Failed relationships are one of life’s major stressors, whether it is in friendship, marriage, family, or business partnerships. It is the source of a great deal of unhappiness.
The ability to maintain lasting relationships is the cornerstone of being happy. This article looks at the top ten reasons why once harmonious relationships fail to thrive.
If we know why relationships break down then we can identify the area that is causing strife in our current relationship(s) and make the necessary changes and/or get the appropriate help to prevent the relationship from failing.
Conflict and stress are components in most relationships. Understanding the reasons behind the conflict can help you mitigate current stress and prevent future altercations.
Many people believe that marital and love relationships fall apart because of issues with money or sex. While it is true that many couples have the most arguments about money or sex, it is the factors behind those arguments that cause the relationship to fail.
Let’s take money for example. You may think couples argue over money, or the lack of it, until it breaks up their relationship.
However, money is a concept; it is a person’s behavior that causes the conflict. It is a partner’s spending habits, failure to manage finances or excessive frugality that causes the antagonism within the relationship.
Those behaviors are rooted in one of the common problems listed below (such as imbalance of power/control issues, selfishness, unrealistic expectations, or etc).
The same is true regarding conflicts about sex. It is not sex itself but the reasons behind the actions that cause failed relationships. Most of the arguments come from issues outside of the bedroom that end up being played out in the bedroom.
The conflicts that arise due to lack of sex, pornography or extramarital affairs are reflections of the problems listed below (such as resentment due to lack of trust, control issues, poor communication, or unrealistic expectations, etc).
Not all relationships should be considered failures just because they ended or they didn’t last long enough to hit certain yearly marks.
Some endings or break ups may serve as a positive change for one of the partners, especially if there is abuse or other significant negative factors in the relationship.
Knowing the risks and understanding the common problems that can destroy a relationship, puts you in the driver’s seat on the road toward a healthy, lasting relationship.
Some people would say that a lack of trust is the biggest issue a couple could face. John Gottman, prolific author and scientist, states that when trust dies, relationships fail.
If we are unable to trust our partner, then at times when we are unsure of their motives or behaviors we assume the worst, further eroding that trust.
Deliberate violations of trust such as lying, cheating or consistently failing to keep promises often result in failed relationships.
If one of the partners repeatedly breaks the trust of the other, the problems accumulate and the relationship is doomed. A lack of trust may also be manifested as excessive jealousy.
Jealousy is often cited as a frequent cause of failed romantic relationships.
All relationships need communication, whether they are romantic, platonic or work based. You need to be able to tell each other what you are thinking, how you are feeling or what you expect or the other person will inevitably disappoint you.
Open communication, no matter how difficult it may be at times, assures that you are aware of each others wants and needs. Ineffective communication is a very common cause for break ups and for break downs in relationships.
Both partners need to be able to share their thoughts, feelings, opinions, needs, frustrations and joys with each other. Relationship failures occur when the lines of communication break down and couples no longer verbally interact or misunderstand the interactions, leading to hurt feelings, anger and potentially divorce.
Usually the failure to communicate effectively is due to both people in the relationship, it is not one sided. Both the listening and the speaking aspects are important.
Respect for your partner is the “minimum requirement” when it comes to making a relationship work. A lack of respect for your partner can lead to a host of problems such as poor communication, infidelity, insecurity and constant negativity.
4. Imbalance of Power/Control Issues
Another common reason for relationship failure is when one person dominates in the relationship, either having more decision-making power and/or if they try to control or manipulate the other.
The relationship can become weak or unstable if one person habitually makes all the decisions about activities, money, household matters, holidays and even friends.
A healthy relationship has a sense of equality where both people feel like equal partners and both value the freedom of others. Control issues can be seen in behaviors such as frequently checking up on their partner, threatening the partner, name-calling, requiring the partner to check in constantly, or not allowing any deviations from the partner’s schedule.
Unwillingness to compromise might also be seen in this problem category. The dominating partner seems to need to be right all the time or is certain their opinion is always the correct one. They may need help in adapting to another point of view.
Successful relationships require tolerance of each others faults or weaknesses. Everybody has faults; if we continually harp on the partner’s weaknesses we create permanent friction.
Unfortunately, it seems to be human nature to be drawn to another’s faults, but it is detrimental to relationships to do this. Constant criticism will cause long term problems.
6. Unrealistic expectations
Relationships take time and effort to succeed. “And they lived happily ever after” is a myth; there is no perfect Prince Charming or perfect princess.
Couples need to have realistic expectations of each other as well as toward their relationship. There will be unhappy times; there will be conflict and stress.
Mistaken gender stereotypes create false expectations and are harmful to relationships.
Being “too needy” is a definite relationship killer; requiring attention or assistance 24-7 is a sign of insecurity not love. A healthy relationship gives both partners room to breathe or the relationship will feel claustrophobic.
People who are introverted, in particular, need time to themselves.
Strong relationships require a certain amount of detachment; they should be able to survive periods of separation.
When we are selfish, we ignore the needs of our partner, think of ourselves first and are egocentric.
Egocentricity is a drain on any relationship. A relationship takes two and they both have to engage in the give and take process.
9. Not Making Time
Where and how you spend your time shows your priorities. If you are always at work or spend all your free time on a hobby, your partner will get the message that he or she is not important.
Make time for your partner and for the relationship or you will lose both.
10. Low Self Esteem and Insecurity
Low self esteem, insecurity or a lack of self confidence is commonly rooted in one partner’s feeling of being unworthy of love.
Feelings of insecurity or low self esteem can lead to several of the problems noted above such as possessiveness, overdependence, jealousy, lack of trust or poor communication.
It can also be seen in a partner who is extremely defensive, always making excuses and unable to handle constructive criticism.