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5 Relationship Killers and How to Avoid Them

The relationship killers that all couples should avoid if they want a healthy relationship

Relationships are tough, and it’s not easy to keep them going strong. If you find yourself constantly fighting with your partner or otherwise experiencing rocky patches, there may be specific things you’re doing that have led to this decline in your relationship. The good news is that if you avoid these five relationship killers, you can strengthen your bond with your significant other.

5 relationship killers to avoid:

Relationship Killer #1: Controlling Behavior

Most people enter a relationship with a deep fear of rejection, and this fear motivates various forms of controlling behavior. Controlling behavior falls into two major categories: overt control and covert control. Overt control includes many forms of attack, such as blaming anger, rage, violence, judgment, criticism and ridicule. Covert control includes compliance, enabling, withdrawal, defending, explaining, lying and denying. Often a person at the other end of attack will respond with some form of covert control in an attempt to have control over not being attacked. Controlling behavior always results in resentment and emotional distance, bringing about the very rejection that it is meant to avoid.


Relationship Killer #2: Resistance

Many people enter a relationship with a deep fear of losing themselves. The moment they experience their partner wanting control over them, they respond with resistance- withdrawal. When one partner is controlling and the other is resistant which is really an attempt to have control over not being controlled – the relationship becomes immobilized. Partners in this relationship system feel frustrated, stagnant, and resentful.

Taking control of your own freedom to be yourself in your relationships is important. Remember there is give and take in all relationships, but at some point one person must step up and take responsibility for themselves while encouraging their partner to do likewise. Resisting or controlling by dominating or manipulating is not healthy for either partner. Allowing partners to love without fear will result in harmony, stability, cohesiveness, and peace. Let go of resistance!


Relationship Killer #3: Neediness

Many people enter a relationship believing that it is their partner’s job to fill their emptiness, take away their loneliness, and make them feel good about themselves. When people have not learned how to take responsibility for their own feelings and needs, and to define their own self-worth, they may pull on their partner and others to fill them with the love they need. Your partner’s job is not to complete you, but to compliment you.

If your partner is not meeting your needs, ask yourself if it is possible to feel fulfilled in some other way. Don’t confuse love with neediness, and don’t try to convince someone else to fulfill your inner void.


Relationship Killer #4: Addiction

Most people who feel empty inside turn to addictions of some sort. While no one plans on becoming an addict (in any realm) it can happen. This creates an unhealthy environment because you’re pulling your energy out of the relationship.

While there are many activities that people can become addicted to, most fall into two categories: substance or process addictions. Substance addiction is an unhealthy attachment to drugs or alcohol. A person uses these substances to find happiness.

A process addiction is an unhealthy attachment to a set of actions or processes, like gambling and shopping. These types of addictions may be harder to see, but they take up space in relationships just the same.


Relationship Killer #5: Blame

Many people are acutely aware of what their partner is doing that is causing relationship problems, but completely unaware of what they are doing. You cannot change anyone. It is not your job to fix your partner. You can only change yourself.

Take an honest inventory of yourself. Don’t just think about your partner and what they are doing, but also consider how your own actions may be contributing to the problem. Focus on fixing yourself, not changing them.


The difference between a long-lasting relationship and one that fizzles out can often be traced back to how the couple handled stressful situations together. While every couple faces challenges in their relationship, it’s the way they handle them together that will determine whether or not their union will last through the test of time.


Knot Counseling specializes in bringing dead relationships back to life. In Lakewood couples counseling, our therapists can help.


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