Relationships don’t go bad overnight. There are subtle and destructive behavior patterns which erode the bond between spouse or partner. These toxic attitudes turning a once fairy tale relationship into a MMA Super Fight.
But, not all is lost. When particular destructive patterns of behavior are identified and addressed a relationship on life support can become healthy. A once dysfunctional partnership becoming vibrant.
These seven things might be killing your relationships. Identify them… and crush them…
1. Mind Reading
The easiest way to set a relationship on a death spiral is to play armchair psychic. Mind reading takes a posture of assumption instead of listening. Judgment instead of compassion.
When we try and read the thoughts, motives, and intentions of another person their voice is taken away. It dehumanizes the partner and does not give them room for explanation. We all struggle with this one because it’s easier to play “mind reader” rather than listen to your partner.
If you say:
“I know why you did this…” There’s a possibility mind reading has entered the relationship.
The relationship expert John Gottmen who wrote: “The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work,” is known for determining success of a marriage within five minutes of meeting the couple. One of the deciding factors is evidence of criticism.
Gottmen knows couples will complain in their relationships. But, differentiates complaining from criticism. Criticism is more “global,” because it attacks the person and not their behavior.
So, how do we know if criticism has crept in?
An example would be:
“The reason you didn’t pick up the kid’s is not because you forgot. It’s because you are a terrible father.”
Know this is a guaranteed relationship killer.
3. Unrealistic Expectations
When you begin a relationship there are certain underlying expectations. These agreed upon boundaries are wrapped up in behavior and action. This might be particular chores around the house, how money is spent, or how children are disciplined.
Problems emerge when these expectations become unrealistic and the partner feels crushed under the weight of their failing behavior. Most likely, leading to an unhealthy relationship.
In an article from psychologytoday.com, “5 Rules for a More Trustworthy Relationship,” setting unrealistic rules on a spouse or partner is guaranteed to build distrust into the relationship. Healthy and agreed upon rules and boundaries free the other person not enslave them. To allow the partner to flourish not flounder.
When you constantly criticize and remind the other person the “rules”, you are not loving them. When you attack their behavior, never leaving room for grace and correction, this relationship killer might rear its ugly head.
The desire to control your partner according to: “5 Relationship Killers” on belief.net is rooted in fear and insecurity. A controlling attitude has more to do with us, and less with the partner.
When control enters a relationship an underlying fear is buzzing on the surface. Fear of not knowing the future. Fear of abandonment. Fear of being seen as a terrible spouse. Until we get a handle on our own insecurities the partner will suffer.
If we constantly say these phrases:
“Don’t do that”, or “Stop doing this” we might be a control freak.
With the ease of staying in touch with past relationships through Facebook, text, and other social media platforms, the temptation is great. This leads to another relationship killer: comparison.
Comparing your current partner with a former relationship is a guaranteed disaster. The comparison is unfair. No one person is the standard for all relationships.
If past relationships were so great why didn’t it work out?
Testing your current relationship, based on a prior one, is doomed before it begins. Relationships are complex because of timing, maturity of the partner, and emotional stability. These factors change over the course of time. If you search Facebook or think about past partners you might need to address the issue.
All relationships get stale. When partners get comfortable with one another they stop doing the little things. According to belief.net, “boredom and disinterest,” set in.
This is normal. It just means we need to mix it up. Maybe we need a new routine. A date night every Friday night. A trip to a new place. Taking up a hobby together. Or, finding different ways to communicate with one another.
Routine relationships need not have the last say. Identify it. Mix it up. Watch your relationship come back to life.
Gottmen says, “Stonewalling is about putting up defenses”, and “emotionally disengaging” from the relationship. Every relationship will have conflict and strife on different levels. But, if we stonewall, we are emotionally removing ourselves from the other person.
When conflict arises in the relationship do we walk away, try to change the subject, or go to the bar? Or, do we allow ourselves to be present in the disagreement?
The greatest gift we can give our partner is to be present emotionally.
Are these relationship killers present in your life? If so, acknowledge them, and set a time to discuss with your partner. This will ensure long term health, happiness, and stability in your