5 relationship killers (and how to beat them)

5 relationship killers (and how to beat them)

5 relationship killers

From jealousy to finances, you can work through any problem.

When it comes to what’s harming your relationship, it’s not just the ‘big’ issues you need to watch out for. In some cases, seemingly small issues can weigh heavily on your relationship. Liane Lurie, a Joburg-based clinical psychologist, advises that whether you and your partner are struggling with minor or major issues, it’s important to reach a point where you’re prepared to be brave and have difficult conversations around issues like money, family, children, and where you want your relationship to go.

‘It’s important to iron out any insecurities that may compromise the wellbeing of your relationship,’ she says. Liane discusses five issues that many couples need help with, and shares advice on how you can tackle these with your partner.

Insecurity

People can feel insecure for a variety of reasons. ‘You may experience extreme jealousy to the point of imagining things that aren’t actually happening,’ Liane explains. ‘You may also have thoughts of not being good enough, or of your partner no longer wanting to be with you.’ Liane says this insecurity can lead to hours of snooping or checking your partner’s social media accounts or cellphone to ‘prove’ your theories, and misinterpreting your partner’s words or actions.

How it affects your partner 

‘It’s often exceptionally difficult for the person on the receiving end of someone’s insecurity,’ says Liane. ‘Your partner more than likely feels a constant need to affirm you and cater to your ensuing dependence on them.’ This can be draining for your partner as it interrupts the cycle of ‘give and take’ within your relationship.

Working through it 

Insecurities can alter your perception and interpretation of reality, which is why you may imagine things happening when they aren’t, or misread your partner’s words or actions. Liane suggests trying to find the origin of your insecurity, and understand your feelings. She also recommends managing your anxiety when insecurities pop up, and learning to respond calmly and logically. ‘It’s critical that you learn to pause, acknowledge your feelings, and then think clearly to decide on a course of action that won’t be detrimental to you or your relationship,’ she says. If your partner struggles with insecurity, the best thing you can do to help them is to remain patient and not criticise their anxiety. ‘Learn about your partner’s love language and reassure them in a way that resonates with them,’ she says.

Tip: To find your love language, visit 5lovelanguages.com. Learn how to use it to form meaningful connections
with others, and express your love for your partner in a way that resonates with them to build a lasting love.

READ MORE: HOW TO COPE WITH A PARTNER WHO HAS A MENTAL HEALTH PROBLEM

Trust issues

‘Many people feel jaded about relationships,’ says Liane. ‘They may have been hurt or betrayed in a previous relationship and then expect all future partners will do the same.’

If you struggle with trust issues, you might expect your partner to be unfaithful, or to hurt you, even if they’ve never
done anything to warrant your negative expectations. You may also find it difficult to let down your defences and open
up to your partner, resulting in the two of you not being as close as you could be.

How it affects your partner 

If your partner constantly feels like they’re not trusted, especially without reason, it can be a massive blow to their
ego and can really hurt them. ‘Your trust issues can actually cause significant anxiety in your partner because they feel they can never do anything right,’ says Liane.

Working through it 

Liane suggests processing your baggage and finding the root cause of your trust issues so you can let go of past hurts, and move forward. ‘If you don’t process and learn to understand your feelings, you could unintentionally harm someone who just wants to show you love,’ she says. ‘Remember, a lot of healing can take place within a relationship.

‘If your partner’s struggling with trust issues, it’s important to remain patient with them. If they have an anxious or
irrational moment, respond gently and be supportive,’ she advises. While it’s normal to feel like you’re at your wits’
end when you’re constantly expected to prove your fidelity, if you and your partner can’t seem to work it out, Liane
suggests trying couple’s therapy where an objective third party can help.

READ MORE: RESOLVE COMMUNICATION PROBLEMS IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP

Jealousy

‘The causes of and reasons for jealousy differ from person to person. Regardless, the impact on your relationship can be disastrous,’ says Liane. If you’re a jealous person, you may think your partner’s being unfaithful, even if they’ve given you no reason to be suspicious. The “validity” of your jealous feelings depends, to a certain degree, on whether you’ve been given a reason to feel jealous,’ says Liane. ‘It also depends on how your relationship began, whether you’ve experienced infidelity with your partner, and whether there’s a history of cheating.’

How it affects your partner 

If your partner’s been faithful and your jealousy isn’t warranted, they probably feel drained by constantly having
to affirm their feelings.

Working through it 

Because jealousy’s so difficult to overcome, Liane suggests cognitive behaviour therapy, where your invalid beliefs
and associated behaviour, and the impact of these on your relationship can be dealt with. ‘If you’re involved with a jealous partner, words won’t breed trust but your actions will. Open communication and not being defensive about certain topics goes a long way,’ she says. Prepare yourself for difficult conversations that may test your resolve, and realise that what may appear as a personal ‘attack’ on you often has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with your partner’s issues.

Social media

Social media has become the medium through which we share our joys and frustrations with the world. ‘Sometimes you want everyone to know about your new love, and other times you may intentionally post something just to make your ex jealous,’ says Liane. ‘Intention is key when it comes to social media, and airing your dirty relationship laundry or fighting on these open public forums is never constructive.’

READ MORE: DOES SOCIAL MEDIA BOOST OR THREATEN COMMITMENT?

The effect 

‘We forget that social media’s a representation of reality, but not reality itself. In cyberspace, you don’t have context, and you can’t assess tone,’ says Liane. If your partner adds a person to their friends list or comments on their posts, you’ll more than likely become suspicious, especially if you don’t know this person, or it’s your partner’s ex. When you add jealousy or trust issues to the mix, significant and destructive misunderstandings arise.

Working through it 

Liane’s pointers:

  • ‘If any activity on your partner’s social media profile makes you anxious, ask them about it when you’re together in person. Discuss your feelings and gain clarity instead of stalking people online to discover the so-called truth.’
  • ‘Learn to base your thoughts and feelings about what’s happening between you and your partner during your real time together, not in your “online” relationship.’
  • ‘Reduce screen time, especially when you’re with your partner, and make the most of your real time together by building trust in your relationship.’

READ MORE: INVEST IN FACE-TO-FACE TIME

Finances

Disagreements over finances can make or break relationships. ‘The way finances were handled when you were growing up can affect how you handle them as an adult,’ she says. ‘Separate versus joint accounts is a matter of
preference, with some individuals wanting to maintain their financial independence and others preferring joint access
to both their accounts.’ Regardless, both your finances need to help you work towards the common good of
your relationship.

The effect 

If you hide debt from your partner, what else might be easy for you to hide? ‘If your partner discovers the debt, the
ensuing sense of betrayal and distrust may prove devastating for your relationship,’ says Liane.

Working through it 

Liane’s pointers:

  • ‘Discuss your attitudes and behaviour towards money before planning any serious financial commitments together.’
  • ‘Be open and honest about your fears regarding money, and plan together to make sure they don’t become real.’
  • ‘Discuss your backgrounds and how you both handled finances before the relationship so you can define
    expectations and responsibilities early on.’

READ MORE: WHEN YOU ARE THE PRIMARY BREADWINNER

FEATURE: CANDICE CURTIS PHOTO: FOTOLIA.COM

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