If you want a happy, solid, long-term relationship, it’s important to avoid these relationship killers!
Threatening to break up in order to get your way. Psychologist Dr. Michael Cunningham says there’s absolutely no evidence that giving your partner an ultimatum will change their behavior. In fact, ultimatums are incredibly damaging because they send the message, “I care more about winning than about you.” They also send the message that you’re willing to bail anytime things don’t go smoothly – that you’re not as invested in the relationship. That makes your partner feel insecure – which is probably the goal of those statements – but it’s manipulative.
Dealing with today’s argument by dredging up your partner’s past mistakes. Sharon Wolf is a psychotherapist and author of the book How to Stay Lovers for Life. And she says you have to avoid the “kitchen sink” fight – where you throw everything your partner has done back in their face. That’ll make your partner defensive. Plus, it doesn’t move you forward to fixing the problem at hand – if you’re focusing on issues from the past.
The silent treatment. Studies show that children would rather be yelled at than ignored. And marriage counselor Margaret Paul says the same holds true for adults. In fact, she believes the silent treatment is a form of abuse. Because it’s a way of attempting to control your partner, by forcing them to do what you want them to. If you’re too angry to have a reasonable discussion, say so. And make an appointment to revisit the issue when you calm down. But don’t clam up as a way of punishing your partner because it creates such a deep disconnect between you, it may be impossible to fix.