How to Tell if You're Helping Your Relationship or Provoking Bitterness

February 28, 2022

It's common for couples to meet at a crossroads where they must decide to stay together or separate. For example, you may find yourself in this place after discovering an affair or an addiction. Other times, the ups and downs of life lead to disconnection or feelings of dissatisfaction that dominate all other emotions. Being in a relationship can be hard to manage when the butterflies fly away.

Arriving at a place in your relationship where there is more contention than connection is difficult to overcome. Situations of betrayal and mistrust ignite flames of negativity and can burn the walls of your bond to the ground. However, many couples choose to stay and give it their all to rebuild their relationship from the foundation up.

If you're at the point of make or break and feel like your efforts are falling short, maybe it's time to turn inward. Let's go through this checklist and see if you're helping your relationship or provoking negativity.

When the Light of Love Burns Out in a Relationship

Negativity within a relationship can form quickly or build up over time. highlights the top five reasons why relationships fail.

They are:

  • loss of trust
  • lack of respect
  • poor communication
  • a difference in priorities
  • lack of intimacy

The exact reasons vary greatly and range in severity. In order to heal, couples may need months of therapy or a weekend workshop. Others find common ground by getting back to the basics of a weekly date night and intentional connections.

However, if you're in a troubled relationship and feel like giving your all isn't bringing back the spark, there may be more to consider. For example, engaging in certain behaviors could hinder the success of the relationship. Intentional or not, it's easy for couples to get hung up in behaviors that provoke negativity rather than promote love and warmth.

3 Behaviors Within a Relationship that Provoke Negativity featured an article by Dr. Lisa Firestone. In Do You Provoke Your Partner? she warns of five behaviors that create conflict within your relationship. We'll highlight three of them.

  1. Complaining about or criticizing your partner. Couples may lose sight of seeing their partner as a separate adult. Instead, using "we" can make it easy to distort who your partner is by focusing on their worst traits. For example, if you get down on yourself, it may seem natural to be disrespectful and critical of your spouse, too. Instead of leading to positive change, criticism is likely to create feelings of resentment or retaliation.
  2. Deliberately pushing your partner's buttons. We all know certain words or actions that instantly provoke a reaction. Although your intent may not be spiteful, these things trigger a response within your partner that likely comes from a place of pain. Instead, try to be more aware and sensitive to your partner's triggers. Doing so can invite collaboration and compassion back into the relationship.
  3. Withholding things your partner enjoys. You may be aware of the little things that make your partner light up but find yourself withholding those. Examples include physical touch, giving your full attention, or sharing eye contact. Although you may feel justified in your actions, withholding removes the warmth from your relationship. Likewise, when both partners feel denied by the other, it can create a cycle of negative interactions. Dr. Firestone says if you notice you feel resistant to being kind or doing the little things for your partner, there may be a deeper issue. However, it's likely the problem resides within rather than with your partner.

Healing Your Relationship After a Betrayal

There are many issues that can create emotional distance within a relationship. Betrayal can be one of the most challenging issues to try and restore. However, you don't have to face it alone.

At Paradise Creek Recovery Center, we walk with you as you begin your healing journey to healing and recovery. Treating sex and porn addiction is our specialty. Likewise, we help couples begin to work through their grief and heartache. We're ready to help you.

Visit our website to learn more.

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