Pretty much everyone who is in a committed relationship agrees that if they found out their partner had s’εx, even once, with someone else, it would be a challenge to move past it and stay together. That’s the big one-event shakeup most people assume is the beginning of the end, if not the mile marker for the end itself.
While both of us would be nonplussed if the other had an affair or one-night stand, there are three patterns we’ve fallen prey to that we know could be (almost) silent killers for us, and probably any other couple.
#1. Withholding Attention: You’ve heard about “ghosting”? Most people wouldn’t dream of doing it to the love of their life, and most of us would notice pretty quickly if we were being ghosted. But there are so many ways of withholding attention that aren’t even intentional. Preoccupation, like with your phone or the television, or maybe just preoccupation with your own thoughts—we’re both prone to getting lost in our heads, in the clouds, or in time. Or shutting down: crawling into the shell of self to process, to stew, to ponder, or just to hang out and relax. Even if it’s not intended to hurt, when you withhold your attention from your partner, your lover, that person who is in your life because they get off on being with you, you’re committing a “micro-aggression” toward that thing that keeps you together.
And if you are withholding attention as a way to prove a point or strike back, stop that right now. Everyone needs to withdraw and unplug but don’t retreat in order to get even. Hurting someone emotionally always leaves a mark.
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