Have you ever been out in public and a couple has caught your attention–and not in a good way? Maybe they’re mean to one another, or one of them is ogling another person in their vicinity? It’s uncomfortable to watch. And what is so obvious in other couples may be harder to see in our own relationships. Let’s take a look at some of those relationship killers.
5 Ways You Could Be Killing Your Relationship:
1. Talking negatively about your partner behind their back. It is not honoring, loving, or supportive to complain about your partner if they are not there in your presence to defend themselves (except in therapy or in a coaching session). Besides, you wouldn’t want them doing it to you.
2. Lack of appreciation. The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated. ~William James If you could do one thing to improve your relationship starting today, it would be to show your partner some appreciation–even if it isn’t reciprocated right now. Purchase their favorite treat, write a love note, tell them you love them, do something that they’ll respond to and love.
3. Negative communication–sarcasm, criticism, disrespect, blaming, shaming…According to Dr. John Gottman, to have a good relationship the ratio for positive interactions to negative ones should be 5 to 1–there should be five times as many positive interactions as there are negative ones. I’m thinking 1000 to 1 is more my ratio!
4. Having unrealistic expectations. That sets someone up for failure. So many people think, “Well, they should know what I need,” but no one is a mind-reader. It is up to you to state what you need. And, be willing to hear your partner say they might not be able to give you what you need. Two things on this: 1. No one gets all their needs met all the time and 2. Tell your partner what you need. If they don’t know–how can they provide it. At least give them the choice if they want to give it to you or not.
5. Having unresolved issues from this relationship, past relationships, and childhood. You carry your baggage with you wherever you go. If you aren’t aware of how your issues come up for you and how they influence your life, you can expect to have them influence your current relationship.
Positive, loving, and supportive relationships enhance your life. If yours is detracting from your life–or distracting you from it–you owe it to yourself to address whatever’s going on for you. In my first marriage, I got married without addressing my childhood issues. I kept them nice, safe, and tucked away. That is until I experienced two deaths in one year of two people who meant so much to me which touched upon the incredible loss I experienced in childhood. And while this was going on, my ex was dealing with his own demons. I feel bad for our kids–one of the symptoms of our marriage going south was when one of our children needed therapy suddenly. She expressed the pain that we weren’t ready yet to acknowledge. A beautiful, sensitive soul touched by the sadness and dysfunction of her parent’s relationship.
If your relationship needs some attention, I would not wait until tomorrow or the next day or next week to attempt to fix it. Relationships–especially intimate, healthy, positive, and supportive ones–are so important to a person’s well-being (and it affects your kids).
I learned to love my own company when I separated from my ex. I was okay with being alone. However, sharing a life with someone you love–with the same values, interests, etc.–extraordinarily and exponentially enhances your life. I feel so grateful to have a relationship with the love of my life.
As human beings we all deserve to be in a relationship that brings out the best in us (but that’s not your partner’s responsibility) and with someone who lifts you up, not puts you down. Life is too short to be miserable–if you’re alone or in a relationship. It is within your power to take control of your life and yourself (you can’t control the other person), and to be living your best life, You and only you are in charge of yourself. If you aren’t happy with your relationship, be the person you’d like to be in relationship with.
I can go on and on about this subject, after all, I’m in a marriage and family program! If you’d like to read more about how to create a loving relationship, check out our book, The Secrets of Loving Relationships: The Art of Conscious Loving in an Unconscious World.
Unrealistic expectations almost always lead to disappointment, in relationships and beyond. And I have to agree about the negative communication. I often hear people say “I was just kidding” after saying something hurtful – sorry, but that caveat just doesn’t undo the pain of the comment!
Wise words Seana!