The phrase “dysfunctional relationship” gets thrown around as much as cliches like “love conquers all” or “never go to bed angry.” But unlike most relationship cliches, there is a lot of truth in labeling an unhealthy partnership.

Here are five signs your relationship is bound to fail

1. Harsh Startups

From the moment you begin a conversation with your partner, you’re immediately negative. You criticize, use sarcasm, and maybe even throw some biting words into the mix. This is referred to as a “harsh startup.” If any interaction begins like this, it will inevitably end the same way. Consequently, this leaves you and your partner feeling even worse than you did at the inception of the discussion, and most likely without any kind of resolution.

To combat this tendency, talk to your partner about making a serious effort to toss some positivity into your daily ritual. Instead of beginning an interaction with a nasty edge, try to open with a compliment or something you appreciate about your partner. While this ugly habit may be difficult to break, if you both become more self-aware of your actions, positive change is possible.

2. Flooding

The term “flooding” means that your partner’s negative actions, whether it’s criticism or defensiveness, is so overwhelming that you become paralyzed. You shut down emotionally and completely detach from the relationship because you simply cannot handle the toxicity. These feelings usually lead to even more contempt over time, and a quick deterioration of a relationship.

3. Body Language

When you interact with your partner, are you closed off? Arms crossed? Face scowling? Maybe even some yelling? These are common reactions when you’re feeling flooded, along with increased heart rate, a secretion of adrenaline and an increase in blood pressure.

Whatever the cause of these physical reactions, one thing is certain, it renders you unable to have a productive conversation with your significant other. If you notice yourself physically reacting in this way, try to take a few deep breaths, or ask your partner to give you a moment to calm down before you proceed. Of course, these steps are much easier said than done, but doing so will help lead to a more conducive discussion and hopefully result in a resolution.

4. Positive/Negative Balance

A combination of negative and positive is like the yin and yang of any healthy relationship. Negativity can play an important role in a relationship, such as calling out and eradicating interaction patterns that don’t work. But the key is balance. If constant negativity is keeping you and your partner from recovering from past fights, this is a recipe for disaster.

5. You can’t forgive and forget

If you find yourself still resenting your significant other for something that happened five years ago, then chances are you two won’t be together for another five. If you’re unable to let go of past problems then you could get stuck in bad memories.

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