There is no such thing as a “perfect” relationship and even the happiest of couples will have things that create tension between them. Couples argue for a lot of reasons including jealousy, in-laws, finances, kids, and sex. But at what point does the fighting and accusations become too much?

A healthy relationship should be a two-way street with both partners giving and receiving. It’s important to know if the relationship can be salvaged so that you can build a healthier connection, or if you should take steps to sever ties and work out termination plan that may include co-parenting.

The following are a few examples of destructive relationships that couples get caught up in. See if any relate to your situation:

Extremely combative

Every couple argues now and then, but if you are in a relationship where you are both constantly bickering about every little thing like the way he drinks water or her explosive sneezes, then you’ve got issues. When conflict escalates into toxic arguments with one or both partners demonstrating disrespect, contempt, and criticism – all meaningful communication disappears. After the dust settles, hurt feelings and deep resentment continue to lurk just under the surface waiting for the next volatile meltdown.

Lack of trust

A more serious sign of a destructive relationship involves frequent finger pointing and playing the blame game. Couples who are critical of one another or often accuses the other of doing something they shouldn’t are usually dealing with a lack of trust which can be devastating to a relationship. These deep insecurities that may be caused by a breach of trust within the relationship, or something that happened in a previous relationship. Constant calls to check on the other person’s whereabouts, opening their mail, or hacking into their phone or emails indicate that it’s time for some damage control.

Control and manipulation

Good relationships are built on mutual respect. You should be accepted for who you are – not who someone else wants you to be. If your mate is constantly putting you down and/or is trying to control you so that you live according to their standards, please understand this is not love. This is selfish and manipulative on their part. In some cases, it can even be considered emotional abuse.

Physically abusive

The most dangerous symptom of a destructive relationship is extreme aggressiveness. This is a harmful tool that some people use in their relationships to get what they want. Sometimes this may involve physical violence. Couples in loving relationships do not resort to violence to manipulate their partner, which can lead to very serious consequences. If you or a loved one is experiencing any of these problems in a relationship, it is time to get help.

Don’t have a good feeling

Sometimes in a relationship we may feel sad, depressed, guilty, or fearful. No matter what the reasons are, if you are not feeling good about the relationship, your instincts are trying to tell you something. Couples who love one another look forward to being together; they bring out the best in each other. They give each other the benefit of the doubt. However, if you don’t feel loved and secure, or you’re making excuses to work late or simply avoid being around your partner, you need to examine the reason why.

So, when is it time to throw in the towel? Many of these issues can be worked out and smoothed over with the help of a marriage counselor who can teach both of you how to focus on the parts of the person and relationship that you enjoy. A counselor can also help you determine the best remedy for handling a destructive relationship. Even if you decide it’s time to call it quits, walking away can be tough and you may need the help of a professional to keep things on an even keel.


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