psychologist, executive director of Innovation360 and author of Struggle Well Live Well. "If your partner keeps crossing a line you've set and you keep forgiving him or her, you have to start asking yourself why," he says.

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