By Andrew Yellen, Ph.D.

For those of you who often wonder why your partner wants out, I have tried to come up with three easy ways that will almost insure the destruction of a close relationship. They are, in no particular order: 1) Fill your relationship jar to the very top with sand; 2) park your car in your neighbor’s garage; and 3) Cry “wolf” a lot.

Get two mason jars of equal size. Next to both place a half-gallon of sand and a half-gallon of pebbles that are approximately one half in diameter each. Using the first jar, fill it with sand all the way to the top. Gently shake it a bit, and refill it. Using the second jar, fill it with pebbles all the way to the top. Gently shake it and try to put a few more pebbles in it. Now back to the first jar. Try to put some of the pebbles in the jar. You can not! Using the second jar, carefully begin to sprinkle sand in, shaking gently as you go. You will be surprised how much sand you can get in. The jars represent your relationship issues. The sand representations minor issues, while the pebbles represent major issues. You see, if you fill your relationship jar with sand – minor issues- you have no room to put in pebbles – major issues. If you are consistently bringing up minor issues in your relationship, you will never have an opportunity to address major issues, which will surely kill the relationship.

Your neighbor has a wonderful looking garage. Your garage looks a little cluttered and you’re getting tired of it, so why do not you just open the garage next door and park your vehicle? How do you think your neighborhood would react? How do you think the people in your house would react? How would the rest of your neighbors react? DO NOT park your car in someone else’s garage. It will probably get really banged up, and the people in your house will not be very happy. It’s called boundaries. Infidelity is one of the biggest relationship killers.

Remember that fairytale about the boy who fought wolf a lot? When the wolf really came, and he screamed wolf, nobody came, and he got ateen. Nobody trusted him anymore. No one could tell when he was telling the truth or when he was lying. Their trust in him had been violated. The result was that his relationship with others had vanished. Relationships are based, in large part, on mutual trust. Without trust there is instability. People become hypervigilant and are always suspicious. Screw me once, shame on you. Screw me twice, shame on me. People do not like to feel duped. When you violate trust, you are ruining a relationship.

Unfortunately, some people not only do one of the above, but two or even all three. Of course, when you ask these people if they know their behavior might cause a problem in their relationship, they will always tell you that they knew. However, if you ask them since they know, why did they do those behaviors anyway, most will come up with an excuse best left in a cow pasture.

Much of life is filled with warning signs much like road signs: stop signs; dangerous curves; pedestrian crossing; speed limits; exit signs; etc. Much like driving, if you do not heed the message in those signs, you run the risk of mild to moderate to severe consequences, not only for you but also for others around you. Pay attention and heed life’s warning signs. Your relationship will be so much healthier.


Tags : relationships

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