You and your partner have talked through things, made a commitment to change, and started over and over again. Despite all this, somehow your relationship issues still seem to follow the same destructive patterns, like you’re stuck in a continual loop of fighting.
Does this sound familiar to you? Don’t worry, I’m here to help! Here are the 7 Most Toxic Relationship Patterns — And How to Break Them for Good:
What does it look like? Partner A wants to control all of Partner B’s business. Person B allows this to continue in the pursuit of keeping the peace.
It can actually feel like someone truly cares when they obsess over all the little things in your life, but any time there’s a power dynamic present within a relationship, the person being controlled eventually ends up feeling victimised.
What can you do to fix it? If you start feeling resentful in your relationship, talking things out with a third party is a fantastic idea. With the help of a counsellor, or anyone else you trust; it puts an objective opinion on the table.
What does it look like? Partner A feels as though their relationship is perfect, but Partner B needs some space. Partner B flakes, making Partner A cling even harder; which in turn makes Partner B run in the other direction.
Everyone refuels in different ways, and we have individual tendencies to fall into certain patterns.
What can you do to fix it? Try to communicate in the other person’s style. Know their love language! After a tough day, if your partner is feeling more like going on a solo walk than having a cuddle with you — let them go. Try asking things like: “When would it be a good time for you to chat?” This way, the other person has the time they need to gather themselves and regroup.
The Angry Parent/Rebellious Child
What does it look like? Partner A forgets to pay a bill and Partner B gets fined again. Partner B loses their shit, curses Partner A, and sets up an automatic payment themselves.
Unfortunately, when you’re married it’s easy to fall into this; purely because of the sheer amount of stuff that needs to be done.
What can you do to fix it? Try to foster a strong equal pattern from the beginning. Never treat an adult partner like a child. Maturely sit down and talk to them as if they were your roommate, e.g. “Listen, this is happening. How can we solve it?” Never ever take up the slack and just do it yourself; you won’t be getting anywhere with your partner in this way.
What does it look like? You’re amazing partners when it comes to your kids’ schedules, but you’ve lost the passionate, romantic spark. You usually treat one other like co-workers or good friends.
Couples forget that they need to be lovers and partners, not just parents or roommates! So many couples fall into a pattern of complacency. After one to three years together, they go from excitement and novelty, to neutral comfort attachment. This is exactly the point at which you really have to work to reignite the excitement and connection!
What can you do to fix it? Check out my Love Flame Method if you’re serious about changing your marriage!
What does it look like? Partner A gives up pretty much all of themselves in the name of love and pleasing Partner B.
This happens a lot for people who are both married and dating. One person doesn’t want to make waves or for their partner to leave them if they upset them. This can be deeply rooted in issues of not feeling accepted exactly as one is.
What can you do to fix it? Address it in couples therapy as soon as you can. If you’re dating, you’re presenting a false image of who you are, and that’s going to fall apart once your partner gets to know you and is around you 24/7. It’s really just a short-term game. Start by taking small steps and choose one thing per week that you truly want to do, and share it with your partner.
What does it look like? Partner A shrivels inwards after a fight or in the midst of problems, and it sets Partner B off.
Sometimes anger can feel like the only way to get a reaction – or even love – from one’s partner. But your job in a relationship is to create more understanding and deeper connection with your partner — not to make them feel bad for who they are. This kind of manipulative pattern will not work in a healthy adult relationship.
What can you do to fix it? It’s 100% okay to disagree or feel hurt by something that has happened, but you need to make a point of discussing it directly. Don’t ever punish your partner by stonewalling or making them feel small. Whenever you’re upset, start with a gentle tone of voice. Always listen with the intention of truly hearing where your partner is coming from.
The Crowd-Source “Cure”
What does it look like? Instead of directly working through issues with your partner, you get opinions from your friends on all of your problems, and compare relationship dynamics to theirs.
Friends can often feel like an amazing support system when you and your partner are feeling distant, but that means you also can end up with a lot of their own personal baggage.
What can you do to fix it? Whenever possible, replace the word “should” with the word “want”. Take the problem straight to your partner and discuss things directly; discussing both of your wants based on your individual preferences and perspectives.