5 Little Things That Can Hurt The Healthiest Relationships
Unless you’ve been living in some kind of fairy tale, you know there are things that can be detrimental to a healthy relationship, things that you want to avoid so that you can stay in a relationship.
When we fall in love, it’s all fireworks and roses. You believe that you have the love of your life and that you will live happily ever after. And I’m not saying you can’t live happily ever after, but I’m saying it can be difficult.
A lot of relationships fail because of the 1000 little cuts, those everyday instances that cause the other person pain. They seem like small things, but taken together they can be very damaging to healthy relationships.
Many causes of damage to healthy relationships are obvious: treating each other with contempt, leaving underwear on the bathroom floor, not taking out the trash when asked to refrain from love, etc.
But there are also other small things that people often do, things that may not be so obvious but are very important.
1. Hiding things.
Lying by omission means lying by omitting something in a conversation. For example, if you’re asked why you’re late coming home, you’ll say you stopped at the bar for a drink, but you leave out the fact that you were at a friend’s house that she doesn’t like. You know she’s going to be upset and you don’t want to hurt her or start any drama.
Have you ever lied to your person because you want to protect them from her? Have you ever thought that what she might not know might not hurt her? Have you ever intentionally not disclosed something out of fear of the emotional drama that might follow?
There are two reasons why lying by omission is one thing that can hurt healthy relationships.
- The first is that you are to withhold something from your partner and that is a lie and that will only pave the way for more lies. And when you lie to your partner, you show that you may not love and respect them and your healthy relationships could suffer.
- The other problem is that if you are ever caught in one of your lies, your partner will lose faith in you and may be suspicious of anything you tell them in the future. How annoying would that be?
So be honest. Always.
2. No, go through with it.
This might be a bit more obvious, but it’s a very important thing that can hurt healthy relationships.
Have you and your partner ever agreed to do something and then one or the other of you doesn’t go through with it? Don’t you go through with it because you didn’t really want to, or because you forgot, or because time didn’t allow it? Are you trying to sweep it under the rug and either lie or make excuses?
Not going through with it without explanation is a sign of contempt. If you just don’t do something, for whatever personal reason, and you don’t talk to your partner about the whys and hows, you’re sowing the seeds of substantive disregard.
My husband and I used to have this problem all the time and then we finally talked about it. What we’ve learned is that when we make a plan, I assume it’s a done deal and he assumes we’ll still talk about it.
That’s just how we both acted before our relationship. We realized that we need to be clear about our plan – did we decide to do it and then it would be done or is more discussion needed? Knowing these things made it much easier for both of us to follow up.
3. Ignore the important things.
I once had a friend who hated it when I slammed his truck door. I didn’t know – I just thought I shut them like any other car door. But I guess I tied them too tight and he didn’t like it.
Of course I thought he was ridiculous – that was a big, huge truck and how could I, the little old man, do any harm to it. We argued about it all the time.
What I realized in hindsight is that I didn’t manage to close the truck door with enough force to make him feel ignored and disrespected. He loved this truck and wanted to take care of it and he felt that my slamming the door would harm him.
I fought back every time, but instead I wish I’d realized he cared and did whatever I could to remind myself to close them more gently. That would have been a respect for what was important to him and that might have made a big difference in our relationship.
Is there something your partner does that they love that you find absolutely ridiculous? If so, accepting it instead of pushing it back could make a big difference in your healthy relationship.
One of the hardest things about my ex for me was that he was a different person in different situations.
When he was with me he was wonderful, open, honest and kind. When he was with his family and friends, he was a completely different person. He would focus on people and then talk about them behind their backs. He said things that were patently untrue to make her like him more. He didn’t choose to talk to me, instead mingling with everyone. He was always the last one out of a party no matter what I wanted because he didn’t want anyone to think he wasn’t cool.
Are you the kind of person who is a chameleon in life? Do you behave differently in social situations and maybe treat your partner differently?
Doing this is one of the most important things that can hurt healthy relationships. So pay attention to how you behave in social situations and do your best to change your behavior.
5. CHEATING on TV.
This is new, but a big deal that can damage healthy relationships.
In this binge-watching era, it’s not okay to cheat on your partner by looking ahead! Point.
I had a partner that I watched Sons of Anarchy with. I told him it was very important to me that he didn’t watch it without me because I wanted to share the excitement with him.
And then I went away for a week. And what did he do? He’s looked at everything.
I told him how upset I was about it, but I really never got over it. I wanted to share this show with him and that he ignored my feelings was a big deal.
I know it seems stupid, but for whatever reason, it’s not.
So don’t underestimate the importance of not following your and your partner’s favorite shows. It could be the end of your relationship if you do that.
Understanding what things can hurt healthy relationships is a proactive way to keep them still happy.
The 1000 small cuts can make a difference in the health of relationships, probably more so than leaving obvious things like your underwear on the floor.
So pay attention. Don’t lie, follow through, respect what’s important, be consistent, and be careful with your TV viewing. You’ll be glad you did!