Do you sometimes get scared that you’re not being a good partner to your significant other? Or, if you’re not in a relationship, maybe you don’t want to start one out of fear you won’t be enough for them?
Even though relationships can be a beautiful union between two loving people, it is not easy to be the best possible partner everyday. It takes effort to create a bond with another person that will last through all the obstacles life puts in front of you.
Unfortunately, while we’re going day by day, sometimes we forget to stop and think about our behavior, and how it affects those around us. And some of these behaviors could actually have a pretty big influence in our relationships, whether we do it consciously or not.
Being aware of those behaviors, and recognizing it in ourselves (if needed), could be a first step towards keeping our mind and our relationship healthy.
Here are some common behaviors that kill relationships.
DISCLAIMER: If you can relate to any of these signs, please do not take this feedback as an attack on your character. This article was meant to be a self-improvement guide for those of you who have been feeling a little stuck.
1. Angrily reacting to criticism
As in any other relationship that involves 2 or more people, sometimes we feel the need to criticize the people we spend time with. That critic doesn’t need to be anything serious – maybe we just don’t like the fact they chew loudly – but the fact is, we don’t like everything about people 100% of the time.
And just as you would criticize your partner every now and then, chances are your partner will sometimes criticize you too.
The way you handle that criticism is a key to a healthy relationship. Do you get offended and give them a silent treatment? Do you turn it around against them, saying how *they* are actually the ones who should be criticized? Do you get angry and yell at them for saying things like that?
All of these behaviors could damage your relationship in the long run. It would send a message to your partner that you’re not open for communication and accepting your own mistakes.
Instead, try to think about what your partner said and what made them think that way. Instead of taking it as an offense, take it as something that your partner finds important and try to find a solution together.
2. Disrespecting your partner’s privacy
Even if you’re a couple, you’re still an individual living in their own body and mind. As an individual, you want to have your own private space for things you enjoy as a person.
It could be hanging out with friends without your partner present, listening to music with your headphones on, chatting in a family group chat…
And your partner deserves that space too! Problems can arise if you overstep their boundaries. This could mean going through their phone, demanding to see their messages or call logs, “not allowing” them to see friends or family, demanding you go out with them everytime, everywhere…
This could make your partner feel suffocated and lose a sense of individuality. They could feel like you’re controlling them, and become unhappy in a relationship.
If you feel this behavior is common for you, it is likely there are some complex emotions underneath those actions – feelings of inadequacy, low self esteem, attachment problems… Working out these problems in therapy could help you, and your relationship!
3. Bringing yourself down
Even if you have a loving partner by your side, sometimes you may get overwhelmed with feelings of insecurity. It happens to many of us, and it is totally okay to have those days every once in a while.
But if you’re constantly feeling insecure and bringing yourself down in front of your partner, you could unintentionally push them away.
They might be annoyed or frustrated that they can’t help you with your self image, and on top of that insecurity could lead to other behaviors like jealousy, overanalyzing your partner’s words, needing constant reassurance…
This could drain the energy from both of you, and leave little room for building your relationship stronger.
4. Giving ultimatums
Sometimes giving an ultimatum is the only option you’re left with to get a desired outcome or change someone’s bad behavior. For example, if your partner has problems with addiction, alcohol or aggressive behavior, when there’s nothing else to do, you may give them an ultimatum: either you get help, or I’m leaving.
This instance is justified as not changing their behavior puts you in a dangerous situation. But some non harmful, mundane situations ask for a constructive conversation, rather than an ultimatum.
When you give an ultimatum, you are in a way trying to manipulate a person into doing what you want. You may say something like: “if you go out with that friend I don’t like, I’ll break up with you!”. With this, you are putting them in a position where they are forced into a corner – they have to choose between two people they love.
SInce they are pressured into doing something they don’t want to, your partner could start feeling resentment towards you, it could affect their self-esteem and destroy the trust you’ve built over time, and consequently hurt your relationship.
5. Giving the silent treatment
Have you ever finished an argument with your partner, and the only thing you wanted to do was to go away somewhere, be by yourself and not answer their calls or texts? It’s okay to need your space to clear your head, and be silent for some time until you’re ready to talk it out.
Silent treatment is different from this. While giving the silent treatment, you’re refusing to talk about a problem, ignoring your partner and avoiding open communication. Giving them the silent treatment instead of expressing your worries may act as a way for you to avoid taking responsibility if you know you’re in the wrong, and it could also help you escape acknowledging or changing your behavior.
A partner who is on the receiving end of the silent treatment may feel confused, ignored, hurt, angry, unloved or unimportant. They might also spend hours thinking about what they did wrong. If they do know what they did wrong, they are still left with no possibility to explain themselves, offer an apology or find a compromise. In the long run, this could make their feeling for you disappear and bring your relationship to the end.
Did you recognize some of these behaviors in yourself?
If so, it’s okay as long as you’re open to hearing it, acknowledging it and changing it. Nobody is perfect, and nobody can expect you to be perfect. The beauty of being in a relationship, after all, is to be able to grow and change for the better one next to another. And while you both work on yourself, your bond will grow stronger than ever!
Thank you for reading!
Written by: Stela Košić
- Cambas, C. (2021, August 26). 5 Behaviors That Can Kill Your Relationships. National Marriage Seminars. https://nationalmarriageseminars.com/2021/08/5-behaviors-that-can-kill-your-relationships
- Firestone, L. (2016, August 8). 7 Behaviors That Ruin a Relationship. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/compassion-matters/201608/7-behaviors-ruin-relationship?amp
- Plumptre, E. (2021, December 9). The Reasons Ultimatums Can Harm Your Relationship. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/the-reasons-ultimatums-can-harm-your-relationship-5199285#toc-why-ultimatums-are-dangerous-for-your-relationship
- Smith, S. (2020, June 15). 10 Different Behaviors That Ruin a Relationship. Marriage Advice – Expert Marriage Tips & Advice. https://www.marriage.com/advice/relationship/behaviors-that-ruin-a-relationship/
- Stritof, S. (2020, June 1). What Couples Need to Know About the Silent Treatment. Verywell Mind. https://www.verywellmind.com/married-couples-silent-treatment-2303421