We are social beings. We naturally tend to establish relationships, whether they are with a romantic partner, friends, colleagues or family.

But no-one teaches us how to be in a relationship, do they? Thousands of books and articles have been written about relationships and many more will come. Many people struggle to have healthy, nurturing and fulfilling relationships. From my experience as a coach (and I have experienced it personally too), I have identified four main behaviours that damage or end up destroying many relationships. Here’s what they are and what you can do instead:

 

1. Not asking openly and sincerely for what you need.

 

If you had a terrible day, get home and sit on the sofa without speaking for an hour and expect your partner to guess that you need a hug… most likely that’s not going to happen. They are not in your head. They have no clue what you need. You do. So tell them. If you need a hug, openly say “Hun, I just had the worst day ever. Can you give me a hug?” Or maybe you just want to be on your own and not be disturbed. Say it. “Hun, I need some time on my own today. I’ll be in the other room for a while, ok?”

 

 

We expect our partners or friends to guess how we feel and what we need, and unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that. We expect them to give us what we need, and when they don’t, we have a go at them for not being there for us. Talking openly about what you actually need makes things soooooo much easier!

→What to do instead? Speak up. If you need something form your partner, tell them.

There’s nothing wrong with asking for what you need. It doesn’t mean that they will give you what you want straight away, but it avoids playing games that only lead to misunderstandings and unnecessary arguments. Be honest and clear about what you need. Communicating openly with your partner is key to a healthy relationship.

 

2. Interact with your partner when your emotions are controlling you.

 

Don’t talk, or even worse, don’t argue with your partner when your emotions are in control of your behaviour. That is just a terrible idea. We tend to release our emotions arguing with others, and trust me, that never ends well. Most likely you will find yourselves shouting, swearing, and saying harmful things to each other. Definitely not the healthiest thing for your relationship.

 

 

 →What to do instead? If you are really angry, or sad, better spend some time with yourself managing your emotions and calming down before you approach your partner.

This doesn’t mean you are never going to disagree or that you cannot talk about things you don’t like. It just means that it’s better to do it when you are in a state of tranquillity and clarity.  Here is an article on how to manage your emotions and why this is so important.

 

3. Blame your partner for your own unresolved issues.

We all have fears. We all have had bad experiences. And we all have been hurt.  Resolve that. If your previous partner cheated on you, get over it. Grieve that relationship. Heal that wound. But don’t destroy your current relationship by not trusting your partner because the previous one was a disaster.

 

→What to do instead?  Spend some time with yourself thinking of which behaviours could be affecting your current relationship.

Self-awareness is not only extremely beneficial for your emotional wellbeing but also helps you to have healthier and happier relationships. Questions you can ask yourself:

  • How is my past experience influencing my behaviour in this relationship?
  • Is that positive or negative?
  • What patterns do I keep repeating?
  • What are my limiting beliefs about relationships? (Read more about how to identify and remove limiting beliefs in this article.)
  • How can I resolve this?

Exploring how your past is affecting your present life and resolving it is anything but an easy task. If you need more guidance you may want to get some coaching or other types of therapy.

 

4. Not appreciating what your partner gives you.

How many times do you say things like:  “you look great today”, “thanks for washing the dishes” or “ this dish you cooked was delicious!” We tend to criticise and point out others’ mistakes. And of course, you need to speak up when you don’t like something. But there needs to be a balance between what you praise and what you criticise. If you complain much more than you praise your partner you are either:

1) Not appreciating your partner enough

2) In the wrong relationship

→What to do instead? For one day, thank or praise your partner for everything they do that you like. 

Tell them to do the same for you. Appreciate each other for every little thing, and say it openly. Enjoy the results. 🙂

 

All the above applies to non-romantic relationships as well! Maybe you want to read the article again and see if it could help you improve any other relationships, for example with relatives or close friends.

I hope you liked the article and if you have any questions please leave a comment below!

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