You might think that it’s the major offenses that kill a relationship. And while it’s true that things like infidelity and betrayal can lead to any relationship’s demise, couples need to be on the lookout for the little things that add up over time.
Small and seemingly insignificant grievances can kill relationships, too. To make sure your relationship doesn’t fall victim to these seven issues, keep reading!
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Excluding each other
It’s important that each partner has his or her own social life, and doesn’t expect their “other half” to fulfill all of their social needs. However, it’s also important that your partner doesn’t feel excluded and left out.
If your partner is consistently going out and leaving you home alone, that can make you feel snubbed. Once in a great while, you can handle that sort of thing.
But if it happens on a regular basis, resentment can fester and that can kill relationships.
Dropping the ball
No one’s perfect and sometimes, we really can’t follow through with our plans and promises. Usually, a sincere apology and making amends can remedy the situation.
But if either one of you keeps dropping the ball, it makes it really hard for your partner to trust you and your word.
Usually, you can put up with this for a little while, but it can lead to continual disappointment, anger, and frustration. None of these are healthy emotions for a functional relationship.
Passive aggressive behavior
Your partner is going to mess up from time to time. And when that happens, it’s important that you take time to communicate that you’re upset in order to come up with ways to overcome these issues.
But communication is hard and without realizing it, many avoid it and resort to passive-aggressive behavior instead. What does that look like?
Here are a couple of common ways we succumb to this form of hurtful behavior:
- Shaming them in front of family and friends: You might not have the courage to speak to your partner in private, so instead, you wait until there’s an audience and crack a joke or two about your partner’s fault.Sure, it might be funny and garner some laughs, but ultimately, it’s a shaming tactic. And shame never has positive outcomes.
In fact, according to shame and vulnerability expert, Brené Brown, “shame is highly correlated with addiction, violence, aggression, depression, eating disorders, and bullying.”
- Getting back at your partner for things they’ve done: Sweet revenge might be an age-old tactic, but it just doesn’t reap positive benefits.Instead, it just leads to a cycle of poor behavior that you justify with his bad behavior. In the end, there’s no healing or resolution.
Not forgetting the offense when you forgive it
In any long-term relationship, it’s inevitable that each of you will hurt one another. It’s painful, and maybe even divesting.
But if you’re committed to each other, you know that you have to forgive and forget; to live and let die, as Paul McCartney would say (or sing!).
But even though many of us “make up”, we have a hard time actually letting go of the hurt we feel. Instead, we carry it with us for months, if not years.
Holding this hurt and anger inside of you can negatively influence how you communicate with your partner. What’s more, it can eat you up and prevent you from really moving forward and rebuilding trust – the necessary ingredient in every functional relationship.
If you’re having trouble releasing old grudges or past hurts, it definitely would behoove you to do some inner work. Forgiveness has more to do with you than the other person, and Louise Hay offers some powerful insights that can support your healing efforts.
Expecting your partner to read your mind
Couples can become very attuned to each other. They can finish each other’s thoughts, and even anticipate what you’re thinking. However, that doesn’t mean you can skip out of healthy communication.
That's because, at the end of the day, your partner isn’t a mind reader. If you don’t like something, speak up! If you feel hurt, communicate that with tact and compassion. Your partner may have no idea that his or her behavior is hurting you.
And if they are aware of it, but see that you’re not willing to stand up for yourself, they can lose their respect for you even more.
Remember, you are your own advocate, and it’s up to you to speak up on your behalf.
Going for peace rather than love
In the Netflix documentary, I’m Not Your Guru, internationally acclaimed motivational speaker, and life coach, Tony Robbins says that the point of a family isn’t peace, but love. This can contradict long-held ideas we have about creating a functional relationship.
Many of us have been brought up to believe that it’s more important to keep the peace and to keep the atmosphere pleasant, rather than broach difficult subjects and solve difficult issues.
While no one wants to fight or to feel uncomfortable, sometimes it’s necessary to confront issues head-on in order to solve them and create a relationship that is full of love and understanding.
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Getting too comfortable and letting your standards slide
At the beginning of the relationship, it’s typical for couples to be more socially active, but as life continues, it’s important to fall back into some sort of routine. After all, we all have jobs and need to be responsible – at least some of the time.
It’s easy to get lazy and stop seeking social activities to engage in. But as a couple, you need these outings to stay interesting, attractive and stimulated.
So, if you find yourself falling into the Netflix-and-chill trap, push yourself to go out, even if it’s just for a walk and a coffee.
This can help your relationship feel fresh, current and fun, no matter how long you’ve been together.
Being in a relationship takes time and commitment, not just to prevent large issues from occurring, but to ensure that your daily life cultivates love and long-lasting respect for years to come.