People do not begin a relationship intent upon ruining it. We meet someone and we are either immediately drawn to them like magnets on opposite poles (and this may be a red flag) or the relationship heats up to a slow simmer. But soon the things we thought were cute or quirky begin to irritate like a pebble in a shoe. Over time, these secret habits are ruining your relationship, so before that happens, let’s uncover some of the worst offenders.

Blabbing = Ruined Relationship

  1. Have you ever turned to your friends or family in times of crisis or smaller problems? Has your partner found out you didn’t pay the rent from your sister during a backyard barbecue? Ouch! Talk about feeling like the insignificant other! If you don’t feel you can communicate in a time of crisis, it’s time to work on communication.
  2. About 10 years ago a girlfriend said something that has stayed with me ever since. I was complaining about something silly my husband had done and she said, “We sure can build a case, can’t we?” I realized that in a moment of irritation, all I could think of were things my husband did that closed my case, conveniently forgetting all the wonderful things he does on a daily basis…and I was even telling my friend about them! Ugly stuff!
  3. Years ago I had a client who called his mother every time his wife tried to tell him something he didn’t quite believe. This eroded the relationship big-time. She felt disrespected, and it caused her to resent her mother-in-law. Never a good thing.

 Being Too Busy = Ruined Relationship

4. You’ve heard it said that relationships take work…but they take play, too! Make sure you make time to have fun together as a couple. Plan times alone. Make a date night if you have children at home. Do things that make time for conversation. A favorite of my husband’s was the time I packed a picnic dinner and bought a bottle of wine. When he got home from work, I drove us out to the lake where we sat high on a bluff in the late afternoon sun. So much better than sitting in front of the boob-tube, eh?

5. Turn off the cell phone…shut the lid to the laptop! Sometimes it can’t be helped, but I know couples who not only fight via text messages, but also sit on the couch together and text their friends half the night while their spouse flips channels on Hulu.

6. There is such thing as “alone time”, though, and this can enhance a relationship if it’s kept in balance. Each of us has our own tolerance for alone time. Some like to spend time alone or with other people quite a bit. Others think commitment means being together constantly. If you misread signals, feelings can get hurt. This is a big one to talk about early in the relationship. Don’t be too busy for each other, but don’t smother each other, either.

 Battling = Ruined Relationship

7. Subconsciously we want our partners to meet our emotional needs. We just don’t realize that our needs come from our personal history and our partner may not know what they are. They have their own needs as well, and when the twain shall meet it can mean fireworks! Remember that your partner’s reaction comes from somewhere. It could be you triggered insecurity, or fear, or shame. Check your heart. Soften your blame. Nothing calms anger like being validated for your feelings.

8. There are three basic ways we “dance” with our partner. We pursue each other (butt heads), we withdraw from each other (off to our own corners) or one pursues while the other withdraws. You want to get back to that fine waltz. Remember how you talked for hours in the beginning? Look for what is being left out of the conversation now, like grace, for instance.

9. No sniping! Do you remember watching those couples who put each other down in front of other people, or act like they are constantly in a state of crabbiness? You and your partner vowed you would never become like them. So stop it already! Realize that your partner is not going to want to spend much time with you if he or she feels terrible about themselves in your company.

These nine relationship busters are just starting points, but they are important. They can secretly destroy a relationship if left unchecked.

Know of any that got left off this list? What would make a good #10? Post your comments below and let’s have a conversation.

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