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

The variety of couples in the news who are separating or divorcing is a sober reminder that our intimate relationships are fragile and can break—and that they must be handled with proper care and maintenance.

Many things can go wrong in a marriage. But there are things you can do—or stop doing—that directly relate to the health, well-being and longevity of your relationship. Today I will describe what behaviors destroy a relationship, and next week I will address what you can do to strengthen your relationship so you stand a better chance of living in greater peace and harmony with each other.

Here are some of the more common ways people destroy their intimate relationship:

  • Being walled off and hard to reach. Being emotionally or physically distant, closed or withholding. A variation of this is to stonewall your intimate partner, which means that rather than addressing what bothers you, you wall off, and s/he has to guess what’s upsetting you or what you want.
  • Poor listening skills. Most people talk way more than they listen, and they don’t listen to genuinely understand.
  • Not making important to you that which is important to your partner. This includes not blending your ways, your preferences or your interests with his or hers, and not being adaptable to someone else. It also means not being willing to honor your partner’s wants, needs or desires.
  • Not making your intimate relationship your top priority. It’s easy to treat work, children, family, friends, sports, computer or TV as urgent and critical. Do that, and your partner will not feel s/he matters to you.
  • Reduced affection. Hand-holding, hugs, cuddling and physical tenderness is a glue that keeps two people close and connected to each other. If affection is low, your relationship has likely grown distant.

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Tagged: how to destroy your relationship   how to ruin your relationship  

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