Relationships don’t just end in a single moment in time. People who love each other don’t just stop loving the other person. Rather, what appears to be ‘falling out of love’ is often caused by a process of destructive behaviors that slowly and consistently tear down the foundation of love and trust that two people have for each other.
Some of these behaviors are subtle, while others are more obvious, however combined, they are generally guaranteed to ruin any relationship no matter how good it was in the beginning.
What are some of the ways that you can ruin any relationship?
Become the ‘Bickersons’
We all know ‘that‘ couple, or those two friends. The two people that argue about everything, and are continually reminding each other, and anyone else willing to listen, of what the other person is doing wrong. There is a never-ending barrage of bickering, debating, and one-upmanship, as well as examples and proof of what the other person did or failed to do.
The constant belligerent attitude leaves both people feeling irritated, isolated, defensive, and unloved. It also brings a quality of negativity to those around you, making your social interactions less enjoyable for all involved.
You can get stuck in your way of doing things and refuse to make adjustments for the other. Or you can pretend to compromise, but do so begrudgingly, while remaining angry the whole time, whining and complaining about the situation, and then continue to make the other person wrong in both overt and covert ways.
You can also add some words or feelings to the situation that demonstrate just how much more you compromise than the other person. Then be sure to let them know how self-centered they are, and how much more generous you are.
Secrets destroy relationships. With secrets come shame, self protection, and a decline in trust, connection, safety and intimacy. Of course, we all need privacy, and I am not suggesting that it is a good thing to tell each other every single thought or feeling you have. But if you really are on a path to destroy your relationship, you can do things behind your partners’ back, be sneaky, convince yourself that “what they don’t know doesn’t hurt them,” or that you are simply protecting them. These are all great ways to justify your secrets.
You can convince yourself that secrets are an important way to avoid conflict. Do not talk about feelings that you have or about things that you have done or will do, so that you don’t have to deal with the other person’s anger or upset. You can then go on to blame them because you had to keep the secret since they would have been upset about it and you were certainly not going to deal with their upset.
Complain and whine to friends while trying to gain their agreement about your own victim hood in the situation
A good way to create bad energy with someone is to talk about them behind their back to others in a negative and blaming way without sharing their side of the story or your responsibility for why the other person acted that way.
It is actually pretty easy to gather evidence from friends, that the other person really is wrong, when you tell a one sided version of a story. It is easy to convince others that you really are the victim in the situation.
By gaining agreement, you then add more conviction to your “story” about the other person, and you decrease the likelihood that your friends will support your relationship or trust the other person.
Focus on what your partner didn’t do right rather than what their intention was or what they did well
No matter what your partner tries to do for you, be sure to point out the ways that they failed, or that they didn’t do something good enough, in the right timing, or in the way that they were supposed to do it.
Be sure to always maintain control by reminding them and telling them of the ways that they need to improve and do better. Do not appreciate them for their efforts. Do not thank them for handling shared responsibilities like doing the dishes or taking out the trash because those are required house tasks .
Let your anger and triggers be more important than your agreements, or immediate needs or issues
If you really want to destroy trust in a relationship, let your anger, hurt, or upset lead the way, and let those triggered upsets become more important than your agreements or the bigger picture of your friendship or relationship. In other words, if you get in a fight, have a disagreement, or simply feel misunderstood, you can stomp out of the house, lock yourself in your room, or isolate yourself and become unavailable.
You can then let that upset be your justification for not following through on important shared responsibilities or agreements. Don’t attend the dinner party you both have agreed to go to. Disappear and don’t follow through on helping to feed the kids, or clean the house, or make the phone call you agreed to make. Even worse, you can refuse to put the fight or upset aside for an emergency or a situation where the other person truly needs your help.
You can justify breaking your word or not showing up for the other because you were angry, hurt, upset, or felt betrayed by them.
Hold on to resentments and refuse to forgive
A great way to decrease your loving feelings for the other is to hold on to things you blame them for without talking about it, or working on the issues, or sincerely trying to create change.
You can justify your resentments by telling friends why the other is bad and wrong, and by reminding yourself that what the person did was really not OK.
Do not forgive them. Tell yourself that if you forgive them, that makes their actions OK and that this will give the other person more reason to engage in those same unacceptable behaviors again.
Holding on to blame is a very efficient way to destroy love. In the moments that you are thinking and talking about your resentments, you can observe that it seems that you no longer love, or even like, the other person.
Don’t take care of yourself
To start resenting the other, you can start expecting them to fulfill all of your needs. Stop taking care of yourself. Stop exercising, don’t eat in a way that feels good to you, stop any spiritual practices that you enjoy, and don’t hang out with friends or by yourself. Be sure to make your relationship issues more important than your career or individual needs and desires and definitely don’t pursue your own dreams.
You will then start to feel badly about yourself, perhaps become depressed and/or angry, and you will very likely be irritable on a regular basis. The other person will be a constant disappointment to you because they will never be able to make you happy or fulfill your needs.
Expect the other to change core behaviors or their personality style
A good way to set you both up for failure is to keep hoping, wishing, manipulating, and pushing to get the other to change in some core ways for you.
Some examples include behaviors such as: being involved with someone who likes to leave things lying around, and you keep trying to turn them into someone who always puts their clothes away. Or having a friend that is often late, but you keep trying to force them to be an on-time person.
A more difficult example might be that you are someone who wants and needs to talk about your feelings immediately, but the other person needs or wants space, and/or doesn’t always like to put things into words in a way that you might want them to. You keep cajoling and pressuring them to be more like you, which inevitably leads to loss of tempers, emotional distance, and fights.
There are many more examples of how you might be trying to force the other to change. This ongoing striving to get the other to be more like how you would like them to be leads to disappointment, resentment, blame, and feelings of victimhood.
Hold on to the idea that you “shouldn’t have to”
One of the best ways to send your relationships on a downward spiral is to keep telling yourself that “I shouldn’t have to.”
You shouldn’t have to tell the other person that you love them or what you love about them, because they should know. You shouldn’t have to clean up after them. You shouldn’t have to compromise. You shouldn’t have to give up any of your needs. You shouldn’t have to tell them what you want or need because they should know. You shouldn’t have to listen to their story or complaints. You shouldn’t have to remind them of your agreements.
You shouldn’t have to … whatever. That’s right. You shouldn’t have to and you don’t have to, and the more you tell yourself that and act on it, the faster your relationships will fall apart.
Keep thinking and affirming that if this was the right relationship, you wouldn’t fight, and you wouldn’t have to work so hard.
Don’t work on yourself or the relationship because ‘you shouldn’t have to’. Resist fighting and arguing because it is draining and time consuming. Keep believing that your partner’s issues are their issues and they are not about you.
Hold on to your viewpoint that they are the only one responsible for their feelings and that their experience and needs are not your problem. Keep telling yourself and the other that it is not your problem if they are affected by your behavior. Stand strong in your belief that if they would change, everything would be just fine.
Hold on tightly to your need to be right.
Most of us love being right, and hate being wrong. Holding tightly to your need to be right is the perfect obstacle to closeness and relationship and it is one of the best ways to sabotage a partnership, friendship, or love relationship.
What do you need to be right about? Be right about your resentments, what the other person did to you, the things you shouldn’t have to do, your self righteous and justifiable anger, your belief that the other person betrayed you, your unwillingness to compromise or change, and your reasons for keeping secrets.
By holding on, with conviction, to your RIGHT to be right, you are well on the way to sabotaging any relationship.
If you would like to avoid the satisfaction, fulfillment, joy, partnership and profound connection of building a long-term successful relationship, then just consistently apply one or more of the above behaviors. Engaging in them occasionally isn’t necessarily enough to ruin a relationship; you need to really dig in and apply yourself on a consistent basis. 🙂
I do hope that it is obvious to you that I am not recommending any of the above behaviors or that you intentionally work to sabotage your relationships 🙂
Hopefully, the above blog post will make you laugh at yourself and perhaps you will recognize yourself in some of the above listed behaviors that we all engage in from time to time. My intention is that you begin to understand that your ongoing actions and behaviors on a daily basis affect long term love and friendship.
Consider the possibility that it really is possible to keep passion alive in relationships and that you can have a significant impact on what you create for yourself and others.
This is amazing! I am so thankful for these wonderful, insightful words of wisdom. I appreciate you taking the time to write them and help so many of us. Your hard work does not go unnoticed. I am extremely grateful that my marriage of 32 years is more fulfulling than ever before. I must agree with you….it has much to do with not having these sabotaging behaviors. Thank God! and Thank you for sharing!
I am so glad that you find this helpful! and I love to hear that you are still in love after 32 years 🙂
best to you,
~inspired Girl aka Barbara