5 Ways You’re Unintentionally Damaging Your Relationships

Your character is built through your choices and how you respond to those experiences.


1. “I’d rather protect myself than be vulnerable and get hurt.”

When we learn that people can’t be trusted we become closed off. We sometimes learn this as children, when adults who we love let us down or hurt us in some way. Families break up, parents are sometimes unable to be emotionally available, and sadly the world is full of imperfect people who let us down.

2. “This is your problem, not mine.”

Defensiveness is linked to being closed off. It’s the default response when anyone tries to get close, or express real emotions. The Gottman Institute calls defensiveness one of the Four Horsemen of Communication that spell the end of a relationship. When we are defensive we are both failing to listen, and failing to open up to our partners.


3. “They don’t need to know everything I do.”

This is often true if you have a strong need to stay independent. For some of us it’s because we know there are areas in our life that our partner would disapprove of. When you want to keep parts of your life hidden, for whatever reason, you come across as untrustworthy.


4. “I said I love you, but…”

Most of us want to keep people happy. We avoid conflict the best we can, even if that means saying things we don’t really mean. We tell our partners “I’m not upset” and then silently resent them for days. We say, “Sure, I’ll come over this weekend” and then call it off at the last minute with an excuse.


5. “That makes me uncomfortable.”

If you struggle with affection, you probably have good reasons to. You’ve had issues in the past with abuse, or you’re an introvert and you just like your own personal bubble. There are very valid reasons for struggling with affection and any partner should respect your right to say no.


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