The internet is full of relationship information and advice: Ways to Find Your Perfect Mate, How to Keep a Man, How to Keep Your Marriage Together, Ways to Ensure Your Spouse Won’t Cheat, Why You’re Single, etc. – but how many folks actually follow that advice to the letter? More often than not, people will justify their actions and situation to avoid taking any responsibility for their relationship status. Nowadays folks throw around “happily single” and “happily married” when in truth, a lot of folks aren’t happy. But for the sake of being criticized or the butt of running jokes and gossip, people will wear the mask.
I’m happily married (insert side-eye here) but acknowledge that what keeps my marriage together is a lot of hard work – something else folks don’t want to do to maintain a long-term relationship. There’s a certain amount of unselfishness that makes relationships last, but it’s much easier to be selfish and just move on to the next person. After all, the honeymoon phase of a relationship is as good as it gets right? Well, you’ll never know if you can’t make it past six months.
After 11 years of a long-term relationship, I’ve learned a few things about making my relationship work – and also what could kill it. Between my own experiences and those shared with me by friends who are also in long-term relationships, here are a few practices – in no particular order – that if implemented consistently, will ensure your relationship will fail:
#1: Stop having sex. Sex may not be the most important factor in a relationship, but it is a factor. Sure, many challenges of life might put sex on the back burner, but it definitely needs to occur on a regular basis. Withholding sex to get something you want out of your partner usually is not to best method in getting what you want. If you are dealing with someone who will put up with that behavior, chances are you won’t respect them. Sex relieves stress and is a physical way of communicating with your partner, so even when things are difficult make an effort to keep you sex life alive.
#2 Stop talking. Call it a moment of silence, the silent treatment, “me” time, whatever – not talking to your partner is the quickest route to Quitsville. Silence between a couple breeds mistrust, insecurity and causes the mind to play tricks. Further, not talking to your partner makes room for you to communicate with others, some of whom will not have your best interest at heart. If your partner is on your side at all times, there should be no reason to stop talking.
#3 Criticize often. If your partner comes home after a long work day, offers you a kiss, and all you can say is, “Wow, your breath stinks!” you won’t have a partner for long. Constantly focusing on the negative and criticizing your partner for all the things they are NOT will have you headed back to the single life. Constant criticism will make your partner question how you truly feel about them. If you have nothing but negative things to say, they will seek out positive reinforcement elsewhere.
#4 Stay negative in general. Nobody wants to kick it with Debbie and Donnie Downer. Life is a series of highs and lows, and if all you can do is talk about what’s wrong, you will soon be talking to yourself. Furthermore, talking negatively about yourself is the absolute worse. Don’t openly compare yourself to others in hopes of showing your partner how you don’t “add up”. They might overlook one or two times, but making this a continued practice will only work to assure them they made the wrong decision in choosing you.
#5 Stop dating. One of the pieces of “work” that long-term relationships require is that couples continue to spend time together focused on just themselves. Children, jobs, and other responsibilities will cause a couple to put their needs as a couple to the side and before they know it, months will have passed since they had a night alone doing something they both enjoy. Couples have to make time to reinforce their bond. If you forget to keep the romance in your relationship, it will be tempting to recreate that feeling with another person.
#6 Search outside your relationship for what’s missing within it. “Seek trouble, and it will find you” – the old adage rings true. If you choose to “fix” your relationship by getting your needs met by another person, you might as well just end your relationship. The active pursuit of another situation speaks to the level of repair that is required in your situation. Furthermore, you can’t flirt with the idea of cheating. You can only play with the idea of it with another person before words lead to action. It’s simply the natural order of things. Your best bet is to check yourself, communicate with you partner, salvage what you have – and if all that proves impossible, bid your lover farewell and move on.
#7 Create drama. Go ahead – throw a drink across the table. Cuss your partner out in public. Or private. Talk about how awful their family is. Pick a fight every single time you are in a common space. Tell unnecessary lies and get caught. Have knock-down, drag out fights frequently. Only a fool will come home to a place of no peace, and even fools get tired. If the situation is this dramatic, it is not a sign of how much love and passion exist between two people (though the same energy often translates well in the bedroom), but rather a sign of a dysfunctional relationship. Acknowledge that the show is over, and say goodbye.
Source: Black Is