Relationship Minute: Want a Happy Relationship? Don’t Do This

The #1 relationship killer is turning against each other’s bids for emotional connection. “Turning against” happens when your partner reaches out to you and you reject them. Whether intentional or not, it damages the very fabric of your partnership.

Imagine your partner asks for a date night. Here are the types of harmful responses that you never want to say: 

  • Contemptuous response. Hurtful disrespecting comments such as insults (e.g., “Is that all you ever want?”) 
  • Belligerent response. Provocative or combative comebacks (e.g., “Are you saying I’m not there for you? Yeesh, what more do you want from me?”) 
  • Contradictory response. Less hostile than a belligerent response, but it still blocks the bidder’s attempt to connect (e.g., “Don’t we see each other enough already?”) 
  • Domineering response. Attempts to control the other person (e.g., “We don’t need another date night. We’re fine.”) 
  • Critical response. A broad-based attack on the bidder’s character (e.g., “Again with the date night! You’re such a nag.”) 

The build-up of such responses creates a deep divide between you two. The more of these you and your partner experience, the more likely they are to destroy your partnership entirely. Avoid these relationship killers at all cost!

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The Relationship Minute is from The Gottman Institute. Visit their website.