1. Fighting about finances.
Teri M. Nelson, a divorce attorney told us about a couple who had a major money beef. The guy put his wife on a strict budget. She adhered—until he told her that she couldn’t go out for ice cream, since they already had a carton in the freezer.
“I see this all the time. Instead of hashing out the larger issue—finances—one party holds back until something seemingly minor pushes them over the edge,” Nelson says.
The message: If you’re not happy, say so in the moment before your pent-up anger escalates and some stupid little thing sets you off.
2. Telling your friends about their shortcomings.
When one husband realised his now-ex-wife had dished to her girls about his sex issues, “it was clear he felt humiliated,” says Erik Newton, an attorney who represented the wife.
(MM confessions: The moment I knew it was over. Post continues after gallery.)
Apparently emasculating topics such as bedroom shortcomings or even a bad work review should be off-limits for both parties. They can make the persoin feel inadequate and that they can’t trust you, which is tough to recover from, says Jane Greer, Ph.D., a marriage and family therapist and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship. (Post continues after gallery.)
3. Raving about your colleague/friend/ex.
A client of divorce lawyer Kelly Chang Rickert revealed that his wife constantly compared him with a “wonderful” guy she worked with. Turned out he had reason to be pissed (she was cheating), but bigger picture, “comparison shopping” can ruin even a faithful relationship.
“Couples essentially agree to be each other’s number-one fan, so overly praising someone else can make your partner feel diminished,” Greer says.
4. Not getting along with the in laws.
Chang Rickert worked with a guy whose wife hated her in-laws so much, she turned down a Tiffany necklace from them. It made the husband realise that no matter how nice his parents tried to be, there wouldn’t be any getting along.
If your partner cares about their family and you reject them, it can drive a wedge between you, Greer says. Try to compromise, and if that fails, smile and nod.
5. Using sex as a weapon.
Newton says couples often come to him during a sex drought.
“They’ve got tension as a result of other problems, and one party starts withholding sex” as a fight tactic, he says. That’s basically the sexual equivalent of the silent treatment.
It means you’re missing out on a healthy way to feel close. We’re not telling you to do it if you don’t feel like it, but repeat after us: Sex is not a weapon.