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5 Things that Will Destroy a Good Relationship

Updated on October 1, 2015
Watching the sunset together...only to go home and have a fight about a frying pan. It's not cynical; many relationships are ripped apart by the little things.
Watching the sunset together...only to go home and have a fight about a frying pan. It's not cynical; many relationships are ripped apart by the little things.

What Went Wrong?

Relationships come and go, and for nearly everyone, there's always some element of mystery as to why the good times ended. Sometimes a relationship just seems to fade away. Sometimes it has an explosive finish. Either way, it's rare that we can afford the self-reflection to point our finger at specific things that may have made our relationship turn sour.

Sometimes good connections end for reasons beyond our control, but here are a few things that are practically guaranteed to eventually lead to a romance's demise:

1) Trying to Control Your Partner

A lot of people have fears of abandonment, or worry that their partner will eventually reject them. This is the root behind people's desire to control their partners even when they know that it's damaging their relationships. There are two major strategies for exerting this kind of control:

Open Control

This is when someone is openly engaging in acts of control. They don't even try to hide it, and criticize, verbally abuse, or constantly question their partner. They may ask them where they are at all hours, try to control who they meet and when, and watch their every move like a hawk, waiting for them to "mess up."

Silent Control

This is when someone tries to control another more passively, often through a web of lies, so that the other might not even realize that he/she is being controlled. The controlling person might try to exert control by sabotaging their partner's efforts to socialize, by lying about where they've been to produce uncertainty in their partner, or by creating drama between their partner and their family.

Freedom is important. But if you want the total freedom to philander about without someone breathing down your neck to some extent, what you want is not a relationship.
Freedom is important. But if you want the total freedom to philander about without someone breathing down your neck to some extent, what you want is not a relationship.

2) Fear of Commitment

This can be somewhat understanding when a person is used to their partners in a relationship being overly-controlling. They may have had bad experiences in the past and feel that they lose too much freedom if they are willing to commit too much. This may lead to preemptive attempts at breaking "free," like cheating on their partner or expecting their partner to be unreasonably liberal and unconcerned ("What do you mean it bothers you? I'm just going to go spend the night at my ex-girlfriend's house. God, why do you have to suffocate me?"). Even logical objections may be dismissed by such a person.

Now, if you're on the receiving end of this kind of behavior, pay good attention. On the one hand, it's not good to be paranoid in a relationship, but on the other hand, if your partner is acting very obviously "shady"--and it's not that you feel they are, but rather that their outward behavior is that of someone who is obviously trying to hide and evade and break away from you--it may be time for a talk. Maybe you don't need to be together. (Also, by the way, this is one of the tell-tale behaviors of a cheater.)

Don't forget.
Don't forget.

3) Being Needy

This is almost like the total opposite of fearing commitment--it's demanding too much of it.

If someone feels like their life is empty, and that their partner will be their "other half," perhaps they have no business getting into a relationship in the first place.

This kind of neediness will either produce a terribly codependent relationship, if the other person is similarly needy, or will result in ones partner heading for the hills as soon as the neediness becomes intolerable. No one can fill a void in someone's heart except for themselves, and it's unfair to expect another person to take on that burden.

4) Being Addicted anything. An addiction makes a slave out of a person, whether it is a physical addiction to some chemical like a recreational drug, or it is a psychological addiction to some negative activity like gambling. Strong addictions cause everything else in a person's life to take a back seat, and even when the person is a "functional" addict, it takes a piece of their life away that could be spent engaging in more productive pursuits.

More than anything, it takes a toll on the relationships in our lives, as we fail to give them their due attention. Many marriages and relationships have fallen apart due to an addiction, in no small part because at the root of most addictions is something much more than a simple chemical dependency--it's a lack of self-worth.

I want YOU to take responsibility for everything.
I want YOU to take responsibility for everything.

5) Blaming Everything on Your Partner

Most people could pick at and criticize other people's flaws all day if they had to. There's something about a person not being you that suddenly gives you the perspective to see everything that's wrong with them.

This is never truer than when we're in a romantic relationship. Sooner or later, that person is going to get on our nerves. Even worse, if our relationship is headed in a bad direction, it's just so easy to find all the things that our partner is doing wrong and all the things that they failed to do that led to all the relationship's problems.

Of course, we should know that there's more to it than our partner's flaws, since a relationship is a 50-50 partnership where both people are responsible for the outcomes.


How to Stop Ruining a Relationship

It's not overly-dramatic to say that the above five things will ruin a relationship because, unless there's some major co-dependency involved or fear of not being able to find someone else, people run away from others who are untrustworthy, or who seek to control them, or who are too needy, or who want to blame everything wrong with the world on other people. Even if a partner stays throughout all this, the relationships is unlikely to be a happy one, so in a lot of ways it would be worse than being alone.

But how do you stop it, if you have any of these habits, especially if you developed them because of you upbringing?

There are no easy answers, and lots of times therapy (individual and couple's) may be needed, but one thing to keep in mind is that you may want to stop looking outside yourself for love. This may sound counter-intuitive, since we're talking about a relationship with another person, but all these major problems we talked about are rooted in the need to find happiness from something on the outside--the need for out partner to behave a certain way, the need for approval from them, the need for a substance that one is addicted to--and these are all counterfeit sources of happiness.

Before you can have a healthy relationship with others, you must have a healthy relationship with *yourself.* You must love and accept yourself unconditionally, even with all your flaws, before any partner of yours can. This is the source of any love you could have for anyone else in your life.

Now, this is hard to do for many people. Some of us are raised we the false notion that we need to do or be something unattainable to be deserving of happiness. What we need to understand, though, is that we will ever receive that happiness and love from others, if they cannot detect that we feel it for ourselves.

So before you pursue a relationship, examine yourself and build yourself up into someone who is ready for one.

Have You Ever Been in a Relationship that Included Any of the 5 Situations Mentioned Above?

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