Your fights turn into personal criticism
All you have to say is “Can you unload the dishwasher for me?” Instead, you say: “Why can’t you remember to unload the dishwasher?” Now you’re criticising the person, not the task. You’re attacking your partner’s character. “Criticising your partner is one of the fastest ways to create an irreparable divide between you,” says Hall. “Attacking who they are will lead to hurt feelings and animosity. It can quickly lead to the end of the relationship.” In fact, Andrea Syrtash, a relationship expert and author of Cheat On Your Husband (With Your Husband), says that research has shown that attacking someone’s character is a relationship deal-breaker. “Name-calling (‘You’re lazy’) is disrespectful and cuts off communication,” says Syrtash. She suggests talking about how you feel and trying to find a solution. “Say something like, ‘It upsets me when I come home and the dishes are everywhere. Can we come up with a better system for housework?’ and invite dialogue,” she says.
You argue about why you ever got together
Ideally, you have warm feelings about the first time you met her mother and father or when the two of you shared a cone at the ice cream shop. You don’t want to ruminate on memories such as the time he turned up an hour late for your best friend’s birthday party. “If your time together is spent rehashing the bad times rather than enjoying the present and being excited about the future, you may end up having a future without each other,” says Lloyd. When positive memories are fading, you may be emotionally distancing yourself from one another. “It’s easy to focus in on the negative within your partner, as you start to blame them for what they aren’t instead of appreciating them for who they are,” says House. “But the fact is that all of us have our negatives. If we choose to shine the flashlight on that, soon all the other supporting negatives will be illuminated too, as the many positives are ignored.” Remind yourself of the good times by watching your wedding DVD or clicking through Facebook photos together. House suggests scheduling dates during which you spend focused and uninterrupted time together recalling the good memories or events that made you laugh. “This is your chance to remember why you fell for each other in the first place, appreciate each other for who you are and stop blaming each other for what you’re not,” she says.
You never fight
When the fighting stops, it may signal the beginning of a breakup—this could be a sign that you’re too emotionally detached to care. “Remember that your love interest liked you just the way you were when the two of you met,” says Dr Carle. “He enjoyed hearing you argue your point of view. If you suddenly withhold your passions about something, question whether you’ve given up your personal power. Fight for what you believe, and your passion will continue to turn your honey on.” When you don’t discuss your problems, inner conflict can fester and build. “When trust and communication are gone, and neither of you is even bothering to fight it out, it’s unlikely you’ll fight for the relationship either,” says Hall. “Avoidance can signal the end.”