Vail Daily relationship column: Do you have relationship deal breakers?
Editor’s note: Neil Rosenthal is on vacation. This is one of his previously published columns. This is the second of a two-part series. Visit http://www.vaildaily.com to read the first installment.
The following are a continuation of the guidelines for how to decide which of your issues are deal-breakers, and when you’d be better off leaving a relationship instead of staying in it:
When you feel poorly treated. Poor treatment can come in many forms: disrespectful behavior; knee-jerk reactivity; too much anger, mistrust or jealousy; or not enough TLC, nurturing and affection — to name a few. Poor treatment almost always entails one person not valuing how the other person feels, and therefore not behaving in ways that allow you to feel cherished, valued and respected.
Lack of Affection
Very little affection and/or sex. Affection and sex are the glue that keeps couple’s feeling close and connected with each other. Ditto if you are no longer sexually attracted to your partner — or your partner has no real sexual interest in you — and you find that intolerable.
Lack of Trust
Dishonesty or lack of trust. It’s hard to trust someone who doesn’t act trustworthy — or who has deceived, misled or betrayed you in the past — or who is secretive, hidden or withholding of personal information.
Infidelity or betrayal. The deception and sense of violation lead to continuing mistrust — and mistrust destroys intimacy.
Being resentful, angry or hostile. Using hurtful, insensitive or demeaning words (or behaviors). If that happens, then you will want to avoid your partner or you will become afraid of her.
Addictions. You can be addicted to a substance, (alcohol, drugs, food) a behavior (watching TV, sleeping, porn, knee-jerk reactivity, jealousy) or an attitude (unwarranted mistrust or suspiciousness, fear of abandonment, selfishness, lack of reciprocity). Any unhealthy addiction will undermine a couple’s connection and distance a relationship.
Control/power struggles. This might be related to a self-absorbed, insecure controlling person who wants everything her way, or it might indicate that the two of you have different goals and are therefore fighting for different things. If one person demands that things are done his way, then you may feel you have to give yourself up in order to keep the relationship together, which will lead to enormous resentment over time.
You no longer have much fun together, or you don’t have common goals or interests, so you increasingly find yourself feeling alone and lonely in the relationship.
Poor Intimacy Skills
Poor intimacy skills. Effective relationship skills include give and take communication; being a good listener; knowing how to deal with conflict and differences, compromise, benefit of the doubt, absence of malice, affection and romance.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. His column is in its 23rd year of publication and is syndicated around the world. You can reach him at 303-758-8777 or email him through his website at http://www.heartrelationships.com. He is the author of the new book: “Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Keeping the Flame Alive.”