8 Ways to Lose at Relationships


This blog post, written by Dr. Colleen Mullen, Psy.D., LMFT was originally published on EverydayPowerBlog.com.

Is what you’re doing ruining your relationship?

Why would you want to read a list of actions to take to kill your relationship? As a marriage and family therapist, I’m usually talking to my clients about healthy behaviors and ways of communicating to help get them to a more unified, loving place. However, what I really spend a lot of time doing is listening to how the following behaviors are wreaking havoc on their relationships. It’s quite sad.

Please note: Couples should be diligently avoid the following behaviors to ensure better relationship satisfaction and emotional fulfillment.

  • Dig your feet in the ground and insist that no matter what your partner says, you are definitely right.
  • Don’t respond when your partner asks you something.
  • Stop doing the activities you know your partner enjoys.
  • Tell your friends about your arguments.
  • Stop going on dates and just believe that staying at home in the living room together is how you spend quality time together.
  • Stop calling or communicating support during long work days.
  • Don’t offer to help your honey when they have a lot of life stress on their plate.
  • Talk over your partner at every opportunity, especially when you are upset.

Obviously, the solution to this is to do the opposite. The skills to do the opposite of the above will make you a better communicator, a better listener and someone who is in tune with their partner and mindful of their needs. You can’t go wrong with that combination!


I’m not going to leave you hanging, here’s

The Recipe for a Successful Relationship

  • Sometimes you might both be correct, there doesn’t have to be a “winner”.
  • When your partner asks you something, respond to them – let them know you’re listening.
  • Participate in activities just because you know your partner enjoys them.
  • Leave your friends out of your arguments. It’s appropriate to ask for support, but telling the intimate details of what people say when they are mad usually just adds fire to the flames of discord.
  • It’s important to continue to date each other. I meet a lot of couples who say, “We’re together all the time.” That’s not the same as spending quality time together, where you just focus on each other and staying in tune with who you are as friends and lovers.
  • It’s nice to be thought of during the day. It’s easy to get complacent in a relationship and decrease communication. It’s perfectly OK to send your partner a text just saying, “I’m thinking of you” when they are spending long hours away from home.
  • Offer emotional support. You don’t have to solve their problems, but you can be there for them emotionally to let them vent about their stresses to you.
  • Listen to hear you partner, not to react. Couples that slow down their reactions to each other can really hone in and listen to what their partner is saying. This so often leads to more peaceful communication and provides more opportunity for learning about your partner.

This recipe for success seems simple and pretty elementary when you read it, but it takes practice and developing skills to implement it. If you’ve been in conflict with your partner, I would encourage you to pick 1 item off the success recipe and implement it this week and each week, pick a new one to add. Each week, you’ll begin feeling stronger in your abilities to be a communicative, supportive, present and mindful partner. Best wishes for success to you!