5 Common Relationship Killers


Humans have changed and grown in numerous areas, but one area where we have remained very much the same is in our intimate relationships. We get stuck in routines or on autopilot, forgetting to nurture our relationship or choosing to shove issues under the rug. When you disregard how your partner feels or their opinions, you get stuck in your narrow perspective. Reaching out to your partner for help when you get “tunnel-vision” is crucial, but many of us do not. Too often we have excessive pride, egotism, or insecurity that leads us to lose the love of our life.


There are five common “relationship killers” I see regularly in my office. Being aware of them and intervening early can protect and save your relationship.

1. Trying to read your partner’s mind. We often know our partners so well that we make predictions or assumptions on what they will do or say. This can lead people to jump to conclusions without evidence. Assuming what actions they will take will only lead to resentment, miscommunication, and a lack of trust.

2. Insulting or teasing your partner in an insensitive manner. When you label your partner or tease them about a weakness, resentment begins to boil and will eventually manifest as anger, withdrawal, or stonewalling. When you’re referring to how you feel, use “I” statements and never tease your partner about a weakness in front of others. Just because they stay silent doesn’t mean it doesn’t hurt.

3. Assuming you know how your partner feels. You may think you know how your partner feels because you’ve been with them so long; however, you can’t possibly know what another truly thinks without asking first. Telling your partner how they should feel is insensitive and disrespectful. Instead, be curious and ask your partner how they feel and then actively listen to what they say.

4. Tuning your partner out or walking away. When your partner talks with you and you continue to watch your program or look at your phone, you tell them with your actions that you aren’t listening. This makes your partner feel devalued and they withdraw from you. To prevent this, begin a new rule that you will listen with your ears and your eyes. Put phone away, shut off the TV, and tune in to your partner.

5. Acting like your partner’s boss or parent. When you begin parenting your partner, they become your project not your partner. You see this pattern with couples who may have good intentions, like getting their partner to exercise or eat healthier; however, when your partner feels like they’re married to their boss or coach, it forfeits friendship and intimate connection. To avoid this, explain to your partner upfront that you worry about them because you love them and then ask them for their help in planning and committing to a healthier lifestyle. It will be more fun, and your relationship will feel more balanced.


If you see hints of these patterns in your relationship, re-direct your focus onto more acts of consideration, kindness, and generosity. After years of research, they’ve proven to be the stuff happy couples and committed relationships thrive on. Creating a thriving relationship is a wonderful goal for 2021.


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