It’s super easy to wreck a relationship, and knowing what leads to a relationship’s end can also help you prevent it from happening. The saddest thing about my job is when my clients’ relationships can’t be saved. But what I find to be most frustrating is when their troubles could have been prevented.
Here are 5 things to NOT do:
1. Nitpicking. One of the fastest ways to ruin a good relationship is to focus on the negatives. Whether it’s what you’re not getting out of your relationship or your partner’s annoying quirks, getting stuck in a nitpicking cycle will overshadow positive feelings that you have for your partner.
2. Thinking that you’re always right. And I don’t mean it’s as obvious as saying “You’re wrong,” but other ways trying to tell your partner how to do things: You’re driving too fast. Don’t you know you’re supposed to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom and not the middle? You’re typing too slowly, let me do it, etc.
Your partner is not your clone so there is no way he or she would do, feel or think exactly like you would in every situation. It is simply impossible! During these interactions, my clients report feeling criticized, lectured, under constant attack, like they can’t win and alienated. Nothing positive comes out of thinking that you’re always right – in the end your relationship will always lose.
3. Not accepting responsibility. It’s much easier to play the victim role and blame your partner for relationship troubles instead of looking at yourself and where you may play a role in the problems. You can get sucked into the blame game – “She made me angry” and “He makes me nag,” which can perpetuate negative interactions. If your partner feels unjustly blamed, they may also be defensive to try to justify or explain their actions. If you blame your partner and expect them to change first, you’re more likely to keep your relationship at a standstill.
4. Letting your emotions run wild. Have you ever said things in the heat of the moment that you’ve regretted? Once you say mean and hurtful things, you can’t take them back. And even if you apologize, it doesn’t mean that your partner will forget or be able to let go of what has been said.
You have a right to your emotions, but you can’t express them however you want.
Letting disagreements spiral out of control eliminates safety in a relationship. If there’s little or no safety, you decrease opportunities for sharing and being vulnerable with your partner. And once you cease sharing the important things, you’ve just put a major roadblock in feeling connected with your partner.
5. Putting your partner down. One of the most toxic things to your relationship is to have contempt for your partner. In fact, research shows that if you or your partner do things such as: insult, mock, name-call or belittle each other, your relationship has a very low survival rate. Relationships won’t work well unless there’s a healthy level of mutual respect.
The five actions above are serious roadblocks that are sure to wreck your relationship, so avoid them at all costs.