A relationship can be excellent. Right up until it isn’t.
John Lennon once said, “We’ve got this gift of love, but love is like a precious plant. You can’t just accept it and leave it in the cupboard or just think it’s going to get on by itself. You’ve got to keep watering it. You’ve got to really look after it and nurture it.”
We’ve all had relationships that have felt as if they would go on forever. But they just couldn’t stand up to the stress or the problems endured in the end. Knowing the types of things that can cause a solid relationship to grow weak can help you avoid making the same errors.
Once you know the common issues that kill a relationship, you will learn how to avoid them or work on the problems and strengthen your relationship.
Here Are 15 Habits That Can Destroy Relationships And How To Avoid Them
No one wants to think that they’re being unkind to their significant other. And usually, partners aren’t being aloof overtly or cruelly. But instead, a time comes in a relationship where couples no longer support one another unconditionally. Instead, you may start saying “no” to things your significant other asks of you. This unkindness is subtler, and it can grow into resentment or feeling as if your partner doesn’t care about you.
How to avoid it?
To avoid this, make sure that you give your partner your full attention when they ask something of you. Say ‘yes’ more often. Let your partner know you care about them by accepting what they say to you.
Remember, “Research has shown that the way a problem is brought up determines both how the rest of that conversation will go and how the rest of the relationship will go,” says certified Gottman therapist Carrie Cole, M.Ed., LPC-S.
2. Fights that never end
When the relationship starts to crumble, you may find that you’re getting into fights with your significant other that don’t ever seem to have an end. You could be fighting over a ridiculous thing – it often doesn’t matter who’s right, but it’s the principle.
“There are good rows and bad rows but make no mistake – everybody argues. Ridiculing or humiliating each other is not a good idea, or a good omen,” says author Kate Figes. Frequently, these fights aren’t even about the matter at hand. Instead, they’re about feeling hurt, misunderstood, or taken advantage of.
How to avoid it?
Learn to take responsibility for yourself, your words, or your actions. You may not have intended to hurt your partner, but that could have happened. When you get defensive and can feel one of those never-ending fights coming on, try encouraging your partner to tell you why they’re upset and what you could do to make it better because “you are more likely to understand each other better,” adds Figes.
After all, it takes two people to argue.
3. Feeling lonely after a fight
After a fight that doesn’t seem to have a resolution, couples often isolate themselves to let the frustration and anger in the room dissipate. While it may be good every once in a while to go and cool off, it starts to get lonely. The love connection starts to falter when we don’t have the one person we count on to make us feel better by our sides after a fight. If you’re left to feel lonely after a row, it can cause resentment.
How to avoid it?
The best way to avoid this particular issue is to deal with it. After the fight has ended, it’s time to talk about it. Unpack what went wrong and why each other’s feelings got hurt. Validate what your partner is saying to you, and understand where you might have gone wrong. And remember to explain yourself as well. Tell your partner how you feel, so they can know where you’re coming from.
4. Changing history
When a relationship starts to go wrong, you may find that you begin rewriting things in your head a bit. To protect yourself, you start imagining that you were never in love with your partner in the first place. After all, it’s easier to leave a relationship you were never invested in than to leave one that you know will take pieces of you with it. You may begin to change the history of your relationship in your head entirely, just to make it easier for yourself to move on.
How to avoid it?
The way to fix this is to let your vulnerability show. Sit down with your partner and explain how you feel. When you have arguments, let yourself show the softer and more vulnerable side. Instead of turning away from your partner, turn towards them. They can’t help you keep history right unless you let them.
5. Your partner is a stranger
It can feel weird to sleep beside someone you had just gotten into a massive argument with. They had hurt your feelings, and now you return to your marriage bed, and it can feel like your partner is a stranger to you. You may begin to tell yourself that you never really knew them. You begin to think negatively about your partner and focus only on the negative things about them rather than all of the beautiful and good things they make you feel.
How to avoid it?
Instead of letting this fester, give your partner unexpected kindness. They may be feeling the same way. Show them that you love them through actions, and they’ll be able to do the same thing. “Becoming a more effective partner is the most efficient way to assure a loving, intimate relationship,” says psychotherapist, counselor, and author Judy Ford.
Remember all of the good things about your partner that they have shown you throughout your time together. Start showing the good parts of yourself again, too – and your partner will feel compelled to do the same.
6. Lack of communication
Lack of communication hurts a relationship. You know you can’t read your partner’s mind, so you need to ask them questions to draw them out. Good communication involves listening, asking questions to clarify what you heard, and honestly sharing your thoughts. Choose to be kind, even if you’re talking about a potentially hot topic.
How do we avoid a lack of communication?
Make communication a priority. Schedule one evening a week to just talk. You may want to have a topic to discuss. Be sure to choose to listen, ask questions, and share honestly.
Disrespect tells your partner you don’t care about them. Whether or not you realize it, there are many little things you do that are disrespectful. Disrespectfulness can be:
- Eye rolling
- Snarky comments
- Forgetting to do something, they asked… time after time.
- The sarcastic tone of voice.
- Shaking your head about what they said.
These things belittle your partner and show you don’t value who they are as a person. Some people learn disrespect from their parent’s relationship. They assume this is the way a relationship should be.
How to avoid being disrespectful?
Break the cycle of disrespect. Choose to show respect for your words and actions. Value what your partner says, even if you disagree with them. They have a right to their opinion. Refuse to give in to the list above.
8. Lack compassion
Everyone needs compassion and empathy. A lack of understanding is hurtful to a relationship. When your partner is struggling at work, they need you to show kindness and not be critical of them. Criticism, backbiting, and judgment tears down relationships.
How to avoid a lack of compassion?
The best way to show compassion is to remember a golden rule to treat others the way you want someone to treat you. You want your partner to show you kindness when you’re going through difficulties, so show them the same.
9. Mistrust and jealousy
Jealousy tears a relationship apart. Relationships built on mistrust are more likely to fall apart. Repeatedly asking where your partner was or want to see their phone texts at work is assuming the worst about your partner. It assumes they are cheating on you.
How to avoid mistrust and jealousy:
Look for ways to build trust. Do things such as the following behaviors:
- Keep your promises
- Be home when you say you’ll be home
- Don’t act secretive about where you’ve been. Be honest.
- If you say you’ll do something for your partner, do it.
- Be wise about who you follow and talk with on your social media.
Understanding how mistrust can jeopardize your relationship will help you work together as a couple to embrace trust and let go of jealousy.
10. Can’t laugh at themselves
Joking around and teasing are healthy parts of a relationship. If you take yourself too seriously, it’s not healthy. You may need to seek counseling if you’re too fragile to be teased. If you’re too proud to laugh at yourself, you need to humble yourself. No one is perfect, so it’s good to laugh at the imperfections.
How to avoid not laughing at yourself:
Researchers say that laughter has physiological benefits. Laughing helps reduce your stress and anxiety. Find ways to laugh by seeing the funny side of parenting, money issues, or broken pipes in your house. Whatever it is, try to lighten up the tension with a sweet joke or kind-hearted tease.
11. Not willing to change
When you’re in a relationship, your imperfections come out of hiding. Things that no one else knows about you, your partner will see. It’s a chance to be vulnerable and also potentially change. Maybe you never clean up after yourself. If you aren’t motivated to change and expect your partner to clean up after you, this will hurt your relationship.
How to avoid not wanting to change:
Be willing to change where you need to. If you love your partner, you’ll be ready to break bad habits that can hurt your relationship.
12. Not wanting to get to know friends and family members
Another harmful attitude in a relationship is when a partner refuses to get to know their partner’s friends or family members. Having a partner who won’t accept the people you love is painful. Your family is who you are. If your partner won’t accept them, it says something about how they feel about you.
How to avoid not wanting to meet your partner’s friends and family:
It’s simple, be willing to accept these people because your partner values them.
Negativity hurts a relationship. It puts a damper on the atmosphere of the home. When you’re negative, you’re more prone to worry and feel overwhelmed by problems. Negativity can even affect your health.
How to avoid negativity:
Couples who focus on upbeat, positive ways to fix their problems fare better than those who don’t. Choose to be positive. Look for the good instead of seeing only the bad.
14. Lack faith in God
Studies show that individuals with faith in God are better at facing life’s challenges. Relationships built on faith in God have the depth to them. These couples look to something bigger than themselves to solve their problems. They don’t expect their partner to meet all their needs because they don’t find their identity in their partner but in God, their creator. This avoids putting pressure on your partner to be your “savior.”
How to avoid lack of faith in God:
Grow your faith together by attending church, reading spiritual books, and talking about what’s essential in life.
15. Not being humble
When you’re not humble, you are more focused on yourself than your relationship. It becomes all about how you feel and what you want. This drains the life out of your relationship. Humility says, “We’re all a mess. Let’s work together to fix our stuff.”
How to avoid not being humble:
Look for ways to humble yourself. Ask your partner for examples of how you come across as prideful. Maybe it’s how you talk or what you say. Get their input and then attempt to change.
Final Thoughts On Avoiding Behaviors That Harm Your Relationship
Falling out of love can happen before you even know it. By then, the relationship is already over. Instead of letting your relationship fail due to typical issues, learn the signs of a faltering relationship and be ready to take action to correct it. Sometimes, we may have to look deep into ourselves and ask if we’re bringing our best selves into the relationship. If the answer is no, then it’s time to change and show our partners that we love them through our actions.
“We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – Barbara De Angelis
You know that your relationship isn’t perfect, but these hidden behaviors can hurt your relationship. If you value your partner and your connection, look at this list and find a couple of areas where you can change. The slightest attempt can reap big rewards. Your healthy, happy relationship is worth the effort.