I Suck At Relationships: Don’t Let Cracks Become Craters

It’s ironic that we obsess about and try so hard to get and keep the perfect relationship, and yet we are the very ones who sabotage those relationships. My biggest problem has always been my failure to step back and let things breathe. Sometimes I find it very difficult to know how to balance my own life with wanting someone else in my life. I can be very confusing.

Relationships are hard to maintain. New or old, married or single, they all suffer normal wear and tear because life is hard. They get cracks, and if you don’t patch the cracks, they become craters, and then the whole thing falls apart. Relationships develop cracks for a million different reasons. If you aren’t paying attention, you could miss them.

Crack #1: Relationship Atrophy
This happens when you get too comfortable and entrenched in a pattern, or you’re just bickering all the time and are in a funk. You begin to take each other and the relationship for granted, you stop noticing and appreciating each other, and you get bored or a little depressed and your mind starts to wonder.

Repair Strategy: Get the motor running again. What you are doing now isn’t working, so you need to change something. One way to do this is to do exactly the opposite of your impulse. If you want to nag your partner for leaving you alone to play golf again, do the opposite. Say, “I think you should go play golf, you deserve a break.” Be sincere and kind about it, not mean and sarcastic. If you are sweet about your partner’s desires, they might be more receptive to yours.

Crack #2: Letting Yourself Go
I’ve been known to hang around the house in baggy sweatpants with no bra on and mascara smudges under my eyes. This is fine some of the time but letting yourself go is like saying, “I don’t need to make any effort to look good for you.” This goes both ways – It’s definitely not just a woman’s problem.

Repair Strategy: Sometimes it doesn’t take very much effort. You don’t need to put on a fancy dress and stilettos. You can get back in the habit of taking more pride in your appearance by establishing some rules for yourself. Be comfortable at home, but when you go out or spend time together, make an effort to get done up.

Crack #3: Having The Same Fight Over and Over
The reason people end up having the same fight over and over is usually because the fight is not what it’s about. You need to get down to the core and stop arguing and start talking. What is the real problem? Maybe you argue about doing the dishes or the laundry, but the real problem is you resent how much time he spends with his friends. You may not know what the actual problem is, or maybe you just don’t want to talk about it.

Repair Strategy: Here’s what you have to remember: The argument isn’t as important as the relationship. Work on listening, not reacting. Work on stepping back and not attacking. People tend to pick and pick at a wound and the swelling can’t go down. You have to give inflammatory issues time to heal. Calm down and let things breathe before you move forward.

This is an excerpt from “I Suck At Relationships So You Don’t Have To” by Bethenny Frankel, available on