5 Surprising Ways You Might Be Damaging Your Relationship

Alexa Erickson
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Being in love is a beautiful thing, but, as with anything you hold near and dear, you’re bound to experience some highs and lows that, at times, can have you truly questioning yourself and your partner. As humans, we tend to blame others for our mishaps. It’s much easier to point the finger than it is to be wrong. Being wrong is hard.
 
You have to come to terms with the fact that you’re not perfect, and that action needs to be taken in order to repair the damage. Acknowledging that we messed up allows us to grow as an individual and as one half of an ever-growing and changing partnership.
 
But let’s be real – it’s not always as simple as getting into a fight and then making up. It’s about what you say and how you say it. It’s the lack of consideration that builds up because you’re too comfortable. All the little things you do and say to each other day in and day out build up and create negativity in your relationship. But the good news is that becoming aware of exactly what you’re doing can help you begin phasing these bad behaviors out of your life and relationship for good.
 
 
Here are five ways you may be damaging your relationship:
 

1. You don’t say how you feel


 
It’s easy to harbor your emotions as opposed to outright say what’s on your mind. There’s a common fear that perhaps if we say how we feel, a huge fight will follow, because maybe our partner can’t understand our thought process. This type of attitude will never get you anywhere.
 
If you can gather your thoughts and express them in a calm manner, while you may risk your partner not entirely understanding at first, at least you won’t expose yourself to passive aggressive behaviors that only lead to a major blow up down the line.
 
“When you communicate, it is important to respect the fact that you each have unique minds that work differently. In doing so, you get to know your partner on a deeper level that, ultimately, will bring you closer. If both you and your partner are open to each other and compassionate toward your individual struggles, you can help each other overcome obstacles and become the people you both want to be in your relationship,” explains Lisa Firestone, Ph.D.
 
 

2. Little white lies


 
Lying is considered taboo in our culture, and when we get caught doing it, we pay the price. But most of us focus on the big lies, not necessarily the little ones. When we tell the big lies, we often feel guilty, letting it weigh on our minds, depriving us of our mental freedom. But then there’s the little lies, which we constantly justify as a means of avoiding an unnecessary argument.
 
“The general rule is to be as honest as possible. In an intimate, committed relationship, it is all about power. If a person is not telling the truth, they should ask themselves why they feel the need to lie. It is often to obtain a sense of power, to avoid punishment or to preserve a sense of autonomy,” notes couple’s counselor Christine Northam.
 

 

3. Not giving each other enough space


 
It’s never a bad thing to want to be around your partner. After all, you’ve committed yourself to them for a reason. But there’s a fine line between enjoying the connection and being dependent on it. And when you don’t provide each other enough space, you lack the chance to learn and grow from each other’s own interests and activities. Essentially, you both become one person.
 
While it’s great to have a close relationship with your significant other, it’s equally as important to take time for yourselves – separately. Maintaining relationships with your friends – and with yourself – is a great way to maintain a healthy, balanced romance that is not co-dependent.
 
“Missing your partner helps remind you how important he or she is to you,” says Maud Purcell, LCSW, CEAP.
 
 

4. Playing the blame game and keeping score


 
There’s nothing sexy or sweet about fighting over who did the dishes last, or whose turn it is to fold the laundry. Likewise, always calling each other out for making the same mistake isn’t helpful. Focusing on someone being “bad” again will only create more animosity. Circling back to communication, it’s better to discuss the root of the problem in a calm manner than put your partner on defense by attacking them for everything they’ve ever done wrong. If you care about the other person, let the little things go and focus on moving forward.
 
“Stop the blame game and start taking responsibility for your own actions. In order to resolve real issues, it’s helpful to abandon the case you’ve long been building, address your part of the problem, and start fresh with a clean slate. When you are vulnerable you are more likely to achieve what you want,” explains Firestone.
 
 

5. Constantly criticizing


 
No one is perfect. This is something incredibly important to keep in mind, especially when it comes to the person you most intimately share your life with. Constantly criticizing them is only bringing them down, and perhaps even causing them to live in fear of doing or saying something around you because of how you might respond.
 
Everyone messes up. People will continue not meeting your expectations. Be mindful of what you say and how you choose to say it, being mindful of how it will affect the receiver of your words.
 
“Try to focus on their positive aspects and find an appreciation for those exact things that make the two of you different from one another. It’s likely that your differences balance one another out and make you a great team,” notes Purcell.

 
Being in a healthy relationship doesn’t always mean you’ll necessarily avoid the lows in life, but it will allow you and your partner to think, speak and act from a place of love, peace, compassion and positivity. Be realistic with yourself and know that it takes time to pinpoint your negative behaviors like the five we discussed here. And when you do notice it, don’t get down on yourself. Instead, give yourself credit for acknowledging it. Remember that everything takes time, and so long as you continue to work towards your goal, you and your partner are in a good place. Here’s to love!!
 

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Alexa Erickson

Inspired by balance, Alexa finds that her true inner peace comes from executing a well-rounded lifestyle. An avid yogi, hiker, beach bum, music and art enthusiast, salad aficionado, adventure seeker, animal lover, and professional writer, she is an active individual who loves to express herself through the power of words.

alexaerickson.contently.com

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