You probably think you already know the best way to screw your relationship up. You could start going through your partner’s cell phone, throwing jealous scenes when they want to go out, or talk incessantly about marriage. But the thing is, all these faux pas are so well documented in trashy romance movies. You have to be pretty dumb to fall into any one of these self-destructive habits.
Nope. The real relationship killers aren’t the ones we all know about and steer clear of. Like stalking your partner, talking about your ex and his sexual prowess, or having an affair. The real ones are so much more dangerous because we’ve come to see them as milestones, rather than red flags. If you really want to send your perfectly happy, loving and sexually fulfilling relationship to the bottom of an abyss, do these five things:
1. Move state.
Move state, country, or zip code for your partner, or ask them to move for you. Trust me, I’ve been on both ends of this scenario and neither have worked. You see, I used to be a hopeless romantic before I became a hollowed out shell. I’ve moved for love. I’ve woken up to find myself in a dingy apartment on the other side of the world. Watching the raindrops run down the windowpane, thinking, “how the f*** did I get here?” That particular move lasted six weeks and the relationship limped along for another few. Before I got the hell out of dodge. Jobless, out of pocket and single.
Why is moving for love such a bad idea? Because you’re throwing yourself upon the mercy of the other person. You’re ripping yourself out of your life, job, and circle of friends to blindly follow someone else. Who is busy crafting a life for themselves. While you sit at home working on your resume and watching the wet weather outside.
Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s easier when the shoe’s on the other foot, either. Sure, if you’re the one with the reason to move and the life outside the house, it might seem better. But you have to come home to that pained expression every day. The guilt will kill you, if your partner doesn’t first. And worse than that? You’ll never win another argument. Like, ever again. Your partner will always have the trump card, “I moved here for you!” End of conversation. You lose.
2. Take a promotion.
“Hey congrats! You got a better offer at work! I’m so proud of you honey.” Yeah, it will sound something almost exactly like that at the beginning. But, when you can’t make it to your partner’s cousin’s birthday party, you don’t pay full attention to the series you love watching together on Netflix, or you spend extra hours at the office, the enthusiasm will soon subside. And then fester into creeping resentment.
What were you doing at the office so long anyway? Why do you need meet up after work? Are you at the damn computer again? Accepting a major promotion means taking on more responsibility and more work. Which is akin to cheating on your partner with your laptop. I’m all for moving up the career ladder, taking what you deserve and generally kicking ass. Just, don’t expect your cozy little relationship to be so supportive.
3. Get married.
How many marriages is it that end in divorce? A third? Half? More? Of course, you don’t necessarily have to become one of those statistics. But marriage will still knock your relationship flat on its face. You’ll start hearing things like “marriage is hard work” and “you have to stick at it,” as if it were a gruesome juice cleanse or triathlon.
Why was no one saying that to you before? When you were freely in a relationship together? Why all of a sudden is it all about hard work and sacrifice? I don’t know if we’re preconditioned by so many jaded spouses, or if it’s society’s fault, but marriage does something to a relationship. It converts it into a job. And jobs are rarely for life.
4. Get a joint bank account.
If you, like me, get married later in life, then you’re pretty used to being independent and managing your finances. Freedom is your ultimate prize and money is usually the vehicle that grants it to you. So, someone else investigating what you make and what you spend is like having your wings clipped. Avoid joining financial forces at all costs. It will suck all the spontaneity and daring out of your life.
Who wants to meet with a pair of raised eyebrows passing judgment on a $200 pair of shoes you worked your ass off to buy? Or check themselves every time they think about doing something fun? And does anyone really want to start saving for new tiling in the bathroom or reconditioning their driveway? Seriously, don’t do it. Keep your own stash safe somewhere in an offshore account with your own password.
5. Have a child.
If you aren’t already basking in the ashes of your burning relationship, after doing all the above, go ahead and have a child. There’s nothing like having a child for taking the sex out of your relationship and revealing the true person you’re committed to. You will see colors of your partner’s personality that you never knew existed before. As night after sleepless night, you have a baby balanced on your breast while they sit on the sofa drinking a beer. Just wait until they suggest getting intimate for the talons to come out and the sh** to hit the fan.
Having a child converts you both into different people and you won’t be each other’s priority anymore. Just ask them who they would save first if you were trapped in a burning building if you need confirmation of this. And wait until you’ve spent three hours calming an inconsolable toddler for your partner to burst into the house, slamming the door loudly. It won’t be long before you start fantasizing about their funeral.
But hey, if you want to do all these things, you’re like 80 percent of the rest of the world, so pretty normal by most standards. Just go into it with your eyes open. Don’t get pushed into making any of these steps because you think it’s the “right” thing to do. How hot will the sex be after he’s wiped your ass, or held your hair when you vomit? And do you really trust your partner with your credit card? Before you find yourself alone in a foreign land, at the office, or dressed like a meringue, spare a thought for your relationship.