This is a preview. The full article appears in Neil's book: Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating a Vital Relationship

Note: This is the first of a two-part series.

What sets you off? Are there predictable landmines that trigger fights, arguments or angry outbursts—in your intimate relationship, with your children or with other close people to you? Here are a list of hot-button issues and emotional triggers, many of which come from Ellen Wachtel in her book We Love Each Other, But… (St. Martin’s Griffin). Which of these describe you, your partner or your intimate relationship?

  • Do you tend to feel that you are not the number one priority in your partner’s life?
  • Do you feel hurt easily?
  • Do you like things “just so”? Is it hard for you to see things done the “wrong” way? Is it hard for you to delegate responsibility to someone else?
  • Are you afraid of too much closeness or dependency? Do you keep yourself removed, walled off, uninvolved or largely unavailable?
  • Do you fear abandonment? Can you easily feel neglected or slighted?
  • Do you get jealous easily?
  • Do you tend to feel that you are being taken advantage of?
  • Are you more critical than you would like to be?
  • Do you get impatient easily? Do you speak with an edge in your voice when you think your partner should already know something, or when she repeats herself?
  • Do you tend to see the glass as half-empty rather than half-full?

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