Unhealthy Relationship Patterns

Unhealthy Relationship Patterns

Master these behaviors if you want your relationship to explode.

So you say you have found the love of your life, your dream person. You might even find yourself in a healthy long-term relationship. But you wonder if your relationship will last. Shit, you wonder if you even want your relationship to last. It was more fun partying with your girlfriends anyway. Let’s face it; the self-help folks all trumpet about the relationship styles you should attempt to avoid or at the very least, keep to a minimum. So rather than spend all that time and money on trying to make it work, here are five things that you can do to screw it up and quickly.


Be too dependent. Relationships need to be nurtured. They do not flourish if left on their own. Go on, make sure that your relationship isn’t one of your top priorities in life. Of course, your relationship should not be your whole life, but let’s even reduce it to less than you ever considered. If you are reluctant to make plans that do not require both of you to participate until you are sure your partner has no plans, keep on… Just go ahead and give too much weight to your relationship. It’s a pretty common form of dependent behavior. (Guys love it.) Another step in the race to the bottom is to refuse to allow the other person to do things on their own, or failing to respect their need for alone time. See how that works?

Be insultingly independent. We all know that having your whole life revolve around your relationship is unhealthy, but even better is not being able to make any compromises. Make damn sure to always have things your way. Work to restrict your partner’s freedom in all the unreasonable ways you can conjure up. Be creative!


Compromising is for sissies. Make sure, when possible, that you ask that their core values be compromised. For example, if one of you wants children of your own and the other does not, refuse to negotiate; damn well insist. After all, didn’t you get that trophy for just showing up in karate? Well heck, you’re there… making it happen your way is the only way! And when things are less important, still never accept that you can’t have it all. If you have different food preferences, for instance, never claim defeat…ever. They will get used to the new diet. The same goes for decision making. Make sure that all decisions are yours to make. Never stoop to making them together with your partner. Shit, you know how you want to spend your summers or the holiday season…why ask your partner?

Never and I mean never, make any sacrifices. They tell you that being in a relationship inevitably requires making sacrifices. Screw them. Just go on and live your single life any way you want while still being in a committed long-term relationship. Needless to say, if you and your significant other are exclusive, you cannot cheat on each other, so why be exclusive? No one enjoys limits! Put aside the idea that relationships require numerous other lesser sacrifices as well. That is all a load of crap. It all comes down to making reasonable agreements, then making sure that you get what you want. Let them watch out for themselves…right? Forget about satisfying each other’s wishes when they go against your own; it’s all about you and don’t you forget it, buddy! If you have agreed to inform each other when you are coming home late, who cares. Just stay out late at the card game without letting the other person know. They will get used to it and you can have your fun. If you used to go out partying every weekend, but the other person does not like partying at all, screw them; just go out alone with your friends. It may not always feel good at first, but just try and give up part of your personal autonomy and see how you feel. Lucky for you, relationships cannot thrive if you aren’t willing to sacrifice some of your top desires and preferences. So go on, have some fun!

It all comes down to making
reasonable agreements,
then making sure that you get what you want.

Forget about communication, it’s too much work. No two people are going to be exactly the same in their preferences, behaviors, and manners. There are bound to be aspects of the other person’s preferences, behaviors, or manners that will sooner or later bother you. Why bother to tell them about it? You wouldn’t change for them, so why open yourself up to criticism? Keep it to yourself! Be healthy and be quiet. Take the rare opportunity to let the annoyance fester until it explodes, or better yet, only let out your frustration in the heat of an argument. It is crucial to the success of a relationship that you can convey negative things to your partner without them taking offense, so be sure and never do it. Be counterintuitive for a change. Likewise, NEVER be willing to listen to the issues they have with you. To hell with them and what the other couples are doing. When the negative aspects of reasonable things that can easily be fixed come up during a conversation, ignore them… they couldn’t be much anyway. Why should you be willing to work on changing what you like or dislike, or even come to a reasonable agreement about what needs to be done? Isn’t it all about you? It is important that these kinds of conversations rarely take place when both parties are calm and collected. You said you lived for passion…so go for it!

Always explicitly, and implicitly, encourage inequality. Although the norm in America today—at least among people from the younger generation—is to be equal in relationships, you can work diligently to carry on with old-fashioned inequality patterns. Old school is the best school, right? Besides, whoever said that equality is essential to a healthy long-term relationship? Do they think you are stupid? If you and your partner both have full-time jobs (whether or not one of those jobs consists of taking care of your children during the day), you shouldn’t even consider contributing equally to home tasks. Hey guys, it isn’t your job to take care of the kids after work hours. Let her cook, clean, shop, plan, and so on. After all, she’s just at home all day. Isn’t that why you wanted her around in the first place? Heck, it never makes sense to divide up the home tasks; for instance, if one person is a great cook and the other person prefers doing the dishes, why bother to agree that one person cooks and that the other cleans up afterward? Just do what you want and bitch when the rest isn’t finished on time. Be careful though, equality in a relationship goes beyond dividing up home tasks.

Who ever said that equality is
essential to a healthy
long-term relationship?
Do they think you are stupid?

Keep in mind that decisions that pertain to—or seriously affect—the relationship should never be made together. You are a smart lady; you don’t need a man’s opinion! And the same holds true in the bedroom. Sex is something that never needs a bit of discussion. If you have different sexual needs, make sure yours are met or don’t play. Heck, just take what is yours. Go ahead and set in stone those old-fashioned sexual relationship patterns, where the man initiates sex, the woman always complies and only the man receives pleasure.

It’s all about you! Besides, you weren’t sure you wanted a relationship anyway. Needless to say no one will be happy, but isn’t that the point?

Ok, so lighten up…I wrote this with the hope that this not only made you laugh, but that you felt a little mocked in public if you have ever indulged in these kinds of behaviors. Good relationships provide human companionship and compassion; they can heal, they can inspire, and they lead to important emotional growth. Work on yours and see if you can be a little… just a little better than the person I described.


Frank Hopkins is a life coach in Baton Rouge who is certified as a Professional Coach (CPC) by the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching (iPEC). Frank has helped numerous people to go through emotional change in a way that is positively transformative.