We should all know by now that the saying “love means never having to say you’re sorry” is about as true as unicorns or Nicole Kidman’s “naturally” ageless face. While there’s no one perfect equation for a happy, healthy romantic relationship, there are plenty of ways to deliver a fatal blow to your burgeoning relationship without realizing it. You could be ruining your relationship right now; and you might have missed the signs.

Your Love See-Saw Is Off Balance

Flickr photo by Ed Yourdon

Your intentions are good - you only want what’s best for the relationship. And you won’t settle for anyone who doesn’t treat you like a queen. The relationship starts out great, but as it goes on you notice he isn't as engaged as he used to be. He’s always on the computer or tinkering with his beat up Harley in the garage. If you wanted to spend time with him, you'd have to initiate it and he seems to be impartial to all the work you’re putting in to be with him. So you try even harder, but sadly you’re only met with blowoffs and disinterest.”What an unappreciative jerk,” you think, “I don’t deserve this.” Well, dear Queen, you might be doing this to yourself, and it’s known as the “push-pull dynamic.”

Psychology Today expert Jessica DuLong reminds us that every couple experiences some form of suffocation from the other, and it needs to be dealt with by the person doing the suffocating, unfortunately. Michele Weiner Davis, author of “http://www.relationships-explained.com/pages/arguments.html" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" class=" editor_blue_text">The Divorce Remedy” points out that the more space given by the affection-hungry partner to the less-affectionate partner, the more likely they will reach out. In other words, space is a good thing. Give it a try.

You Argue Like Enemies

Flickr photo by Eric Langley

When you were newly dating, you could talk about differing opinions and beliefs, and it wasn’t that big of a deal if he forgot to close the lid on your toothpaste. As time goes on, so does the arsenal of gunpowder loaded behind every minor infraction. Then, one or both of you will blow up. Names are called, threats are made and you forget why you’re even with this person to begin with, and you have no idea how to resolve this issue.

This happens because neither of you want to resolve the issue, and you want to “win” the fight. Words mean nothing now, because this isn’t discourse, it’s combat. Only, no one really wins and everyone gets hurt. You can find a million books or a counselor to help you learn to fight fair, but you still have to stand by your decision to abide by some basic rules. If you can’t, then you’ll lose what could have been a great life. The rules are:
  • Don’t make a physical or personal attack, and do not call names
  • Never use past transgressions as ammo for the issue at hand
  • Listen as much as you talk, it’s not “the you show”
  • Be calm, act calm. You can cry and be angry without losing your temper (see step one)

Sex: You're Not on the Same Page

Flickr photo by Lies Thru a Lens

Sex, or lack thereof, matters a lot. There are as many paths toward arousal as there are hiking trails in the Pacific Northwest. If you and your partner are perfectly compatible sexually, your turn ons match up and you’ve found your optimal frequency, then good for you.

“Attitude, respect, trust, your willingness to listen, communication, foreplay, emotional connection and attention” all factor into a sexual encounter, writes John Cheese in “Five Things Men Do to Ruin Their Own Sex Lives.”

When you go out of your way to buy some sexy lingerie, or plan a romantic dinner and all he wants to do is watch TV and hit the sack, it’s at the very least insulting and at most, devastating. It's personal. You felt vulnerable enough to put on lingerie for him. You’re about to give him the ultimate gift — something he is genetically wired to crave everyday.

So what’s wrong with you? GQ’s Siobhan Rosen urges men to realize that we take it personally, and their nonchalant rejections are selfish. Instead of letting the rejections turn you into an ice queen, or a waterfall of tears, talk to him and explain how you feel. More than likely, the second the sex starts, he’ll be glad he did it. And what about those times when he wants it, how he wants it. You'll feel more like a pleasure aide than an engaged partner, which is enough to put anyone off in the love department.

Sex plays into the “push-pull” theory mentioned above. If someone always wants it, the other is inclined to back away. Instead of letting this destroy you, make a pact to tune into each other, express your needs and make it a point to enjoy meeting theirs.