Last week I described motivations of people who can, consciously or unconsciously, pose threats to a romantic love relationship. Some motivations are meant to protect self-esteem: a desire to feel "special”, or wanted, or important, or to compare favorably to others. Others are emotion-based, driven by frustration or fear, often evolving into anger. They can reflect dependency, jealousy, loneliness, disapproval, a desire for more or less intimacy, fear of loss, distorted perception or misattribution. Today I look at destructive third-party behaviors that may result from these impulses. I will address ways to deal with them next week.
Behaviors that are toxic to a relationship operate through their consequences. They can undermine the integrity of the couple, create conflict between the partners, or derail one member of the couple.
Undermining the integrity of the couple.
Creating conflict. Some third parties cannot resist creating conflict, either overtly or through more subtle processes. They can get partners arguing over what is happening and what to do about it, or push them into struggles with other people. All methods lead to unnecessary disharmony in the couple; they are toxic.
Derailing one partner in the couple. The third consequence that can be toxic to a couple stems from behaviors that destabilize one of the partners.
External threats to a couple can come from many sources and from varied motivations. I have listed behaviors that result from various motivations and threaten the integrity of the couple itself, others that create conflict within the couple or one of its members, and still more that derail a partner and thus cause harm. Next week I will examine ways to deal with these external threats.
Were there times when you felt your couple was threatened by a third-party? Can you identify one of their behaviors that caused problems? How did you and your partner react to the behavior? Were you in agreement about what happened, or did you see the actual events differently? What happened to your couple after the incident?
Copyright 2017 Roni Beth Tower
Visit me at www.miracleatmidlife.com