Every long term relationship has its ups and downs, and how we deal with difficulties in a relationship defines us as people and defines the partnership. In the next two posts, we’ll look at seven deadly relationship sins, how to recognise them, and most importantly, how to avoid them ruining your relationship.
1. Lack of communication
Lack of communication is something that one or both partners will complain about at some stage of a long term relationship and it is one of the biggest relationship killers. It can manifest itself in a number of different ways, including:
a) Not listening to your partner – one of the biggest complaints between partners and something couples therapists make a ton of money from. Learn to read the body language of your partner and gauge whether something is important to them. Properly, actively listening to your partner is one way of showing that you respect them, support them and are interested in them.
b) Not communicating feelings – your fears, hopes, dreams, insecurities, issues, and problems. People do change with time and without periodically updating your partner on your thoughts, feelings and interested, you can naturally drift apart (see The Natural Drift Of Relationships – Why Some Relationships Don’t Last). Even small issues, like for example a man leaving the toilet seat up over and over again, can build up to resentment over time and injure your relationship.
c) Keeping secrets – a cornerstone of a healthy and strong relationship is trust (see 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 2), but keeping secrets and having your partner find out can make them feel untrusted and question your own trustworthiness. To build trust in your relationship, check out our post on 10 Ways To Become Trustworthy And More Trusting.
2. Physical or emotional cheating
Cheating doesn’t always have to be physical, and you can do just as much damage to a relationship, if not more, by emotionally cheating. Temptation is all around us, and with the development of the internet, smartphones and other technologies connecting us with people all around the world, there are more and more opportunities to cheat. A fling with someone else – or even mutually entertaining the thought of it – may make you feel wanted or loved (or at least lusted after), but it is masking a void or deficiency in your own relationship that you need to address. In addition, the definition of acceptable behaviour when around others outside the relationship can differ from person to person and couple to couple. Think about the things you might say or write to others, or your body language, in the context of your own partner and your own relationship. How would you feel if your partner said or did similar things to another person? When does harmless, friendly flirting become something more?
A little jealousy can be good and healthy in a relationship – it can promote protectiveness and competitiveness to care and protect both your partner and relationship from the perceived threat. It can remind you of your feelings for your partner, and it can help you to think about and understand yourself a little better. In this way, healthy jealousy acts to guard and support a relationship. But too much, too often can be a deadly relationship killer. Overly jealous people see the world through a distorted lens, losing perspective and perceiving danger where there might not be. Jealousy is a highly complex emotion and can be incredibly powerful, causing us to lose control. Jealousy can be caused by insecurity and possessiveness. It can also be caused by a fear of rejection, abandonment or loss, and it can be triggered by feelings of powerlessness or a lack of control. Overcoming jealousy isn’t an easy task, but you can start by learning to love yourself (see Part 1: Find Love. Step 1. Love Yourself) to develop self-love and self-worth, creating a healthy relationship within us. This develops self-esteem and creates a healthy ego, allowing us develop healthy and productive interpersonal relationships with others. Building trust can strengthen your relationship and help overcome jealousy.
Be sure to check out the second part of this post, 7 Deadly Relationship Sins – What Not To Do In Love – Part 2, which examines the other four deadly relationship sins. And don’t forget to read 6 Secrets To Keeping Long Term Love – Part 1 and Part 2.