Susie & Otto


3 Sneaky, Hidden Relationship Traps You Don't Want to Fall Into

If there's one thing that can create havoc in your relationships, it's falling into hidden relationship traps.

And if you stay in those traps for long periods of time or just keep falling in them and you can't figure out why or how...

Your relationship can end up feeling empty and could even end.

We were reminded of these sneaky, hidden relationship traps as we watched the 2010 Winter Olympics over the past two weeks.

During one downhill skiing competition, there was one place in the course that seemed to cause several of the competitors to get off balance, lose time and some fell.

It was a problem for many skiers because this irregular rut (as some commentators called it) in the course came up by surprise.

They weren't aware of it until it was too late.

What was clear was that those who skied the best times in this event, had completely avoided this area during their run.

So it is with those sneaky, hidden relationship traps.

The couples who don't fall into them have happier relationships than those who do.

These traps are sneaky and hidden because like the problem on the ski slope, we don't see them coming before we fall right into them.

And then while we're in these traps, we often can't even see that we're in them, let alone find a way to get out.

Usually something happens to bring us out-- but sometimes not.

Sometimes the issues never get resolved. We just get busy with something else and the issue is buried, only to come back up at a later time.

Now, of course, we all fall into these traps every now and then because we're human (and they can be different for everyone).

But the happiest couples don't stay there when they do and they figure out ways to not fall in them very often.

For them, quickly getting out of these traps becomes a habit---or avoiding them altogether.

So what are these traps?

Here are 3 common sneaky, hidden relationship traps that we've certainly fallen into and we're guessing you or your partner have too...

1. The "Defending" Trap. Defending comes so natural and easy to so many of us when we think...

  • we haven't been treated fairly
  • we haven't been understood
  • we're afraid we won't get our way
  • we're not appreciated
  • someone thinks differently than we think
  • we think we're right and the other person is wrong

Defense rises inside us so quickly we don't even have time to recognize it before we've said or done something that pushes the other person further away.

That's why we call it sneaky and hidden.

Our defending seems to come from someplace deep inside and we don't in any way feel in control of it.

If defending is a pattern for you and you want to stop it (or at least slow it down), start recognizing what you do when you get hooked and then breathe.

It might mean that your stomach, jaw or neck tightens, you feel yourself want to fight or the opposite--run away, and you may stop breathing.

Taking a breath will allow some space for conscious action instead of unconscious action from habit.

2. The "Blame" Trap. How easy it is to blame the other person for something you see as a problem!

And if we don't blame the other person, we blame ourselves--and continue to blame ourselves.

The Blame Trap is sneaky because, again, we can fall into it easily, automatically and without conscious thought.

We easily fall into it because it's usually such an old pattern inside us that we don't even know we've fallen into it even after we have.

An example of the Blame Trap is when you find yourself saying "you never..." or "you always..."

Instead of "you never" or "you always," you might use a phrase like "I'm wondering if you'd be willing to talk about_____?"-- even after you've caught yourself in the blame trap.

3. The "Taking Your Partner for Granted" Trap. This trap is an easy one to fall into after you've been together for awhile.

It's sneaky and hidden because many of us slide right into it without thinking.

It's easy to say things to your partner that you would never say to anyone else because the other person would be "hurt" and maybe take it wrong--and your partner supposedly wouldn't.

Yeah, right!

Somehow, there's a rationalization that after you've committed to one another, you can speak to each other any way you want or ignore what your partner does that's "right" in favor of pointing out what's wrong.

When you fall into this trap--and it becomes a habit--your connection, love and respect for one another starts to erode.

If you've seen yourself fall into this trap, make a conscious effort to turn it around and act in ways that build your relationship instead of tearing it down.

The point is to see where and how you fall into any of these traps, as well as when the situation shows up.

Then take a deep breath to stop you from automatically reacting in old ways.

Give yourself the space to make another, more empowering choice.

You can learn to avoid these hidden relationship traps.

If you want more love in your life and relationships, this week, we invite you to experiment with some of these ideas.

Our best,

©2010, Susie & Otto Collins

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Susie and Otto Collins are spiritual and life partners who are committed to helping others create outstanding relationships of all kinds. They regularly write, speak and conduct workshops and seminars on love, relationships and personal and spiritual growth to audiences all across the USA. They are the creators of the "Relationship Toolkit" which has helped people in over a dozen countries improve their relationships. It includes a video called Spiritual Partnerships plus two booklets Love and Relationship Success Secrets and 101 Relationship Quotes Worth a Million Dollars! You can also read more articles like these and subscribe to their weekly newsletter on love and relationships by visiting their web site at Their new E-book Should You Stay or Should You Go? has just been released and is now available See Archives 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003, 2002 and 2001. Other Relationship Issues, Books

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