Things that kill relationships

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It is not always the big issues that bring a relationship to its knees. Often the little everyday things cause more damage. Research has found that four everyday bad habits that if left unchecked can destroy your relationship.

Criticism: From small things such as slurping tea to big things such as driving too fast on wet roads-it’s impossible for couples not to have different opinions on how to do things. It is easy to slip from disagreement to becoming critical. Often a few words can make the difference between a pointless row and sorting something out.

Contempt: At its most crude level there’s name calling but often the contempt is more subtle. Some people use sarcasm or mockery to put their partner down and when challenged they will say “Can’t I even make a joke now?” Body language can be negative too – rolling the eyes – curling lips. Criticism is especially designed to insult or hurt. Soon both partners are thinking of ways to get even. ” If he wont listen to me then no sex tonight. Or ” If she is going to ignore me then I am going out with the guys tonight.”

Stonewalling: In a happy relationship when you talk to your partner he will show he is listening with small nods, noises of agreement, eye contact and so on. When a couple start stonewalling all this routine feedback disappears. This bad habit is particularly common among men. They will disappear behind a newspaper, remain fixed on the TV, grunt or even walk away. A milder version puts off talking about an issue, thus ensuring the talk never happens. Many men think that this is a natural response and hope by withdrawing they won’t make a tense situation worse.

Defensiveness: The most common type of defensiveness is making excuses – for example. “The traffic was terrible” when you’re late to meet him. Never mind not setting off early enough. Another is repeating yourself. This is often mistaken for an attempt to communicate but in reality you are not listening. When a couples relationship is under stress one or both of you may feel so under attack you’ll defend against even the most neutral statement.

Seven of the best things you can do:

Show interest and listen to your partner. Show you care– through small acts of thoughtfulness such as buying your partner’s favourite ice cream. Be appreciative – give compliments and express your pride in each other. Show your concern – learn to be supportive about the things that worry your partner. Be accepting – even if you don’t agree, show you understand the other point of view and accept it. Joke around – playful teasing, private jokes and general stillness are especially good for your relationship. Share your joy – when you’re having a good time doing things together make sure your partner knows it.