When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a sense of complacency can set it. This can be the beginning of the end of the relationship. Couples might begin to engage in relationship behaviors that are unhealthy and harmful to each other.
- They stop communicating
Couples will start assuming their partner knows what they think and feel. They soon find themselves resenting each other because they no longer communicate as they previously did. Little issues begin to fester into big issues because the couple is not talking about them. The couple embarks on a state of co-existence.
- They stop listening
Very often, an unhappy partner will express their dissatisfaction with the relationship in subtle ways. If one partner has stopped listening to what their partner says and doesn’t say, it tells the other partner their feelings don’t matter. A couple in a successful relationship will tell you that one of the cornerstones of their relationship is listening.
- They start taking each other for granted
Couples make assumptions about the relationship. One partner might think it’s no longer to express gratitude for what their partner does. After, the partner knows he/she’s grateful, doesn’t he/she? The partner feels devalued and as if their contributions are not worth anything.
- They don’t grow together
With busy lives and careers, partners spend time apart. There’s nothing wrong with this. But there is the risk that you’ll start to grow apart, not together. As your lives change and evolve, one partner may be left behind. This is something couples should guard against. When your partner has a new, challenging job, you should make yourself a part of that growth instead of ignoring it.
- They develop attachment disorders
A partner may become detached from the other because he/she doesn’t feel supported and wanted. They may form an over-attachment and be unhealthily dependent on their partner. For the other partner, this is frustrating and confusing. If you’re detached, your partner will feel hurt. If you’re over-attached, it suffocates your partner.
- They engage in a power struggle
In a healthy relationship, there is a power balance. The partners truly are each other’s better halves. However, if a power struggle begins, partners engage in destructive behavior to retain control. This includes breaking their partner down emotionally and mentally. Conflict is introduced into the relationship on an unprecedented scale.
- They bring up the past
When a couple has entered a destructive cycle in their relationship, they cannot let go of the past. In every argument, past incidents crop up. They are stored in the minds of both partners as extra ammunition for future conflicts. Constantly dragging these issues out into the arena of argument compounds the conflict and makes it harder to resolve.
- They stop making time for each other
Happy couples also have busy lives. The difference is that they consciously make an effort to spend time together. Having children and busy careers means time together is limited. Couples who stop making sure that they spend quality time together are embarking on a downward spiral.
- They feel stuck, but don’t do anything
Often, a partner will stay in the relationship because it’s comfortable and they don’t have anything else lined up. Instead of acknowledging their feelings and doing something about them, they allow themselves to feel trapped. This is unfair on the other partner. No one deserves to be someone you’ve settled for, not someone you love and want to be with.
- They assume it will all work out
Couples who acknowledge they have problems think the process ends there. They don’t put the necessary work into resolving them. It’s possible they might talk about their problems and come up with solutions. But if they’re not committed, they soon fall back into old habits and repeat old patterns of behavior. Relationships are hard work and solving problems requires serious determination.