People who struggle to hold down a relationship usually display these 8 behaviors (without realizing it)

We’ve all had our share of missteps, but there are usually some common behaviors that can make maintaining a relationship particularly challenging.

As a relationship expert, I’ve noticed that people who struggle to maintain a relationship often display certain behaviors, without even realizing it.

These behaviors can subtly undermine a relationship, creating misunderstandings and fostering resentment. But recognizing these behaviors is the first step towards changing them and moving towards healthier relationships.

So, if you find yourself in a cycle of short-lived relationships, stay tuned. This article will highlight 8 behaviors you might be unknowingly exhibiting that could be sabotaging your love life.

1) Lack of communication

In any relationship, communication is key. It’s the glue that binds people together and allows understanding to flourish.

However, many individuals who struggle with maintaining relationships often have a common behavior—lack of proper communication. It’s not that they don’t talk at all, it’s just that they’re not communicating effectively.

Misunderstandings can easily arise when thoughts, feelings, and intentions aren’t clearly expressed. And over the long run, these misunderstandings can pile up, leading to resentment and ultimately breaking down the relationship.

When you’re constantly butting heads with your partner or feeling like you’re speaking different languages, it’s a sure sign to hit the brakes and reassess your communication.

2) Being overly critical

Another behavior I’ve seen in those having difficulty maintaining relationships is a tendency to be overly critical.

Criticism, when constructive, can be a tool for growth. However, constant nitpicking and negative comments can erode the foundation of any relationship.

I have seen many couples where one partner constantly criticizes the other for their habits, their choices, or their lifestyle. Over time, this creates a toxic environment where love and respect are replaced with resentment and defensiveness.

The great poet Maya Angelou once wisely said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

If your partner constantly feels belittled or not good enough in your presence, it’s going to be hard for them to associate you with anything positive.

3) Codependency

In my experience as a relationship expert, I’ve seen how codependency can make relationships feel more like a burden than a partnership.

When one person becomes overly reliant on their partner for their emotional well-being, it puts an unfair amount of pressure on the other person and can lead to an imbalance in the relationship.

Being in a codependent relationship can feel like you’re on an emotional rollercoaster, with highs that feel dizzying and lows that can feel crushing. It’s a draining situation for both parties involved.

In my book, Breaking The Attachment: How To Overcome Codependency in Your Relationship, I delve deeper into this complex issue and provide practical strategies to identify and overcome codependent behaviors.

Remember, it’s okay to lean on your partner for support, but they shouldn’t be your only source of happiness or self-esteem. 

4) Always avoiding conflict

Now, this might sound a bit counterintuitive. After all, isn’t peace and harmony what we all strive for in a relationship?

However, in my experience as a relationship therapist, those who consistently avoid conflict often find it difficult to sustain relationships.

Believe it or not, conflict isn’t always the enemy. When handled healthily, it can be a catalyst for growth and deeper understanding. It’s through these challenging conversations that we learn more about our partner’s needs, perspectives, and boundaries.

While it’s important to pick your battles and not turn every disagreement into an argument, consistently dodging difficult discussions can lead to unresolved issues piling up.  

5) Neglecting self-care

Through my own journey and working with clients, one thing has become abundantly clear: neglecting self-care is a major red flag for those struggling in relationships.

Let’s face it, when love comes knocking, it’s easy to throw all your energy into the romance and forget about yourself in the process. But here’s the deal: when you’re not looking after numero uno—that’s you, by the way — things can go downhill fast. We’re talking burnout, resentment, and a whole lot of relationship drama.

Here’s the thing: when self-care takes a backseat, so does your sense of self. Suddenly, you’re feeling lost, maybe even a tad resentful, and worst of all, you start relying on your partner for your own happiness.

But hey, here’s the silver lining: taking care of yourself isn’t selfish, it’s essential. Whether it’s a solo stroll, diving into a good book, or indulging in a little pampering, these acts of self-love are like fuel for your soul.

6) Brushing off red flags

Let’s be raw and honest here. Sometimes, the biggest challenge in maintaining a relationship is ignoring the signs that it shouldn’t be maintained at all.

In the quest for love, it’s easy to brush off red flags—those behaviors or situations that signal a potential problem or issue. Maybe it’s a dismissive remark here or a broken promise there. And while nobody’s perfect, consistently ignoring these red flags can lead to a toxic or unfulfilling relationship.

In the early stages of love, it’s common to wear rose-colored glasses. But turning a blind eye to glaring issues can only lead to heartache down the line.

If you often find yourself excusing your partner’s behavior or rationalizing situations that make you uncomfortable, it might be time for some soul-searching.  

7) Fear of vulnerability

Being vulnerable involves opening up about our thoughts, feelings, fears, and hopes. It can be scary to show our true selves, warts and all. But it is through this vulnerability that true intimacy is built.

Brené Brown, a renowned researcher on vulnerability, once said, “Vulnerability is not winning or losing; it’s having the courage to show up and be seen when we have no control over the outcome.”

If you find yourself struggling to open up and be vulnerable with your partner, it could be affecting your ability to connect on a deeper level. This lack of connection can leave both parties feeling unsatisfied and unfulfilled in the relationship.

Remember, it’s okay to let your guard down and let your partner see the real you. It’s through these moments of authenticity that a solid foundation of trust and understanding can be built.

8) Unresolved past issues

Let’s get real for a moment. Ever notice how some folks just can’t seem to catch a break in the relationship department? Well, here’s a common thread: they’re lugging around unresolved baggage from their past. 

Think about it: old wounds, lingering grudges, and all that messy stuff from past relationships have a sneaky way of creeping into the present. Suddenly, you’re dealing with trust issues, breakdowns in communication, and a nasty habit of repeating the same old destructive patterns.

Now, I get it, laying it all out on the table like this isn’t exactly a walk in the park. It means digging deep, confronting the skeletons in your closet, and facing some uncomfortable truths. 

But here’s the kicker: it’s absolutely essential to tackle these demons head-on if you want any shot at a healthy, thriving relationship in the here and now.

Unlock your potential: Embrace change, embrace growth

If you’re feeling the struggle in keeping a relationship steady, here’s a tip: self-awareness is key. Take a moment to look inward and think about your actions and how you communicate.

Notice any recurring patterns? It’s all about opening up and having honest conversations with your partner. That safe space for vulnerability is crucial.

Don’t hesitate to reach out to friends or even a pro if you need guidance. Remember, relationships thrive on respect, trust, and finding middle ground.

For more guidance on overcoming codependency and building healthier relationships, I invite you to check out my book Breaking The Attachment: How To Overcome Codependency in Your Relationship.

Remember, every step you take towards understanding yourself better and improving your relationship skills is a step towards a happier, more fulfilling love life. You’ve got this!

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Tina Fey

I'm Tina Fey, the founder of the blog Love Connection. I've extremely passionate about sharing relationship advice. I've studied psychology and have my Masters in marital, family, and relationship counseling. I hope with all my heart to help you improve your relationships, and I hope that even if one thing I write helps you, it means more to me than just about anything else in the world. Check out my blog Love Connection, and if you want to get in touch with me, hit me up on Twitter

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