The top relationship killers – The French Relationship Expert
Every single relationship will encounter challenges along the way. I want this to be clear right away because many of my clients panic when a problem arises in their relationship. Similarly, a large number of couples struggle with recurring issues and want to know how to keep their relationship safe from falling apart.
That is why I wanted to write this article today. I’m going to go over the biggest relationship killers that exist today and how to overcome them. By the end of this article, you will know some of the biggest tools for preserving your relationship with the man or woman that you love!
Through movies and TV shows, our society makes us believe that we are supposed to live happily ever after with our significant other without ever having to deal with any problems along the way. When we do encounter challenges, we are often not equipped to overcome them simply because we never learned how. Relationships are made or broken in moments of conflict, so let’s take a look at how to make your relationship reach its full potential and withstand the test of time!
What is the number one problem in relationships?
It is a natural part of all relationships… every single one will have highs and lows, and you and your significant other will experience challenges at some point. The way you handle these challenges will determine the durability of your relationship.
Conflicts often arise when a situation gets blown out of proportion. For example, you might get mad at your significant other because he or she forgot to call you last night. You stayed up late waiting for that phone call that never came and now you feel angry and frustrated. You begin overthinking and you begin to worry that something happened and that they don’t want to talk to you… Or worse still, that something bad happened to them. You might even begin to think that they just don’t care enough to give you the time of day.
Maybe your boyfriend or girlfriend didn’t grasp the gravity of something that they did that upset you. Maybe a comment hurt your feelings and he or she doesn’t understand how it made you feel, which is leading to more conflict.
Perhaps you saw him or her interacting with a member of the opposite sex in a way that made you feel very uncomfortable. Maybe they didn’t text you that they got home safely after a night of partying with their friends. Or maybe the person you love forgot or went back on a promise they made to you…
You and your partner are entirely unique, so your relationship is entirely unique as well. This means that each relationship will have its own primary source of tension and conflict. Though everybody’s relationship problems are different, there is a common theme that I have noticed in my 10 years of experience as a coach specializing in love and relationships.
This fear can come in many forms. It might be the fear of rejection, the fear of not being good enough, fear of not being loved, fear of being lied to, fear of being left in the dark, fear of abandonment, having chosen the wrong partner… The list could go on and on, but simply put, fear is a serial killer when it comes to relationships.
How to fight to the Four Horsemen of relationships…
This might be a term that you are not yet familiar with. What are the 4 horsemen of relationships?
Well, to give you a quick summary they are as follows:
1. Complaining about an issue instead of offering constructive criticism.
2. Showing contempt for your significant other instead of supporting them.
3. Displaying defensive behavior instead of working together to solve a problem.
4. Stonewalling instead of being open to communication.
In relationships, it is inevitable that you and your partner will face challenges but as I said, the determining factor is how you react. It doesn’t matter what you argue about, it matters how you argue about it.
The first thing that needs to happen is to analyze the way you react to something that makes you feel upset. We all have different ways of reacting that can damage your relationship and the bond between you and the person you love. Some of the most common reactions are
• The silent treatment. When something is bothering you, you go silent. When your partner upsets you, you give him or her the silent treatment. The result is that it becomes impossible to move past the situation.
• You go into attack mode and hit your partner with comments that are meant to cut deep instead of resolving the issue at hand.
• You’re right, they’re wrong. You leave no room for communication about where you are both coming from, so it becomes impossible to understand each other.
• You storm off. Again, there is no room for communication and you don’t allow your partner to explain.
• You talk about what’s bothering you to everyone except your significant other and often paint them in a horrible light.
• You call your partner names instead of explaining how their actions made you feel. For example, you say, “You’re so selfish,” instead of, “What you did was selfish.”
Each one is a reaction to fear. They are all forms of self-protection, but they do not benefit your relationship with another person. We all have our scars and we don’t want to be hurt again, so we develop reactions that are meant to keep us safe from allowing someone to hurt us again.
It takes time to heal and we can’t expect ourselves to be fully healed overnight, but we can work on how we behave while working through these things. Even the top relationship problems can be solved by adapting our reactions, but it’s not going to happen with the snap of your fingers. So even though it takes time, we can still actively continue working on developing better skills for dealing with conflict.
So, now that you’ve taken a moment to pinpoint your reaction to conflict, be aware of what types of things trigger it. When you recognize conflict coming on, remind yourself that you have a tendency to go silent, and encourage yourself to speak! Clearly tell your partner what is bothering you and offer suggestions on how this can be rectified or avoided in the future.
If you tend to call your partner names when he or she upsets you, try to counter it by putting words to their actions instead. Remember that wearing someone down is going to make them feel awful and feel less inclined to make an effort to rectify the situation than if you were to offer constructive criticism in a calm and collected manner.
If you usually see things in black and white and find yourself thinking, “You’re wrong, I’m right” very often, allow for explanation and practice listening. Yes sometimes a person’s behavior is selfish, it wasn’t necessarily their intention. It is not uncommon for people to overreact in the moment.
If you usually storm off and something makes you angry, work on staying and working together as a team to find the solution to your problem.
If your usual response to conflict is talking about your partner behind his or her back to your friends or family, or if you notice that you need to discuss how you feel with other people, turn to one or two trusted individuals. Choose people who can offer you sound advice, and can help you organize your thoughts before you present them to your significant other. It is ideal to prepare what you want to say so that you don’t end up saying something that you’ll regret the next day.
What other relationship killers should you watch out for?
There are so many silent relationship killers that we need to be on the lookout for. We have so many responsibilities and so many things going on in our lives that it is not uncommon for issues to creep in unnoticed and begin to break a relationship apart. I wanted to go over a few of these with you so that you can know how to protect your relationship.
Once you’ve been together for a while and the honeymoon stage wears off, you’ll find yourself having to deal with housework and other chores. One of the biggest relationship killers is when one person feels like they have to handle all the chores and receives no help. When two people have children, their responsibilities multiply tenfold and both partners will need to help each other out even more than before. Tensions will arise if one person isn’t pulling their weight in the relationship, especially if they don’t have a constructive reaction to the problem.
The next problem I often hear about, which is actually one of the most common ones of all, is a dwindling or nonexistent sex life. When two people have been together for a long time, it’s normal for their sexual desire for one another to calm down a bit. In any case, it’s not going to be like those first six months together! Intimacy is a crucial element of any relationship and should not be neglected. Many people inadvertently stop seducing their partner after a while because they just assume that they don’t need to anymore. This is dangerous because it can lead to one or both people feeling like they are taken for granted.
Another one of the top marriage stressors that I come across is that the two partners do not speak the same love language. If you are familiar with my articles, then you may have come across some pieces in which I discuss the importance of understanding your partner’s love language.
The five love languages as explained by author Gary Chapman are as follows:
1. Gift giving
2. Quality time
3. Words of affirmation
4. Acts of service (devotion)
5. Physical touch
Each person has a different way of perceiving and communicating love. For example, a person whose love language is “gift giving” responds most positively to thoughtful gestures in the form of gifts that reflect that you know and care about them. A person whose love language is “quality time,” will care most about spending time alone with the person they love. “Words of affirmation” are things that you say to your partner that reflect how much you love them. “Acts of service” are also gestures that show that you want to help the person you love and you care about their wellbeing. “Physical touch” is pretty straightforward – someone who responds best to physical touch will want affection and touch.
So, it’s up to you to be perceptive of what your partner or spouse responds best to and be open to communicating about how to make each other happy. By the way, you don’t have to stick to just one of these means of communicating your love! If you want to give them a thoughtful gift and tell them how much they mean to you AND tenderly kiss their cheek when you wake up, go for it! Just make sure you don’t neglect what he or she responds best to.
Similarly, if you’re experiencing a problem in your relationship, instead of letting tempers get out of control you’re going to have to work on discussing the issue in a mature and productive fashion. Instead of pointing fingers, blaming, and yelling, work on getting through issues as a team. If both of you are always on attack mode, neither of you will be happy and tensions will build.
Working on communication and mutual understanding is going to be the key to keeping for relationship safe from the most common relationship killers. Remember, I am always here to help so if you would like one-on-one coaching, all you have to do is click here. You can also leave your question or comment in the section below, and it would be my pleasure to personally respond to you!
All my best,
Your coach for knowing how to avoid relationship killers,