There are many reasons a couple can find conflict in their relationship. It’s not always about you or them or even your relationship itself. Sometimes it’s letting outside things creep in to wreak havoc on an otherwise good relationship. It might be an ex that just can’t stand to see you happy. It might be an over demanding boss, a challenging schedule, stress from where you live or how you live. Any time we let others influence our lives, we leave ourselves wide open to possible conflicts. At this point, it might be time to make some changes or stand up for what’s most important to you. If your career is, then let go of the relationship. No one wants to play second fiddle to something or someone else.
Then there are the things within the relationship that can either make life very difficult or end the relationship altogether. Depending on what we expect from a relationship, we respond to certain behaviors in a negative or positive way. For example:
If you have a partner that is very jealous, wants to be with you constantly, and can’t accept you doing things by yourself or with others that don’t include them, you will either see that as a demonstration of love and complete adoration or as a smothering of the person you are and unacceptable.
Maybe it’s the opposite. Your partner ignores you. They would rather spend time gaming or going out with other friends, leaving you to your own devices and lonely. You might feel rejected or that you are no longer attractive or fun. Or you could see it as an opportunity to be independent and free to do whatever you please, whenever you please. A sense of ‘nobody owns me’.
How we react to these situations has much to do with how we feel about ourselves. There are extremes to every behavior. A point where someone crosses a line. It’s either ok or it isn’t. When it isn’t, it’s bound to cause conflict. That’s when you decide it matters enough to fix it or you can’t deal with it and you walk away.
Here are a few more behaviors that can cause problems in a relationship:
- Cheating and Lying. Whether it’s emotional cheating, playing around on a dating site, or a full blown affair, it’s damaging. Other than chronic cheating, most people who cheat looked outside of the relationship because there was something lacking, something they felt they desperately needed and were not getting from their partner. If you aren’t communicating your needs, your partner won’t know there’s a problem. Lying often comes about from the need to hide something or to cover up an inadequacy. Both lying and cheating cause mistrust. When trust is lost, it’s hard to get back. Many relationships never recover.
- Abuse. There are no circumstances where physical, mental, or emotional abuse is acceptable. While many do not understand abuse can be more than being physically harmed, hopefully the rest of this list will help. Many of the following behaviors can be a form of abuse. Do not stay in an abusive relationship.
- Being condescending. Being treated like you are stupid or lacking, in comparison to your partner or others, is a form of abuse. It often happens when a partner feels or knows they are actually the inferior one and try to hide behind this behavior. They don’t want you to discover their weaknesses, so they amplify yours, real or not.
- Sex: the lack of, the withholding of it as a means of control, forcibly oversexed, or constantly referring to others in a sexual way, particularly people you know, is demeaning and hurtful. Using sex as a weapon in any form is wrong.
- Insults or disrespect. If your partner is hurling insults at you in private, and even worse, in public, talks down about you to your friends, they are one step away from going deeper into abuse. You are not their verbal punching bag. Verbal abuse often leads to physical. It’s a way to be more controlling by making you feel inadequate. It falls in line with being condescending.
- Rude and inconsiderate. In private, doing things they know annoy you from leaving dirty clothes all over the place, makeup all over the sink counter, leaving the toilet seat up, to leaving the car without gas all of the time, is their way of saying your feelings don’t matter. Going out in public sloppy or dressed inappropriately for the occasion, says the same thing. No table manners or being obnoxious? Nobody wants to see that. They aren’t concerned about embarrassing you or themselves.
- Self-absorbed. He thinks he’s Adonis and God’s gift to women and she thinks she’s a diva and deserves to have people bow at her feet. Can’t pass a mirror without preening? Nobody’s perfect, but they don’t want to hear that. Your total admiration is required. Chances are, working on the appearance of that body will mean more than working on your relationship.
- Emotionally unstable. It’s one thing to be involved with someone who knows they have a problem, sought help, and is medicated. It’s another to try to be around someone who isn’t and is as up and down as a roller coaster, sliding between everything being ok one minute to total panic another, all the while in denial. The unpredictability can make you feel like you are the one with the problem. The strain is exhausting.
- Drugs and excessive alcohol. Anything that alters your behavior will affect your relationships. Some use them to be less inhibited. Some just to escape the reality they live in. Whatever the excuse, it means behaving differently than you would normally. They contribute again to unpredictability and being unstable. Too often it leads to questions about what is said and done when under the influence. If they can’t or won’t say it or be it when they are sober, which is the real version? What should you believe?
- Self-centered. Their needs and wants are their focus. It’s always about them, first, second, and last. They don’t want to be inconvenienced or overlooked. You will never be the priority.
So, if you’ve noticed any of these red flags within your relationship, it might be time to take a good hard look at what’s going on. Is it something you can live with? Will it affect things in the long run? Are you unhappy or feeling unsettled? Is the relationship worth fighting for? Do you need to walk away for your own safety or peace of mind? It might not be just your imagination or whatever you’ve been convinced of. It might be time to draw the line in the sand and get help. People don’t change unless they want to. You need to be ok with who you are when you are with them.