Identifying What A Relationship Can Be Damaged By
Every time I end a relationship or a partner breaks it off with me, I wonder what a relationship can be damaged by or what went wrong in my relationship and what I could have done to prevent it. I question why the passion and love died with my partner. After many relationships, I noticed a pattern of behaviors either I or my former partner exhibited, which can damage my relationship.
I acknowledge that every relationship will not go smoothly. Even if I have a huge fight with my partner, we can work it out. Fighting over small things is not a reason a relationship can be damaged.
Lisa Firestone, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist and writer says that there are common behavior patterns that can damage a relationship over time. This can lead to the couple splitting up or one of the partners leaving.
Dr. Robert Firestone, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, theorizes couples form a “fantasy bond”. He explains, “couples form a bond that ‘goes on auto-pilot’ of an intimate relationship out of an established fear of being alone. It’s an illusion of connection and closeness with a partner despite emotional disconnect.”
There are seven ways a relationship can be ruined or turn into a “fantasy bond”.
The purpose of the list is to help you and your partner. It can highlight what might be going wrong in your relationship and how to help.
Distinguishing one or more of these behavioral patterns, it doesn’t necessarily mean a relationship will end. Use this as an opportunity to evaluate a relationship and how to grow from it.
- Not Being Open to New Activities
When I’m in a relationship I want to maintain my individuality and also grow as a couple. A relationship can be damaged by sticking to a routine and not trying new things.
When my past relationships started to become a “fantasy bond”, my partner or I will develop accustomed roles and habits, which inhibited us from trying new activities together. It stopped my relationship from growing and we started to not like each other.
Of course, no one should be coerced into doing anything; however, rejecting every new idea removes the excitement from the relationship.
Instead, aim to do the activities you enjoy alone and figure out if you and your partner can do it together.
From my experience, I shared some of my interests with my partners and kept others for myself.
After all, a relationship doesn’t exist in a bubble, trying new things allows it to grow.
- Negative Judgements
I think about why I was attracted to my previous partners. After the beginning stages of my relationship, I begin to forget why I liked my partner, to begin with. Their quirks start to become irritants and I often find myself comparing my partner negatively to others.
In the past, I’ve tried to keep the comparison to myself or voice them indirectly or talk to friends. Regardless of how direct or indirect I acted, my partner detected it and he felt unappreciated and hurt.
Listing the reasons why I love and appreciate my partner is a healthy exercise. It reminds that I should value kind-heartedness and trustworthiness in a relationship. The extrinsic characteristics don’t matter if there isn’t a basis of trust and care.
If I did that for my previous partners, my relationships wouldn’t have been damaged by negative judgments.
- Not Focusing on the Relationship or Partner
One of the hardest factors of relationship is creating balance. I need a balance between spending time with my partner and time for my own interests. I prefer not to spend all my time with my partner, but I also want to feel welcomed, desired, and admired.
For any long-term relationship-especially marriage- it’s important to continually demonstrate love and affection for the partner. It’s hard when work and sometimes children come into the picture.
Partners can have their own interests and still keep their relationship the first priority. When both partners prioritize each other and the relationship, it can flourish and continue to grow.
Not doing this, can be a sign that a relationship is damaged and might lead to a break-up.
- Not Giving Your Partner Attention
In today’s world of smartphones and tablets, it’s easy for me to neglect my partner. I soon realized that my relationship can be damaged by an over-attachment to technology and social media.
When one partner continually checks their phone, the other distinguishes this as a sign of disrespect. They might feel as though they need to “compete” for attention over a phone, which is even worse.
My advice is to put the phone away when you want to spend quality time with your partner. It’s easy and a matter of breaking a habit. It can prevent a relationship being damaged by technology.
- Not Taking the Time to Understand
In the past, I’ve had a tendency to perceive my partner not for who they are but how I want them to be. I held them to a high standard and idealized them. When they didn’t meet my standard, I often criticized them for the small things and over-emphasized what I thought were negative qualities.
For my better relationships, I tried to appreciate my partner for both their faults and strengths. I didn’t idealize my partner or focus on their flaws, which helped my relationship from being damaged by misunderstanding.
- No Effective Communication
Communication is key to any successful relationship. A relationship can be damaged by not establishing a way to healthfully communicate thoughts and feelings.
Ineffective communication leads to misunderstanding, bitterness, and loneliness.
To repair this, I had more discussions about aspects of the relationship I could manage and adjust. This was a better use of my time and energy. Instead of arguing about insignificant things, I focused on topics which would help my relationship grow.
Take the time to practice effective communication with friends and family before dating someone new. It can make a difference and prevent a relationship from being damaged.
- Not Recognizing Your Own Faults
As I’ve become older, I’ve shown more maturity in my relationships. In my earlier relationships, I often blamed my partners and never acknowledged when I needed to apologize. This drove my partners away and became a reason why my relationship was damaged.
Acknowledging your own faults creates mutual respect and holds your partner to the same standard.
If you can’t recognize your own thoughts or say, “I’m sorry”, really evaluate how much you appreciate your partner. Apologizing can save a relationship from being damaged. It might be worthwhile if you truly love and value your partner.
I’ve apologized and saved my relationship. To me, it wasn’t worth losing a partner over a trifling matter. I realized I value a partner who appreciated, valued, loved, and encouraged me.
If you have noticed these seven ways a relationship can be ruined in either yourself or your partner, take time to assess. It may be time to have a discussion with your partner. If you and your partner truly love and value each other, it’s worth working through your issues.