Any relationship, just like any person, has its weak spots. Even in the best relationships, it’s not uncommon to find the occasional screaming match or day of fighting. But some bad relationship habits are more damaging than others. Domestic violence, emotional abuse, and other seriously wrong behaviors will quickly destroy a relationship as well as a person. Common, everyday behaviors that may seem innocuous, however, can be almost as damaging. Here are the five worst—and most common—relationship bad habits.
Stonewalling is the process of avoiding conflict and discussion by any means necessary, including leaving after a fight, becoming completely silent when the other person is talking, or lying about feelings. Stonewalling makes it uncomfortable, if not impossible, for your partner to talk about his feelings, and it decreases honesty in relationships. Perhaps most importantly, stonewalling completely eliminates the possibility of talking through and resolving a problem, and thus increases conflict over time.
We all feel blue sometimes and many of us criticize our partner and find ourselves later regretting what we said. But a constant stream of negativity directed at your partner will quickly tear down a relationship. Relationship advice columnist Dan Savage often refers to the “price of admission” in relationships. Everyone has a few annoying behaviors, but fixating on them will gradually tear down your respect for your partner. More importantly, the inability to turn a blind eye to annoying behaviors and focus on positive behaviors makes it extremely difficult to muddle through challenging times. Negativity, in short, limits your ability to appreciate and love your partner, and can make your partner feel terrible about himself.
Coldness refers to physical and psychological distance from your partner. All too often, relationships get stuck in ruts. Partners stop kissing, talking to each other, or leaning on one another for support. Coldness tends to beget coldness, and the more you neglect your partner, the less close to one another you’ll feel.