Dr. Forshee spoke with Bustle about problems that may cause your relationship to become toxic.
The occasional small argument is no big deal. It’s only when the same small issues keep occurring that it may add up and create a toxic relationship. “Relationship conflict over the small things such as: how you feel someone spoke to you, cooking food a certain way, not cleaning up, etc., over time creates resentment if not resolved,” licensed psychologist Dr. Danielle Forshee, tells Bustle. “Additionally, over time, conflict over the small things is what we call a perpetual problem.”
It’s fairly common for relationship to have ongoing problems, “however, the relationships that survive [them] are those where [couples] address and manage the communication, conflict styles, and real issues about those small things,” Dr. Forshee says. “A relationship will turn toxic if these perpetual problems persist.”
In order to turn things around, and save your relationship, it can help to recognize that ongoing petty fights are rarely about the topic at hand. “Most of the time it is not about the thing itself (laundry, dishes, etc.), but more about what those things mean to you,” Dr. Forshee says. “If you and your partner can have a conversation not directly about the thing itself, but about what it means to you when your partner does not do that thing, you will set yourself up for success.” And the same is true when it comes to addressing other problems, that seem like they might be heading in a toxic direction. By talking about them, and coming up with a plan together, you and your partner can keep your relationship healthy.
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