A little healthy competition can spice up any relationship – you’re trying to beat your partner at his 7-minute mile, it is some good old healthy fun. But, when a couple falls into a pattern of constant rivalry it’s a very worrying pattern. The desire to actually compete against your partner, for whatever reason, can erode a relationship from the inside out. But, you might not even be aware you’re doing it. Let’s take a look at some of the common competition cycles in couples.
If you can’t celebrate their success without a pang of jealousy or resentment, take note. This is a big red flag that things in your relationship are changing for the worse. These issues need to be addressed head-on, and the longer they fester, the more toxic they will become.
Everybody in a relationship fights. It’s one of those inevitable un-pleasantries of being in a relationship – but if you’re fighting leaves you feeling like you always have to win, and not working towards a resolution together, there’s an issue – a big one. Fighting isn’t always a negative thing; it can force a couple to compromise. And as uncomfortable it can be, you shouldn’t want to see your partner “lose”. You’re both on the same side when one loses, you both do.
It’s not a great sign if one or both of you are actively trying to make each other jealous. This screams of insecurities, and whether it’s fear or anger based, nothing good can come of it. You could flirt outright in front of your partner, or make comments on others in front of them; this level of toxicity will leave a lasting strain on anyone.
You use your words to cut your partner down. Your aim is to hurt, judge and belittle. This could go hand in hand with always wanting to win an argument. The fastest way to shut someone up is by hitting him or her where they are the weakest. What most people don’t realize is that this is a form of emotional abuse. This could lead to a whole host of other issues and can form some pretty ugly patterns. The same could be said for ultimatums too. Once someone throws out “if you don’t do this, I will do that” – threats are put out there and everybody’s guard is up and swords are drawn. If you feel that you need to give your partner an ultimatum, something is broken.
If you think that you’re in a competitive relationship, it’s not too late to get help. Be open and honest with your partner about how you feel moving forward and seek professional help if you feel that’s needed. If you are starting to be annoyed or resentful by the mere presence of your partner then this should be deemed an emergency and dealt with as such. Communication is key to any successful relationship, and once healthy exchanges are established you’re able to get to the root cause of your dysfunction.