How to Destroy Your Relationship
Through the years as a marriage therapist, I have been asked a countless number of times: “We were so wild about each other. So much in love. So passionate. How could we have possibly grown this cold and distant from each other?”
There are a variety of answers to the above question. Below are the top ways people ruin their marriage, injure love, destroy trust and generally make their relationship a miserable experience:
- Making other things your top priority—work, computer, friends, TV, sports, children, etc.—rather that your intimate relationship.
- Lack of affection. Hand holding, hugs, cuddling and physical tenderness is not only erotic and seductive, but it’s a glue that keeps the two of you feeling close, connected and bonded to each other. Its absence usually means the two of you have grown far apart.
- Dishonesty. It’s hard to trust someone who doesn’t act trustworthy—who has deceived, misled or betrayed you in the past—or who is secretive, hidden or withholding of feelings or important personal information.
- Stonewalling. Rather than addressing what bothers you, you wall off and stay and walled off for awhile.
- Being defensive. Because it becomes increasingly difficult for your mate to say anything to you that you’d rather not hear, and over time, it shuts down communication, connection and closeness, because your partner becomes afraid of (or discouraged) from telling you what’s on his/her mind or how s/he truly feels.
- Being passive-aggressive. Not directly stating how you feel, what you want or what you need, but rather punishing your partner in any number of ways if you don’t get what you want.
- Being overly critical or argumentative. It makes you annoying and difficult to be around.
- Being resentful, angry or hostile too much of the time. Then people will want to avoid you, or they’ll become afraid of you. Either one will destroy intimacy and trust.
- Being self-absorbed or self-centered. Looking out for you, not for the welfare, happiness or contentment of your partner—and certainly not being mindful of what’s in the best interest of your relationship.
- Not taking accountability for your behaviors—especially your difficult behaviors—or feeling so self-justified and self-righteous that you seldom think you owe an apology for your hurtful, insensitive or demeaning words or behaviors.
- Control/power struggles. No one wants to be controlled or to feel powerless, and therefore shared power is the only way that really works.
- Being walled off. Hard to reach. Emotionally or physically distant, closed or withholding.
- Not communicating your needs, wants or desires clearly enough, or not treating those needs, as if they’re important.
- Seeking stimulation in all the wrong places, through alcohol, drugs, an affair, porn, sports, work or in any other way that ultimately separates or distances you and your intimate partner.
- Infidelity or betrayal. This is the worst method ever for attempting to tell your intimate partner you’re unhappy, because once trust in ruptured, it is extremely difficult to recapture—and the price is very high. You also, inadvertently, invite a revenge affair.
- Having low trust. It’s very hard to be with someone who isn’t willing to offer you benefit of the doubt, or who sees your motives as suspect.
- Poor listening skills. Most people talk too much about things that don’t, and listen with a genuine desire to understand way too little.
- Lack of sex. Your partner is bound to feel resentful, angry, rejected and cheated.
- Not treating as important that which is important to your partner.
Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist
Does this happen in your relationship?
One person (let’s say it’s you) makes a request of your intimate partner. Maybe you want help with ...read more
Here are the basic intimacy skills a healthy intimate relationship requires of us:
- That I communicate with you the very best I can. Good ...read more
Everyone knows that it feels more intimate to be connected to the people we care about and love.
But what does that mean, and how do you do it? ...read more
Dear Neil: I’m a 24 year old male in my final year of university. Sometimes I can be extremely confident, with high self-esteem. But sometimes, ...read more
Dear Neil: My husband and I were married at a very young age–he was 21 and I was 19. We’ve now been married 25 years and have successfully ...read more
A woman falls in love with a man. She is wild about him, and will follow him anywhere. But he has a hard time believing that she loves him, and interprets ...read more
Dear Neil: I know I have an anger problem and I need help to control it. When things don’t work out, when I’m running late or when I’ve ...read more
Dear Neil: Could you explain how dating works? I am 29 years old, and don’t know how to tell a guy that I want him to invite me out on a date. ...read more
Dear Neil: Could you address the subject of forgiveness? Although I know what it means to forgive, I’m baffled by how to do it.
My wife ...read more