Relationships are not self-sustaining but can be self-destructive. Watch out for the things that ruin a relationship, however unimportant they may seem.
Once you get into a relationship, you may think the hard part is over. You survived the ghosting, the first dates from hell, and the messy kissers. Now you are settled with someone you actually like. Simple, right? Wrong. There are things that ruin a relationship that you may not even realize until it is too late.
Once you’re in a relationship, there are a lot of things that come easily. You don’t have to deal with new quirks. You know the person and are comfortable with them. But, just because you don’t have to deal with the annoyances of dating doesn’t mean that the hard work is over.
If you want your relationship to last, stay aware of these things so you can get ahead of them and keep your relationship healthy and thriving.
Staying aware of the things that ruin a relationship
You know that relationships require work, trust, communication, and respect to last. But, just because you know that doesn’t mean it is your daily focus.
Everyday stresses like family, work, and money get in the way of sustaining a relationship. When that happens, we take things for granted and forget to be on the lookout for red flags. The things that ruin most relationships are usually not purposeful or cruel intentioned. They happen because there is a lack of focus on sustaining the relationship in its healthiest state.
People get comfortable and forget to make their relationship a priority and things that relationships need to survive fall through the cracks.
Being aware of that and reminding yourself to check in on how your relationship is doing can help you prevent something from ruining it. You might even read the rest of this article and think, okay, this list is locked in. But within hours or even minutes, you get distracted and forget to turn those reminders into action.
We consider our relationships as part of our everyday life. They exist. They are there, and sometimes they make things easier and other times they are what cause us stress.
But, just because they exist daily doesn’t mean they are cared for daily. Make your relationship a priority just as you would your job, your kids, or even your house plant.
Taking the time to care for it keeps it thriving. And when you do that, you can stay ahead of the things that ruin a relationship.
Things that ruin a relationship
Relationships aren’t usually ruined on purpose. But not taking the steps to avoid these things can ruin a relationship.
#1 Manipulation. We all manipulate the people in our lives. We ask questions when people are in certain moods and offer compliments to butter someone up. Some of these things are innocent, but manipulation in a relationship can be very subtle and very damaging.
This could be your partner making you feel guilty about being sick during their last office party to get out of going to yours, gaslighting you, or convincing your partner they should change for you.
Manipulation is something that can go under the radar for years without recognition and can really destroy your self-esteem until you are dependent on a relationship. This may not end the relationship but will ruin a healthy relationship and turn it into a dysfunctional and codependent one.
#2 Defensiveness. When you first get into a relationship, things seem great. You want to impress your new partner. The mutual respect and adoration is in charge. But, as time goes on and the relationship has its ups and downs, communication can be misinterpreted.
When your partner asks if you can communicate more or just offer more clarity on something, you might take that personally, like an attack on your character. We go from honestly and openly communicating to getting angry, defensive, and lashing out.
If your partner tells you they feel ignored and want to spend time with you when you get home from work, instead of getting annoyed and saying you’re tired or they’re overreacting, take a step back and analyze your behavior. Then, work together to find a solution.
#3 Too much comfort. Comfort is a great thing. It is one of the reasons so many people dream of a relationship. You want someone you can be yourself around. But, you also want someone who you feel comfortable going outside of your comfort zone with.
Relationships often become routine. You get used to staying home and watching Netflix during the week, going out to eat Saturdays, and seeing a movie on Fridays. When you fall into your relationship role and stick to that, you are closing yourself and your partner off to new experiences.
A relationship should expand your horizons, not close them. When this happens, you can begin to resent each other and even look elsewhere for excitement which can lead to infidelity. Try new activities together. You can travel, hike, camp, or even sign up for a cooking class. Also, be sure to support your partner in what they want to try even if you’re not interested in it.
#4 Lack of action. You might think your relationship is healthy because you kiss each other each morning and never go a day without saying “I love you,” but words don’t mean much without the actions to match.
You can tell your partner you support their ambition, but if you are unwilling to move your schedule so they can go to an important meeting, you aren’t fulfilling your claim. Acting on the words you say is so important. Using those words can create a false sense of safety, security, and love, but without the real thing, a relationship can’t last.
Your partner may say they are so proud of you for completing your degree, but when they miss your graduation because there was a game on, they are not just going back on their word but breaking your trust.
#5 Codependence. Relationships are there for support and love. And one of the big things that ruin a relationship is codependence. But relying on your partner for all of your fulfillment is unhealthy and even dangerous. It is nice to know you have someone who loves you and is there at the end of a rough day to cuddle and listen.
But, building yourself upon that connection reduces your self worth to the success of the relationship. Then if anything happens in the relationship, like a fight, you question yourself and your confidence.
This is not only unhealthy for you but puts unfair pressure on your partner to maintain your happiness and fulfillment. You can be a team that works together; remember, you are both your own individual people that require respect and even privacy from one another.
Without that independence, there is an unbalanced level of pressure put on both of you and the relationship.
#6 Projecting. We all get angry, annoyed, and frustrated. Maybe you are having a rough time at work. Perhaps you feel like a failure in your new position. These frustrations can be projected on your partner because they are there and an easy and accessible target.
You can project your own self-confidence issues onto your partner and talk down to them. You may even hold them up to a standard that is impossible to meet because you hold yourself to a similar standard.
We need to love and respect our partners and ourselves for who we are, not or what things we expect, are accustomed to, or fantasize about.
#7 Avoidance. Not all relationships are meant to be. But, many go on longer than they should because we avoid the confrontation of a breakup. We push it off. We ignore it. Or we convince ourselves we can hold out.
The same way you might not mention something that is bothering you to prevent a fight, we put off initiating a breakup to avoid the bad stuff that goes with it. But, if those conversations came up when the feelings were fresh, a relationship could actually end on good and even mutual terms. Avoiding the subject is what leads a lot of relationships into an explosive ending or dysfunction.
#8 Control and vulnerability. A successful relationship requires being vulnerable with yourself and your partner. You must be able to have difficult conversations. Sharing your feelings and thoughts is what keeps a relationship honest and alive.
Without that, one partner maintains a level of control that makes the relationship imbalanced. You should both be willing to accept responsibility for your mistakes, apologize, and admit you’re wrong when you are.
We are all afraid of being hurt, especially when we are vulnerable, but without that, a relationship cannot fully develop.
The things that ruin relationships are not obvious. They hide in the shadows and eat away at a relationship until it is too late. Learn to avoid them and protect your relationship from harm.