We all have the capacity to kill a relationship and whether intentionally or unintentionally there are few of us who haven’t done so at some time in our lives. Romance novels in their various forms explore the ups and downs of relationships but the quickest way to kill any relationship with a lover is through the infliction of abuse and the emotional damage it causes. When we talk about abuse in a relationship the mind invariably leans towards physical abuse but there are behaviours that we could exhibit which may not be connected with abusive behaviour, but come very close. What are these things that could see the demise of a previously loving relationship?
Disrespect: We may not think we would fall into this trap, but it could be more difficult to maintain respect between lovers than you think. The closer we become in a relationship, the more familiarity there is- which is good because closeness is a great foundation. However, we could easily slide into a habit of disrespecting the other person. How so? Merely the way we talk to our partner, and the way we perceive them. A positive mental image of our partner is a good basis from which to enter into any communication. Otherwise, irritations and our own negative moods can creep into our language. This undermines confidence and can convince our lover that our love for them is waning.
Silent Treatment: We are not talking about space here. Everyone needs space, and each partner should allow the other this if needed. However, silent treatment chokes the breath out of a relationship. When we communicate, we do not have to second guess how our partner is feeling. If we are silent we leave our partner emotionally at sea, and their perception of how we are thinking and feeling about them is likely worse than reality. Without communication, the relationship stagnates, goes bad and dies. Worse still, silent treatment can be used as an implement of control or even punishment. Our partner is cowed by not knowing what is going on in the relationship, and the lack of verbal affection is a sure shortcut to its demise…
Blame: Let’s face it, none of us is perfect! We aren’t, and our partner isn’t. Sometimes the fault lies with us, sometimes with our lover. But blaming and shaming signifies contempt, and communicates that we view our lover as beneath us. This scornful behaviour is toxic to both parties and undermines not only personal confidence, but confidence in the relationship.
Comparisons: No-one likes to be compared negatively to another. But when it is your lover making the comparisons it cuts even deeper. Negative comparison to a parent, for instance, tells our partner that they are not good enough, that they don’t come up to expectations, and that others can please you more than they can. Comparisons to an ex can be even more damaging. After all that relationship failed-obviously for a reason. Are our similar traits going to kill this one too? These are the thoughts that may germinate in our lovers head. They begin to perceive themselves as a failure in our eyes, which may, in turn, lead to the failure of our relationship.
Breakup Threats: This is self-explanatory. It communicates that we hold our relationship as of little value, that we would walk out on it for petty reasons, and that we don’t love our partner enough to show loyalty. Respect, care and communication are instead the ways to keep our relationship alive.
As a species we are hard-wired to seek out relationships. Sometimes we get them right, sometimes we get them wrong and it’s the often rocky road we travel in search of love that ensures the enduring popularity of the romance novel.