5 Things You Do Unconsciously That Ruin Your Relationship

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You’re probably sabotaging your relationship and you don’t even know it. It’s not that you want to drive your partner away intentionally, it’s that your’e unconscious, or unaware, that your behaviors are sabotaging the love you have. We all do it - push people away by acting unconsciously, but the first step to becoming a better partner is to recognize the specific things you do that are make your partner feel unloved, unvalued, and well, just simply annoyed. 

#1 You nag your partner.

You’ve asked your partner to mail that letter four, five, no six times, and by the seventh, there’s a bit of edge to your voice. You sigh, gasp, and roll your eyes. It’s clear that your partner has done something (or has failed to do something), and because of this, you feel the only viable solution is to nag him. While you’re probably thinking: But you don’t understand! He never pays the rent on time! He hasn’t done the dishes in years! The porch light has been broken since we moved in and I was twenty pounds lighter!

Trust me, we’ve all been there. However, I’m talking about the quality of your relationship here, meaning, the depth of your connection, the level of intimacy, the sense of openness and trust. These are not things to take for granted, and the truth is that when you nag your partner about the porch light, you’re jeopardizing these very important aspects of your relationship. How? Your partner feels infantilized. He thinks he can’t do anything right, and so he asks himself, Why even bother? At night, he doesn’t want to snuggle or express physical affection, not because he’s exhausted, but because he doesn’t want to feel close to you. After all, you’ve taken on the role of a bossy parent, and who wants to snuggle with mom when she’s angry?

Instead of nagging, try having a conversation about the issue, not right when it arises, but rather when you are sharing a positive experience. On your date night, or on a cozy Sunday morning, when you’ve settled into the couch to enjoy pancakes together, tell your partner that you’d like to place an issue on the table for the purpose of brainstorming solutions (not to accuse or parent your partner), but rather, because you want to deepen your connection, and these unpaid bills, dirty dishes, etc. are bringing up feeling of frustration. You can communicate in a way that is emotionally healthy, rather than in a way that makes your partner feel diminished. Then, when your partner does take action (even if it’s small), thank him and tell him that you appreciate his effort. Praise him when he does something you appreciate, rather than chastising him when he doesn’t do something you’d like him to do.

#2 You don’t express appreciation.

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Your partner is awesome, but you don’t tell him. You don’t say thank you when he brings you coffee in the morning. You don’t tell him how much it meant to you when he picked you up late at night. He makes you laugh, but you never say how funny he is. Yeah, but he knows these things. I don’t have to tell him. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People love to feel valued, especially by those closest to them. Don’t think that complimenting your partner once a week is enough. Two people can lose their connection quicker than it took the connection to develop. Most people are overwhelmed with life: work, kids, errands, and a too-packed schedule. They’re trying their best, and all they want is a little bit of appreciation.

Often, that doesn’t come from their boss, children, or friends. They go days, weeks, or months, without someone telling them how awesome they are. Don’t let that be the case with your partner. Tell him how much you appreciate him every day, and be specific. I appreciate that you cooked dinner I love how funny you are. You bring me so much joy. Thank you for shifting your schedule so we could get lunch together. It means so much to me. If you have a hard time saying these sorts of things to your partner, then ask yourself why you’re uncomfortable communicating your love and appreciation. Make it a goal to say thank you, and I appreciate you. Set a reminder on your phone.

#3 You try to change your partner.

Your partner is a goofball, and you wish he’d be more serious. Your partner is a mess, and you bought him Marie Kondo’s book in some attempt to get him organized. Your partner is lazy, and you send him daily motivational videos, hoping he’d become more ambitious. I get it, there are less-than-lovable things about your partner’s personality. Do you think you don’t have any? Are you so perfect that you never get grumpy, moody, or do something a little thoughtless? Sure you do! We’re all doing the best we can! Stop worrying about how your partner can improve, and instead, ask yourself: How can I improve?

#4 You don’t let go of the past.

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Three weeks ago, your partner forgot to pick you up from work. Three months ago, he receive a text from his ex, even though he told you that the two of them were no longer communicating. Three years ago, you gave up an opportunity to take a higher-paying job, because he said it would require you to spend too much time at the office and away from home. 

You haven’t let go of any of it.

Instead of working through these issues with your partner, both of you have argued about them and then let them fall to the wayside, collecting energetic residue. Every grievance or resentment that you hold builds up and forms mountains of fear in your mind, body, and relationship. You get migraines, but you don’t know why. You hurt your back, and you blame it on age, but really, you have tension in your body, because you don’t have harmony in your relationship. Every time you throw something from the past in your partner’s face, claiming, Oh yeah! Well how about the time you—!” you ruin your relationship, plain and simple. 

You’re likely thinking right now, But you don’t understand, sometimes my partner can act like an asshole. Oh, but I do understand. We can all act like an asshole sometimes - myself included. There’s no man or woman alive who doesn’t act like an asshole sometimes. The key to cultivating and maintaining a close relationship with your partner is forgiving him when he does and moving on. 

Let. it. go. 

#5 You don’t communicate in a healthy way.

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Your idea of communicating is screaming, acting sassy, and saying mean things that hurt your partner. Your idea of communicating is starting every sentence with an accusation: You did… You didn’t do… When you said…. When you… Your form of communication is, if I’m being blunt here, attack.

You attack your partner, because you don’t know how to communicate in a loving way.

Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. No one ever taught you! Healthy communication was not modeled by your parents, and it’s certainly not modeled on television or in film. Everywhere, we see people fighting, huffing and puffing, and acting like children. Then, we look at 11-year-olds and expect that they should be able to talk through their problems in a calm and agreeable way.

For an in-depth explanation of how to communicate with your partner, read Guidelines for Communicating in a Relationship and 5 Habits of Conscious Couples.

Here’s the key: When you are in an emotionally and spiritually mature partnership, you’re going to have issues arise, without a doubt. Expect that it’s going to happen. No couple ever said, It’s just amazing! We don’t fight!

Instead, sit down with your partner and make a plan for how you’re going to handle issues when they arise. What tone of voice are you going to use? Which spiritual texts can you read to help you work through fights? My partner Tim and I read Gary Zukav’s book, Spiritual Partnership. We have a set time each week that we look at any issues that have arisen, or any topics that need to be discussed. I talk about how Tim taught me how to be a better communicator in this video - The Biggest Lesson I’ve Ever Learned from My Boyfriend.

If you’re ruining your relationship by doing one or more of these things on a regular basis, then consider this moment a pivotal moment of recognition. Make a declaration to the Universe that you are willing to stop. Repeat the following aloud: I am willing to release all blocks to love. I am willing to do whatever it takes to deepen the connection I have with my partner. Take a breath. Simply setting the intention to respond out of love instead of reacting out of fear will transform your relationship in miraculous ways and deepen the connection you have to your partner. Instead of ruining your relationship, you’ll make your relationship a greater source of joy in your life.