These things push him away IMMEDIATELY.
Did you know that your brain is actually wired to love others and experience love in return? It’s a basic human drive.
Research by Helen Fisher, Ph.D. and others have shown through MRI brain scans how certain brain regions activate when you fall in love and form attachment with a romantic partner (or, as a new parent, to your child).
And this is how healthy relationships work — They involve a sense of actual attachment developing, not just feelings of love.
As such, maintaining your love relationship takes work and a degree of 'give and take' to make it thrive. It’s natural for a couple to have issues come up that emotionally trigger each person and cause them to communicate and problem-solve in ways that often lead to more relationship strife, not less.
When this occurs, your relationship doesn't feel very satisfying; and in time, it's doomed if you or your partner resort to any of the following four ways of getting attention or showing your frustration or hurt.
Note: The need to change your partner is usually the cause of these four controlling, manipulative, attention-seeking behaviors. These behaviors are forms of judgment, and to quote Katie and Gay Hendricks, are "criticisms that will eat away at all the good feelings in your relationship, until you have no relationship left."
1. You lash out emotionally.
There are times in every relationship when we feel emotionally triggered. Whatever's happening in the present moment reminds us of a hurtful past experience, our unconscious self triggers and we react ... perhaps by lashing out verbally and/or physically. We may suddenly feel fearful and insecure about losing the one we say we love, and so we react in an aggressive way to force a sense of attachment.
Some have called the worst forms of this behavior "Crimes of Passion," a form of acting outing that one carries out in the name of love. I hurt you and/or myself, because our love has gone away. One partner's attachment turns dark and unhealthy.
Unhealthy attachment stems from a fear of loss and creates more relationship discord than harmony. To cope with this fear, you may feel the need to control your relationship on your terms. This kind of "love" is conditional, possessive and is more about the need for power over your partner. This is not authentic, pure love.
Pure, authentic love includes freedom. It invites each partner to give love freely without expecting something (a payback of sorts) in return. St. Francis de Sales said it best: "The measure of love is to love without measure."
2. You sulk when you don't get your way.
Sulking means pouting, acting aloof or withdrawn, showing silent resentment or protest. The hope is usually that your partner will notice your unhappiness and rush in to pacify you and please you again. However, this is a form of passive-aggressive retaliation and is really just a way of gaining control in the relationship. This behavior, in the long run, never leads to constructive communication or problem-solving. It's a form of withholding love until certain conditions and expectations are met.
Relationships require trust, authentic connection and vulnerability. If trust and vulnerability are lacking, a meaningful and satisfying relationship cannot truly develop. C.S. Lewis said: "To love at all is to be vulnerable." Being vulnerable with our partner means speaking openly about what we really want, need and feel, knowing the other person may not accept who we are or agree to meet our every need (exactly as we want it met).
Sulking doesn't inspire your partner to meet your needs. Instead, it turns them off and shuts them down. Sulking is manipulative. It destroys the sense of safety, bonding and intimacy that makes a relationship grow and thrive. When you act too needy and/or controlling in the relationship, trust and vulnerability are compromised.
3. You give your partner the cold shoulder.
This means, "I’m upset and I don’t want to talk to you!" You give the cold shoulder by avoiding eye contact, giving one word, aloof responses in conversation, and, in general, doing what you need to 'protect' yourself. You avoid any intimate interaction with your partner for a period of time. Your body language radiates coldness, rudeness and avoidance with a selfish desire to hurt the one you say you love.
Giving the cold shoulder is another form of passive-aggressive retaliation toward your significant other. If prolonged, this type of behavior stifles problem-solving and creates more frustration and disconnect. Once again, your hope is that your partner will notice your distance and race back to comfort you, but usually your icy demeanor just frustrates your partner and pushes them further away.
4. You talk sh*t about your partner to your friends.
Like the other behaviors above, complaining about your partner to other people doesn’t really solve problems, it just gives you a thrill of dramatic attention and keeps feeding the problem. You gripe to others about your partner because you want people to agree with you and take your side in the problem. You want to be right, so you rally validation for your position, escalating 'me versus you' to 'us versus you' in an attempt to force your partner to give you your way.
When complain about your partner to others, you're attempting to take the safe and easy way toward what you think will solve the issue at hand. But, you're not solving anything. Instead you're alienating your partner and avoiding real problem-solving. First, because you're not talking directly to the person you have the problem with. And second, because friends are biased and can’t really solve the problem. Sure, they can offer opinions and suggestions, yet you must ultimately still address the actual issues with your partner one-on-one (and, perhaps most importantly, within yourself).
Making your partner look bad to others destroys the sense of safety and trust in your relationship. Remember a healthy and thriving relationship cannot exist without a solid level of trust, connection and vulnerability.
David Schroeder, LMSW, CPC from Grand Rapids, MI., is a licensed social worker, certified life coach, and author of "Just Be Love: Messages on the Spiritual and Human Journey." His practice, Transition Pathways helps people find healthy pathways to love, greater awareness and higher potential. Visit his website: transitionpathways.com