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Top Ten Ways to Ruin a Relationship

by Amy Guertin

A relationship is like a can of Play-Doh. If you take it out every day and work it, it stays soft and malleable. But if you leave it on the shelf, it will harden and fall apart. Relationships require work to make them successful. Unfortunately, there are many ways to ruin a relationship.

Ineffective Communication

1. No longer talking, expressing your feelings, and/or listening. Communication in a relationship is key, writes psychologist John Grohol on PsychCentral.com. Talking is vital to solving problems and making goals. As important as talking is, listening is equally essential. 2. Ignoring or giving the silent treatment. Ignoring your partner doesn’t fix the problem; it punishes. It puts one person in the position of “parent” and one in the position of “child.” This hurts everyone involved, including you. 3. Making threats or ultimatums. Most threats are not ones that you are actually willing to follow through on and lead to your partner not taking you seriously.

Technology

4. Using too much social media. Research done at Oxford University shows that the use of too much social media may actually have a negative effect on relationships. Those who used the most social media reported weaker ties with their partners and less overall satisfaction with their relationships. 5. Texting can be harmful, depending on the content of the message, writes psychologist Susan Heitler on PsychCentral.com. People tend to fight meaner via text. Texting also gets misinterpreted more easily than face-to-face or phone communication, leading to more arguments.

All About You

6. Nitpicking or wanting things done your way. Every time you nitpick, you are saying that your partner isn’t good enough, according to a PsychCentral.com review of psychologist Jane Greer's book, "What About Me? Stop Selfishness from Ruining Your Relationship." The damage that you are doing to your partner and your relationship will compound over time. 7. Being selfish, controlling and/or violent. A refusal to think about your partner sends a clear message of unimportance. Controlling behavior and violence are completely unacceptable. 8. Not problem solving together. When two people stop solving problems together, any problem solving that occurs isn’t for the benefit of the relationship, but for the benefit of the individual.

Losing the Joy

9. Taking your partner for granted. It is easy to take the people in your everyday life for granted, writes Grohol. You forget to say “please” and “thank you.” You forget to tell them how much you appreciate everything that they do every day. 10. Losing the fun. You’ve stopped having the fun that you used to have. You’ve stopped going dancing or dressing up for each other. You’ve stopped laughing together or being silly together. You’ve lost the fun, you’ve lost the laughter, you’ve lost the joy that you once had with this amazing person you fell in love with.

About the Author

Amy Guertin has a master's degree in counseling psychology and will earn her Ph.D. in 2014. Guertin is a licensed counselor and has 15 years of experience practicing psychotherapy, primarily working with children, adolescents and their families. She is also a college psychology professor and is the happiest when she is in the classroom.

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