I see books all the time about the five types of relationship killers. It’s ashamed we stop at five because naming the top five may not hit on the bumps in a relationship. If you look at a lot of the social and psychological data on relationships, the list looks more like this. (Note these are not in order of most damaging to least. There is no way to do that as each entry has its own dimensions and they differ couple to couple).
- Communication issues
- Dependency vs independency
- Ineffective problem solving or arguments
- Changes in sexual desire
- Affairs/one night stands/porn/excessive flirting
- Life Stress: job/unemployment/death/chronic illness/sudden illness/mental illness/increase in responsibilities/aging/moving/life style changes
- Taking the other for granted
- Rushing into a phase in the relationship too quickly: weddings/babies/retirement
- Lack of trust
- Lack of Intimacy: feeling like you have to hide who you are due to fear of being unlovable/ no physical intimacy (touching)/ feeling like you have to be someone else to be loved
- Lack of care: feeling like you are uncared for or your partner does not understand you
- Judgementalism: feeling like you are always scrutinized, you can’t do anything right or being perfectionist and believing you can’t do anything right.
- Tests: partner sets up little tests to see if you pass and are worthy of trust/love
- Unrealistic expectations: if this is love, why am I so miserable – expecting partner to meet or fix your inner emptiness or meet unrealistic expectations or fantasies
- Lack of contributions in household, family responsibilities
- Raising kids
- Comfort levels
- Different goals in life
- Step parenting
- Mistakes: shutting down due to fear of making a mistake, making things worse
- Living in the past
In the next couple weeks, I’m going to address each of these risks and discus them in more detail. In the mean time, what is important to know is that while these can range in metaphor as a splinter, dagger or serial stabbing.
What one couple sees as a serial stabbing another might see as a splinter. Why the difference and which couple is going to ride the wave and come out feeling connected? The quick and easy answer is in fluidity and desire to the commitment.
Fluidity means the ability to bend and not brake, to see the whole picture and not hyper-focus on one detail. Think about your relationship as a porcelain bowl, for example. If you drop the bowl into a swimming pool full of water, it will get wet, but most likely will stay intact. If you drop it in the sand, depending on the height you drop it; it might stay intact or crack. If you drop it on concrete – it’s shattered – almost every time.
There are ways to make you more mindful – more fluid. Keep in mind, however, that you are only one person in a relationship. The strongest relationships have fluidity in both partners.
Until next time….