A new relationship can be likened to a brand new car. When purchased, can be driven for days, weeks, month or even years without having to worry about the engine, body, or any part at all, all you need to do is service it once in every 12 months (ideally). In this new car, you could feel the coolness of the air conditioner, the vibes coming from the mp3 player and even the comfortable silk divan. After a while, you would a reduction in the performance of the car and – if still lackadaisical about it – may lead to an eventual breakdown. Just like a car, when a relationship breaks down, it leaves you devastated, leaves you at the side of the road wondering what had gone wrong.
An experienced driver could easily detect when a car is faulty, either from the sound of the car to the colour of the fumes that runs through the exhaust pipe. There are always signs given to ascertain when a car is faulty. The same can be said about a relationship. The good news is that you can be your own mechanic.
Before we waltz through the 4 indicating factors of a failing relationship, remember that conflict itself is not a problem. Conflict is ideally meant to arise when two people with different background, beliefs and upbringing come. This should have no bearing on the success of the relationship if handled properly. Follow each of the strategies provided to overcoming each of the deadly sign-posts.
1. Criticism: Criticism is the expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes. It should not be mistaken for “giving constructive feedback” or a way to seek improvement or change in your partner. Your intention becomes criticism when you focus on your partner’s personality, character, or interests rather than the specific action or behaviour you would like to see changed – “you are terrible at writing, you are so disorganised, you are a big fat liar”…
2. Contempt: Contempt is the feeling that a person or a thing is worthless or beneath consideration. It could be in the form of demeaning comments about your partner to another or direct insults. It could also be in the form of rolling of the eyes and coaching insults within the context of humour.
3. Defensiveness: Denying refers to generally making excuses for your mistakes or the inability to admit one’s wrongs. Being defensive has a tendency of aggravating even a calm person and prevents an issue from resolution. It will make it even difficult to concentrate on larger issues.
4. Stonewalling: Stonewalling can refer to delay or obstruct of your partner’s request by refusing to answer questions or by being evasive. Examples can be: being emotionally far, or lack of emotions. Stonewalling is problematic. It is capable of causing an unresolved divide between two partners – where they both would not be able to constructively explain the reason for their relationship failure.