10 ways you could be damaging your marriage
Are you worried that you are damaging your marriage?
You find yourself being mean and bitchy to the one you love. You feel stuck in negative thoughts about your partner.
And you know it is not working for you. In fact it doesn’t even feel like you.
Read on or listen in below.
You partner may not be perfect, but the last thing you want is to damage the good feeling, love and connection that you have between you.
This post is not focussed on your partner’s behaviour. We are not here to blame, but to do what we can do from our side of the equation to make things better.
N.B: If your partner is violent or abusive in anyway, that is not okay. You need to get help here (AU)
Here are the 10 things that women commonly do that damage relationships. If you find yourself doing all or some of these, perhaps it is time to pause and look at what is really going on for you.
We can be damaging in so many ways, some subtle, some ugly, but all of them negative and stuck. Once we recognise them, we have more chance of interrupting ourselves when we are in the throes of it.
Here are some of the ways you might be damaging your relationship1. Nagging
Incessant nagging and getting cranky over the small stuff is not working for your relationship. Generally, nagging is a sign that there is a deeper need not being met or a power struggle being played out. One thing is for sure, nagging your partner is not creating the safe, loving atmosphere that you are seeking. At worst, nagging can emasculate your partner which is a killer of masculine and feminine attraction. 2. Blaming them for everything
If you lived in a peaceful cave on your own, you would not have any relationship problems. But add another human and there are triggers and sensitivities on both your parts. It is very easy to blame your partner, but it is your combination of needs, perspectives and sensitivities that makes things hard. Blaming your partner keeps you stuck. Take responsibility for your part in this relationship and change what you can. The blame must stop. 3. Holding back affection or sex
When women are feeling disconnected from their partner, they tend not to feel like connecting physically. Men on the other hand, need the physical intimacy to get their sense of connection. If we are continually refusing their sexual advances with no explanation, our partner can often think the worst. Holding back intimacy can be very harmful to your relationship especially when you are not taking the steps to bridge the connection gap in other ways such as communication. 4. Saying nasty things
When we are emotional, we can say hurtful things. Words can hurt and can be hard for the receiver to forget. Do you know the feeling of wishing that you could take them back the minute they are out of your mouth? Yes? The problem is, once they are out, we can’t take them back. We need to learn to stop our hurtful words in the heat of the moment as it can be really hard to win back our partner’s trust after such a sting. My 3 steps to stop being a bitch will be really helpful with this. 5. Not being honest about your needs
You may be holding back your needs as a way of being “less demanding” or “focussed on other people’s needs”. You may think it a generous act, but it is not. Over the long haul, not asking for what you need creates a build-up of overwhelm and resentment that is essentially destructive to your relationship. Not allowing your partner in, on what you really want, is not allowing them to truly know you. You may find that given the opportunity, your partner gets a sense of satisfaction tending to your needs…….If they only knew what they were. 6. Being critical and hard to please
Deep down your partner is wanting to please you. There is nothing more satisfying in a relationship than knowing that your partner is happy with you. You know this is true for you right? Well it is the same for them. There is security in knowing your partner is happy. When you are constantly critical and never quite happy, there comes a time when your partner just stops trying. Show your partner your appreciation and see what changes. 7. Bitching behind their back
Bitching about your partner to your friends may seem innocent. You may tell yourself it is helpful as you are letting off steam and they will never find out anyway. But it is damaging. Why? Because you are encouraging the negative stories and pathways in your mind. You are no doubt only giving only your side of the story and justifying your behaviour while vilifying his. This is not good for your capacity to see your relationship or your responsibility clearly. Neither is it good for your relationship resonance (how your relationship feels energetically). 8. Escape
Whether you escape to the bottle of wine, the TV, work or the kids, it is at the expense of your relationship. The question is, Why are you feeling the need to escape? Are there issues that feel unfathomable? Do you find it hard to connect?
Your relationship thrives on connection and presence. If you are constantly escaping, why not try doing things differently instead. Could you commit to more quality time rather than eg. screen time and see what happens? 9. Being passive aggressive
I don’t know about you, but for me personally, being passive aggressive was my default behaviour in dealing with relationship upset. I would storm about the house fuming but not saying anything directly to my partner. Most of the time he wouldn’t even know why I was upset. This behaviour corrodes the relationship as it bubbles with unspoken resentment and anger. Passive aggression makes our behaviour ugly and harsh, but never actually resolves the issue that caused this feeling. It is much better to give our partners the opportunity to communicate their side of things and have it out than keep it bubbling away inside. 10. Doubting your choice of partner
It is completely natural to be deep in a relationship and to have feelings of doubt about your choice of partner. To doubt and question is to be human, especially when things are feeling less than loving and connected. Having moments like this is fine but finding yourself stuck there can be damaging. Trust that relationships go through ups and downs. Trust that it is okay to have very different ideas, interests and needs. Trust that beyond this fear and this phase is a deeper connection that comes from the heart. Let go of the idea of the perfect “knight in shining armour love” because that idea is not working for your relationship. Look for what is working and focus on building more of that.
I know that reading that list can be a bit confronting, but I hope you don’t feel too bad. Just reading this, you have taken the first step towards changing your patterns.
We all display “not so perfect” behaviour sometimes. Sometimes it is entirely justified; it can clear the vents, create a ripple effect for good and even make you feel empowered.
But if you feel stuck in the above patterns or stuck in bitch mode it will be damaging your relationship and it is time to find a better approach.
Now that you recognise your behaviour, you will be more able to interrupt it in the heat of the moment.
Don’t stop there. Keep exploring. In order to stop, we need to know why we are behaving this way. Check out my post Why am I a bitch to the one I love?
Want to listen to this post, here it is in audio form for you…
Hi, I'm Nicole Mathieson, a relationship and body image coach, couple therapist and author.
My relationships blog helps couples learn practical ways to cultivate a deeper understanding of one another, find safety and connection in relationships, navigate difficult conversations and repair after conflict.