No one wants to be in a dysfunctional relationship. Or do they?

Unhealthy relationship patterns are so easy to fall into. It may almost feel like we welcome them, even subconsciously go out of our way to create them.

Then, they can feel impossible to change.

Let’s identify some of the ways we undermine the nuts and bolts of a healthy relationship and get a clearer idea of what’s happening, and how we subconsciously sabotage our close connections.


What do you avoid? Pain, conflict, change? Avoiding relationship challenges results in repressed emotions. From there, it can be a slippery slope towards strife.

Communication problems

These problems may include the following:

  • Silent treatment
  • Passive aggression
  • Yelling and blaming
  • Dishonesty

When unresolved communication issues take root, they can slowly destroy trust and a sense of safety in your relationship.

Lack of self-esteem

Is your inner critic telling you lies like these?

“You’re not good enough.”

“He (or she) is losing interest in you.”

“You don’t make enough money.”

If you lose faith in yourself, your closest connections will suffer.


Nothing erodes the foundation of trust, intimacy, and relationship growth like insecurity, jealousy, and controlling behavior.


When the line between compatibility and codependency is blurred, your relationship may become strained.

7 Ways to Change Unhealthy Relationship Patterns

  1. Communicate

When you first met, could you finish each other’s sentences? Are the sentences between you now just one or two words long? One of you must take a stand and address your communication. Make a date to talk about how well you are or are not talking.

You probably understand by now that healthy communication does not happen by accident. It requires work. Always make time to talk face-to-face (not text, chat, or email).

A relationship is a process, not a finished product. What works today could fail tomorrow. The best way to stay on top of this is to share openly. It’s safe to say that protecting your relationship from sabotage is dependent on how well you communicate with each other.

It may also be wise to seek out a couple’s counselor.

  1. Practice self-care. Make this a team effort

The best version of you is needed now, more than ever. Taking care of yourself means establishing healthy habits in terms of sleep, diet, exercise, and stress management.

Best of all, this mission is more fun as a team. It’s difficult to sabotage your relationship when you are actively bringing out the best in each other.

  1. Say no to porn and yes to intimacy

The explosive growth of internet pornography is ruining relationships at a record rate. From our early teens, we can regularly access more and more extreme videos.

As a result, we’ve lost touch with the beauty of intimacy. It will probably take time, a possible work with a therapist or couples counselor, but you can reverse this damaging trend.

  1. Reject pop culture myths

The media messages we get can be a breeding ground for unhealthy relationship patterns. Happily, ever after sounds good. In reality, the joy of life lies in its many ups and downs.

Don’t stack yourself and relationship up against fiction. Relationships are about risking imperfection and solving problems together.

  1. Create independent but compatible lives

It’s all about balance. You’re meant for each other. But you’re not meant to spend every minute of every day together!

Develop interests together. However, continue to create your own life, too. You and your partner’s independent lives form an important, unified pillar in your relationship.

Does all this sound kind of tricky?

This is where couples counseling becomes so important. It’s a safe space where issues are aired with mediation and strategy.

You’ll identify what triggers you. You’ll discover root causes of certain behaviors. And you’ll learn to recognize the patterns that can sabotage.

Sometimes the healthiest relationship pattern you can choose is a regularly scheduled therapy session and professional guidance.


Click here to speak to Nicklas about how she can help.