There’s no magic bullet or secret formula to the perfect relationship. They all work in different ways and despite what your horoscope may say, compatibility doesn’t just come down to when you were born or sheer luck. They aren’t easy and anyone who says they are is either lying or delusional.
That being said, there are certain things that will kill a relationship fast. Regardless of how ‘perfect’ you are for each other, these three things are sure-fire ways to cause damage that just can’t be undone.
1 – Zero Communication
You’ve heard it time and time again because it’s so darn true – communication is KEY to a happy relationship. While there are times when we communicate more than others, and there are times when the communication part of the relationship requires more effort, when it dies off completely you know you have a problem.
Do you make a conscious effort to communicate?
When a relationship I had been in for 5 years ended people started asking if I had seen it coming and my response was always ‘no’. I had no clue. It was years later that I realised the reason I had no clue was because we didn’t communicate. I had no idea what was important to him and he had no idea what made me happy. We had been together for years but we didn’t really know each other.
While I can now chalk it all up to experience and at the time, our immaturity in relationships, it’s still something that was difficult at the time.
Another thing that always sets off alarm bells is the ‘silent treatment’. If you’ve had a big argument with your partner and you’re not in the right headspace to talk about it, that’s fine. But you need to communicate that with them. You can simply say ‘I don’t want to talk about this right now’ and set a time when talking will be more appropriate.
You need to talk after an argument – not straight away, but you still need to address the issue. The silent treatment is not only immature, it puts out there that you don’t even respect your partner enough to acknowledge them and is only done with the intent to cause more harm. The silent treatment doesn’t exist in a healthy relationship.
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2 – Always Competing
I’m a highly competitive person, and while a little competitive banter is okay (you should see me play a game of scrabble!!) always being in competition with your partner is a killer. So where do you draw the line between healthy competitive banter and relationship killing competitive cycles?
There are a few key things to ask yourself;
Can you celebrate with your partner when they win something? Especially if it’s against you?
Do you encourage your partner to succeed?
Does your partner’s success make you feel angry?
Can you work together to achieve a goal?
Do you feel excited to share your success with your partner or does it make you feel nervous?
Actually, think about how you answer the questions above and ask yourself if that feels like a healthy relationship to you. You’ll know – you’ll have that gut feeling if something isn’t right.
3 – Always Putting Yourself First
This one can be a little confusing so bear with me. We are told that putting ourselves first is empowering and something we do for self care purposes, which is entirely true. You need to know how to put yourself first and ensure your wants and needs are being met. However, if you’re always putting yourself first, the balance may have swung a little too far in the wrong direction.
One of the most awesome things about a relationship is that you shouldn’t feel the need to always put yourself first because someone else puts you first without you needing to. As would you for them.
If you put each other first, and your relationship first majority of the time and put yourself first when you feel you need to, then you have a pretty good balance going on.
This means that your partner may acknowledge when you need to take some time out and have a girls night or time alone, or they will pick a movie for you to watch on Netflix because they know you would love it, or they tell you you’re beautiful and make you feel like you can take on the world.
The responsibility is no longer 100% on your shoulders to ensure your wants and needs are met, which means you’re not always having to put yourself first.
This also means it works in the other direction as well – you put your partner first from time to time and make sure their wants and needs are being met so they don’t have to always put themselves first too.
It’s a healthy balance and once that takes communication (fancy that) and time to find.
If you find yourself in a relationship where you feel these issues are starting to cause some serious harm then you need to make some major effort to change things. And one person alone can’t ‘fix’ it.
You can work together or call in some outside help, whatever you need, but the first step is acknowledging that things aren’t how you want them to be and that you want to change them before these things kill your relationship fast.