10 Silent Relationship Killers That Could Ruin Your Love
Everyone knows the obvious ways to sabotage a romantic relationship, but there are also many subtle ways you can erode your bond.
Everyone knows the obvious ways to sabotage a romantic relationship — things like cheating on your partner or showing disrespect through demeaning words and actions. But there are also many subtle ways you can erode your bond and, eventually, doom your union without ever having said a word. But your relationship doesn’t need to fall prey to these covert love killers. To keep your romance going strong, be sure that you ban these 10 relationship predators from your union for good.
This very subtle physical gesture may seem like nothing, but you definitely don’t want to get into the bad habit of unconsciously doing it every time your partner says something that you find asinine or annoying. “Eye-rolling conveys contempt, a strong clue that the relationship is unhealthy and will not last,” says mind-body focused psychotherapist Alena Gerst, LCSW.
If you find yourself about to roll those eyes, close them instead. Eventually, you’ll be able to resist the urge — and your relationship will be stronger for it.
Read more: 10 Signs Your Partner Is About to Dump You
2. Giving the Silent Treatment
Sometimes when couples are in conflict with each other, one partner doesn’t want to talk anymore. That’s fine, but choosing to ignore your partner with the silent treatment is anything but. “While needing space is normal and healthy, the silent treatment is ultimately a cutting off of communication,” says dating and relationship coach Jonathan Bennett. “Plus, people usually reserve the silent treatment for times when communication is most needed, such as following a fight or during stressful periods in a relationship.”
Rather than outright ignoring him or her, express your desire for silence clearly by telling your partner that you need a break from talking.
3. Literally Being Silent
Aside from the silent treatment, simply not speaking and forcing your partner into a sole directive role can hurt your bond. As Elliott Katz, author of “Being the Strong Man a Woman Wants,” explains, one of the main causes of relationship discontent is when one partner steps back when the other wants him or her to step forward and take his or her share of the responsibilities.
“It’s the silence when a woman asks a man for his input on a decision, and he says, ‘Whatever you want. You decide,’” he says. “And it’s the silence when, instead of being aware of what needs to be done, he always asks his wife what to do. He doesn’t realize that this makes her have to tell him what to do, which then makes her feel like he’s a child and she’s his mother.” This dynamic, he adds, erodes passion, appreciation, love and respect.
4. Letting Yourself Go
As time goes on, many partners can get a little too comfortable, which slowly and silently leads to a lack of passion and attraction, says relationship coach Jonathan Bennett. “This letting go can be physical, where one or both partners gains weight, stops working out and becomes generally unhealthy,” he explains. “However, couples also let themselves go by stopping personality development and self-improvement. For example, people lose their passionate, adventurous natures and become low-energy and uptight.”
Certainly, life events like having a child or getting sick can cause people to give their physical appearance or passions a backseat. But it’s never too late to try to revive yourself if you’ve fallen into a slump.
5. Losing Your Independence
Once people get into a long-term relationship, many give up their friends and hobbies to spend more time with their partners. However, this quickly turns into a situation in which they don’t have much going on in their lives besides their other halves — and this can turn into a problem.
“Doing everything together can create staleness and even dependence on the other person,” Bennett says. “Healthy couples spend some time apart and have their own identities and interests.”
6. Lacking Curiosity
“Wonder is a magical ingredient for a healthy relationship,” says relationship therapist Janet Zinn, LCSW. She explains that when we ask about our partners — their days, their thoughts, their ideas — with an open mind, we learn and grow from them. When we don’t, we close the door to connecting.
It’s this connection that keeps the relationship going. If you lose your sense of curiosity (or even just caring) about what your partner has to say, you’re in trouble. So make the effort: It’s worth it!
Read more: 9 Signs Your Relationship Is in Trouble
7. Making Assumptions
Zinn says that it’s too easy to assume that our partners are on the same page as we are. After all, you know your beloved so well, right? If you can finish each other’s sentences, you can probably accurately guess what he or she is thinking all the time. Not so much.
“It’s less common that we ask them about what they do and why they do what they do,” she says. “We more often assume the reasons why, which aren’t always the case.” This can lead to some serious communication issues, which turns into conflict.
8. Having Unmet Expectations
Even before we meet someone, the majority of us have certain hopes, wishes and must-haves for our romantic lives. We assume that when we settle down our partner will meet all of these expectations. And when he or she doesn’t, this can lead to feeling seriously disheartened.
“The causes for this are twofold: Either we never adequately expressed our needs, or we did express them, but over time our partner did not meet even our basic expectations,” says licensed marriage counselor Gary Brown, Ph.D. “As a result, we become demoralized and hurt [and] feel abandoned and alone.”
The solution? Try to always communicate to your partner how you feel to avoid that resentment.
9. Harboring Hidden Bitterness
After many years, some couples stay together out of habit, all the while allowing unspoken resentment to simmer just below the surface. “Individuals within a relationship often feel (or hope) their love will be bigger than whatever negative feelings they have for one another,” says Alex Reddie, chief editor of Flirt.com. “However, harboring bitter feelings for many years without airing them is a dangerous prospect.”
Whether you feel trapped, angry or something else entirely, it’s crucial to air grievances instead of forcing them down. Sooner or later they’ll come roaring out.
10. Keeping Desires to Yourself
Feeling unsatisfied sexually can be a major issue for couples who put a priority on intimacy. According to Derek Newton, founder of simpatic.us, a website that helps couples explore their sexual desires, not speaking up about what turns you on can slowly turn a good relationship into an unhappy one.
“Too many people — especially those in established relationships — are too shy or too scared to raise the topic of their own sexual needs,” he says. “As a result, many people who want to do things, even mild things, don’t even mention their interests. Over time, that’s a killer. Unfulfilled desires lead to resentment, low self-esteem and cheating.”
The bottom line: You’ve got to talk about what you need and want sexually. Your relationship depends on it.
What Do YOU Think?
Are you guilty of any of these relationship killers? Have you ever experienced any of them? Let us know in the comments!