How to Damage Your Relationship

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  1. Dateless days: Relationships are like flowers; they need the frequent care of water, nutrients in the soil, and daily sun light. Relationships similarly can’t grow without frequent care of one-on-one time, such as date nights. The time of couples focused on one another, creating emotional connection and building a stronger connection in the relationship. Don’t forget to water the relationship with adding on Dates!
  2. Computer love: Electronics are becoming more and more part of the American routine; however, the technology of text messaging and internet can create a wall between two people. I often see couples sitting side by side out to dinner, yet they vanished away into their own individual electronic worlds. Technology is getting in the way and distracting them from the relationship.
  3. Friendship Focal Points: For social butterflies, socializing is key and very significant for maintaining relationships. The problem for couples is when either one or both people put more emphasis on friendships and don’t create a healthy balance. When friendship is the main focal point, then the relationship shifts to the peripheral vision.
  4. No “Check-ins:” Quite frequently, partners may hear different messages than what their partner is actually meaning to say. The problem is that the simple step of checking in is overlooked and then reactions take over, starting the communication war.
  5. Back Burner Choices: When life gets tough, substance (such as drinking, shopping, eating, etc) is used to help alleviate stress and take away the emotional pain. Unfortunately, the choice of substance automatically puts the other partner on the back burner … creating the feeling as if they aren’t willing to navigate through the rough times by the side of their partner.
  6. Unsafe Zones: Safety is the comfort of your partner knowing that they can rely on you, get comfort from you, and know the . When someone criticizes, gets angry quickly, speaks down to, or overlooks your emotional needs, it can create the sense of “it isn’t safe and my needs won’t be met.” This tends to push away partners and have them get comfort on their own or look for it in other ways.
  7. Avoiding Tough Topics: Many people avoid tough discussions with their partner as a way to keep the relationship tightly connected; however it doesn’t create space to resolve issues. The partner on the receiving end may feel as you “go away” or “don’t care,” creating a feeling as if they have to hold on tighter, cling on, and get you to open up … which can actually push you further away.
  8. Email Snooping: An insecurely attached relationship can feel terrible, with fear and overly concern with what the other person is doing. Some partners take it upon themselves to do the investigation and search through emails to either confirm or deny their worst fears … a way to get comfort for their worry. The problematic part of this email snooping is that the insecure attachment does not get resolved, and the distress in the relationship becomes magnified.
  9. Holding on Too Tight: When the attachment is not secure, it can create a terrible feeling of fear of losing the relationship. Some people may want to feel secure and take away the discomfort by holding on very tightly and squeezing their partner extremely hard that they can’t breathe. When the holding is too tight, the partner on the receiving end will need to take a breath of air by pulling away … and the cycle of keeping the relationship insecurely attached continues.
  10. No Follow Through: Many people tell their partner one thing, and then do something different. For example, saying that you will be home by 6:00pm and then come home at 7:00pm. No follow through shows your partner that they can’t rely on you.
  11. Infidelity: An affair on the side WILL damage the relationship … duh.

By Jennine Estes, MFT. Copyright © 2010 Jennine Estes, used with permission. All rights reserved. Read more from Jeanine at RelationshipsInTheRaw.com

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