How to ruin your relationship: Ways you could "mess up" a good thing

Becky Roehrs
A tornado hitting a house; with objects flying around in the skyPublic Domain image from

We're all told we should keep our relationships going.

  • But some relationships should die; in those cases, who cares if you follow bad advice?

But when you've got something good going, parents, movies, and your own nutty ideas can wreck what you've got.

Here are some of the destructive ideas I've had; people I was in love with had, or ideas people have shared with me that sucks.

1) Hidden agendas: If you love me, you should know what I need and want.

If you believe this, you're a walking, non-talking relationship killer.

Hidden agendas are underwater torpedoes, blowing up your partner's love and trust.

  • Your partner will never please you, no matter what they do.
  • How can they possibly know what you think, feel, want, or need, if you don't tell them?

Eventually, your partner will stop trying. They may stay, but they will check out, out of despair.

One of my long-term partners had this hidden agenda; I found out in couple therapy.

  • And they kept believing it while I emotionally left them.

If you or your partner believes this, your relationship could be in trouble. Get help now!

2) You love me; I can give you the silent treatment.

What is loving about seething or coldly ignoring your partner for hours, days, even weeks?

The silent treatment can be similar to the hidden demand:
"You must know my wants and needs automagically."

But you're adding a cruel twist. A mind-bending non-interactive game that you control.

Are you in a relationship or a marathon hatefest?

I suffered through five years of this childish and destructive behavior.

  • And we're not the only ones.

Many people destroy their relationships using the silent treatment against their partners.

My ex was angry off and on before marriage.

  • After marriage, I was no longer a friend and loved one.
  • I was the one to control with alternate bouts of rage and silence.

I was a piece of work myself. But no one deserves five years of the silent treatment.

  • And often, this is inflicted on the partner in secret.
  • These partners usually know what they're doing is socially unacceptable.
  • But they keep doing it.

Again, you can never meet this person's needs.

  • They won't tell you. You'll never find out or work out what is bothering them.

I gave up, packed up, and was never so relieved in my life.

  • I got away from the sick emotional roller coaster that had been my life.

If you do this to your partner, get help.

If your partner is giving you the silent treatment, get help soon!

3) Don't prioritize your relationship: I love you, but everyone else comes first.

If you drop everything for your parents, children, ex, job, or church, you don't have much left to give to a partner or yourself.

You are a lovely person, but you may be a doormat that the people in your life are stepping on. Repeatedly.

If you allow your family and friends to drop by night and day, and they expect you to fix and pay for whatever they need, you don't have a life; you've given it away.

If you were happy, that'd be different. But if you're not, get help.

You deserve to get your needs met, too.

  • And unless your partner is a martyr as well, your partners may leave.

I was with someone like this for a while.

  • But I couldn't stand watching what they let people who "cared" for him, do to him.
  • I refused to treat them like that or allow their "loved ones" to mistreat me.

You may barely notice when your partner fades away from your life.

4) If you love me, we must talk about everything.

This means that we will quarrel, often, until we can't stand each other.

This is the gotcha, I believe. Yes, you and your partner are going to disagree. Perfectly normal.

If you have to talk about finances, sex, work, childcare, or housework, you need to make time and effort to work it out.

But what if you're discussing long-held beliefs that you don't need to agree on, such as politics, philosophy, art, philanthropy, or science? No, you do NOT need to talk about them if you fight!

I almost wrecked the best relationship of my life.

I thought I had to fight with my partner about politics.

  • Was I going to change his mind? Was he going to change mine? Heck no.
  • So why fight about it?

Millions of people will be happy to fight with you about Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens.

  • Or yell about the wonders or horrors of capitalism, socialism, or communism.

Why does it have to be your partner that you "discuss," or fight with, about volatile emotional topics?

Why are you fighting with your partner if you don't fight with your co-workers or friends about topics you disagree on? Why aren't you giving them the same respect?

  • Some fighting is healthy.

Bickering, sarcasm, and contempt ruin trust, love, and relationships.

  • You have a choice.
  • Agree to disagree, or tear your relationship apart.

I agreed to disagree.

  • I still like talking about politics, with lots of people, except one.

You decide.

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I write about local events, politics, education, relationships, online dating, and humor. Sarcastic and silly. Loves coffee and canoeing. I've been a computer programmer, outdoor guide, and taught programming at Fortune 500s and community colleges. Now, I help folks teach online.

Cary, NC

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