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Seven deadly relationship sins

Neil Rosenthal
Vail, CO, Colorado

Here is a list of seven deadly relationship sins:

1. Being too detached, withdrawn, removed, guarded or disengaged. Not talking or revealing your feelings. Not asking about your partner’s feelings-or not taking an interest in those feelings once they are shared. Not making your relationship a top priority. Not going all out and giving your very best to the relationship. Keeping one foot out the door. Holding back. Allowing yourself to get jaded and cynical, and therefore not believing in the dream anymore. Hating men. Not trusting women. Being walled off, not sharing your inner self/emotions/hopes/dreams/disappointments with your partner. Not letting your partner in.

2. Being self-absorbed. Selfish. Only looking out for yourself. Not recognizing or being tuned in to your partner’s feelings. Having poor empathy for your partner’s emotions, needs, desires or requests. Lack of compassion.



3. Being defensive, and therefore not allowing someone else to tell you what upsets, irritates, hurts or angers them. Being so self-protective that your partner doesn’t feel a sense of permission or receptivity from you in order to identify what s/he thinks, feels or wants. When you can’t be “wrong,” you can’t be in a healthy intimate relationship.

4. Being too volatile. Losing your temper. Saying mean things in anger that you can never truly retract. Angry outbursts, especially those that devalue your partner, or make him/her feel put down or belittled. Threatening to end the relationship if you don’t get your way. Using anger in order to get your way or in order to stop a discussion.

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5. Running from a deeper connection or a greater commitment. Being ambivalent, and therefore unsure of whether you want a relationship with the person you are with. Not matching your words of love with your behaviors.

6. Not making important to you what’s important to your partner. Not being willing to blend your ways, your preferences or your interests with your partners. Not being easily adaptable. Not being willing to honor what your partner wants and value.

7. Lack of inclusion and teamwork. Not treating me as if I’m on your side. Viewing our relationship as two adversaries rather than us being on the same team. I’ll look out for me and you look out for you, rather than us looking out for each other and what’s best for our relationship. Having monocular rather than binocular vision.



This is by no means an exhaustive list of relationship miscues. There are more deadly relationship sins ” infidelity, dishonesty and deception instantly come to mind. But all of these are sins you’d be wise to get under control. If you don’t, your relationships with others will be tortured ” or they will cease to work at all.

Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Denver and Boulder, Colorado, specializing in how people strengthen their intimate relationships. He can be reached at (303) 758-8777, or e-mail him from his website, heartrelationships.com.


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