- A lack of empathy for your partner and feelings of contempt are sure predictors that a relationship will fail.
- Strong, long-term relationships require some equality in how much each partner puts into maintaining the union.
- When it comes to successful relationships, open and honest communication is a critical key.
Here are the 7 cardinal sins of relationships:
1. All Take and No Give. A quality relationship requires equitable exchanges between partners. A deadly sin that can tear a relationship apart is when one partner feels like they give far more than they’re getting from their partner. There needs to be fairness and balance in how much each partner contributes to finances, chores, etc., and on the emotional level.
2. Lack of Empathy. There are various forms of empathy–including seeing the other’s perspective and demonstrating compassion when your partner is sad, depressed, or annoyed (as well as sharing in their happiness and positive emotions). When a partner doesn’t show any empathic concern for their partner’s feelings, it’s a sign the relationship is doomed.
3. Contempt. Research by relationship psychologist John Gottman suggests that one of the strongest predictors of divorce is when a partner demonstrates contempt for their significant other. Relationships that are destined to fail show, on average, about a 5-to-1 ratio of negative emotional expressions to positive emotional displays. In healthy relationships, there is balance, with a 1-to-1 ratio of positive and negative emotional expressions.
4. Playing Head Games. Good relationships are built on trust, and when one partner continually blames the other, teases too much, or gaslights their partner, the relationship comes apart at the seams. Common signs that a partner is gaslighting include repeated accusations that the other is too sensitive, insecure, paranoid, or crazy. Continually blaming one’s partner for all of the relationship problems is certain to tear the bond apart.
5. Lack of Communication. As in all relationships, open, honest, and frequent communication is essential. Couples who rarely talk about important matters or avoid discussing disagreements or conflicts are committing a serious relationship sin.
6. Infidelity. Nothing tears a relationship apart like infidelity, but it goes beyond just sexual infidelity. A partner who spends all of their time with friends or work colleagues and little time with their significant other commits a serious relationship sin.
7. No Relationship Maintenance. All too often, marriages and committed relationships fail when the partners just give up trying to make the relationship work. All types of relationships require work. That means spending quality time together, sharing and caring, and ensuring that you and your partner’s needs are being met.
What other relationship sins you have observed?
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Gottman, J. & Silver, N. (2015). The seven principles for making marriage work: A practical guide from the country's foremost relationship expert. New York: Harmony.