For a romance to stand the test of time, you need to be committed and willing to work at it. And while there are many natural reasons why relationships dont work out timing, diverging growth trajectories, differing values, and so on there are three avoidable reasons that will cause any relationship to fail: non-acceptance, lack of trust, and poor communication.
And while you enjoyed your partners lazy Sundays and constant supply of Reeses peanut butter cups at the beginning of your relationship, you now feel frustrated every time he grabs a cookie and declines your offer to go to a yoga class. But as your partner still finds a way to stock the house with pints of Ben & Jerrys Chubby Hubby ice cream for his mid-day snack, you might make snarky comments about how his body is starting to feel a little different. You dont see this as a problem because you feel that youre helping him live a healthier life.
So instead of letting your frustration about your partners habits or beliefs lead to a noble pursuit to change them, first accept them and then decide what that means for your relationship. Hey man, I just wanted to let you know that your girl is an awesome kisser. When she got back, she told me that she was leaving me for a great guy from Tennessee. My lack of trust manifested in various ways not being vulnerable, overreacting to girlfriends talking with other guys, and leaving relationships before I got hurt.
In failing to trust my partners, I unconsciously sabotaged many of my young adult romantic relationships. While I didnt realize I had this problem at the time, I now understand how the scar tissue from my 8th-grade romance hindered my ability to build enduring relationships. And while you may be able to move past the strange ways in which a lack of trust manifests in the short-term, in the long-run, it will kill your relationship.
For instance, you might respond to your frustration by being short, starting arguments over small issues, or by mirroring her lack of presence. But if instead, you learn to communicate your emotions and beliefs calmly and honestly from a place of genuine understanding, youll be able to handle the challenge more smoothly. Instead of lashing out at your partner, you might tell her that you feel that due to her focus on the project at work (which you fully support), she is not meeting your needs.
Why do I fail at all my relationships?
And while there are many natural reasons why relationships don’t work out – timing, diverging growth trajectories, differing values, and so on – there are three avoidable reasons that will cause any relationship to fail: non-acceptance, lack of trust, and poor communication.
Why is it hard for me to keep a relationship?
“Romantic relationships can be difficult to maintain because they possess more intimacy than any other relationship,” says life coach Kali Rogers. “The amount of closeness — emotional, physical, spiritual, and even mental — that is in a relationship is overwhelming to handle at times.”
What causes most relationships ending?
Common causes for breakups include personality differences, lack of time spent together, infidelity, lack of positive interactions between the couple, low sexual satisfaction, and low overall relationship satisfaction. Ending a relationship is one of the most difficult things we have to do.
At what point do most relationships fail?
New research shows that relationships are actually more vulnerable to demise far sooner than the dreaded seven year itch. The most common time for a couple to split is right around the two year mark.
Most of us want to meet and settle down with the right person, and most of us want such a relationship to last. At the same time, the majority of romantic partnerships end in dissolution. What are some of the major causes? Below are ten reasons why relationships fail, excerpted from my books (click on titles): 7 Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success and How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People.
Without trust, a relationship misses two of the key anchors to a strong bond: safety and security. Consider honestly whether the lack of trust is based on tangible substance or unjustified fears
The elements that frequently draw two people toward one-another at the beginning of a relationship physical attraction , sexual passion, common interests, personality connections, socio-economic backgrounds often become less central as the realities and demands of day to day life sets in. Overtime, a couples expectations in the relationship may differentiate, as they begin to see their respective life plans as what I want, instead of what we want. When one partner is learning and growing at a rapid pace, while the other is stagnating, this may be a source of relational divergence.
One example of this would be a partner advancing quickly in her career and society, while her significant other is stagnating at home. Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington, a foremost expert on couples studies, concluded after over twenty years of research that the single, best predictor of divorce is when one or both partners show contempt in the relationship. Contempt, the opposite of respect, is often expressed via negative judgment, criticism, or sarcasm regarding the worth of an individual.
Contemptuous communication works like poison – it destroys the health and well-being of a romantic relationship. Signs of narcissism may include (and are not limited to) superiority complex, grandiose self-image , entitlement, conceit, boundary violations, false charm, the Don Juan syndrome, manipulation, irresponsibility, rule breaking, extreme selfishness, negative emotions, and contempt towards others. Life habit abuses are traits which, although may or may not directly involve the partner (such as a secret gambling addiction ), may ultimately affect the relationship in a destructive way.
If you are in a long-term relationship, it is possible that life obligations (such as school, work, and especially child-rearing) got in the way of couple connectedness and mutual evolvement. A classic example is the empty nest syndrome, where after all the children have grown and left home, the parents suddenly feel like strangers to one-another, having not focused on each another for so many years. The longer a couple has been together in a committed relationship, the greater the possibility of financial incompatibility.
Maybe in the past you brushed it off as a bad spell or put it down to the fact that you keep choosing the wrong partners. But as time goes on, and you keep falling into the same trap it gets harder to pass off these relationships as simply bad luck. Perhaps youve started to realise that the common dominator in all of this might actually be you.
If talking about your feelings is something you try to avoid at all costs, therapy is a good place to start accessing your emotions and working with them. So when that lovely, stable partner does come around you might end up subconsciously sabotaging it by picking arguments or causing drama.
Whilst theres nothing wrong with the odd disagreement, if this becomes your default way of communicating alarm bells should start ringing. Emotional abuse, for instance, might not appear as anything to an outsider but these kinds of wounds run deep and frequently carry through into adult life. At one extreme, a person might end up subconsciously keeping the cycle alive, entering into a string of abusive relationships.
If you suffered abuse growing up whether that was physical, sexual or emotional its really important to acknowledge what happened to you and also to seek the right support. If youre constantly cutting people out of your life because you think they dont live up to your standards, you might also want to check that youre not subconsciously putting up barriers. Take a moment to check-in and make sure youre not cutting chords as a means of distraction or chasing an unachievable idea of perfection.
If youre struggling with depression or anxiety , the waves of emotion you experience are challenging enough to move through by yourself let alone having to explain them to a partner. You can idolise your partner but this can just as easily switch to hate when things go wrong or if you sense impending rejection. Understanding that although our coping mechanisms might have protected us when we were young, they are hindering us now and that it is time to decide new, healthier ways of relating.
Lack of trust
It’s inevitable that your romantic partner will have traits that irritate you or beliefs with which you disagree. Does that mean that you should leave your partner in pursuit of the “perfect” match? No! Having differences with your partner is unavoidable, and if you want your relationship to endure, what matters is how you understand and relate to these differences.For example, imagine that you believe in healthy eating, moderation, and regular exercise. After you move in with your partner, you realize that he has a penchant for tasty desserts and avoids exercise like the plague. And while you enjoyed your partner’s lazy Sundays and constant supply of Reese’s peanut butter cups at the beginning of your relationship, you now feel frustrated every time he grabs a cookie and declines your offer to go to a yoga class.Over time, you and your partner’s differing beliefs about health may frustrate you, and as your frustration grows, you might try to change your partner. You might start with always “forgetting” to grab ice cream when you buy groceries. But as your partner still finds a way to stock the house with pints of Ben & Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream for his mid-day snack, you might make snarky comments about how his body is starting to feel a little “different.” You don’t see this as a problem because you feel that you’re helping him live a healthier life.But naturally, this will make your partner angry. Your non-acceptance of his habits and passive-aggressive attempts to change him will fuel a deeply felt resentment. Over time, the mutual frustration and resentment might lead to relationship-ending arguments.The problem in this situation is not your partner; it’s you. While you might believe that your attempts to change your partner’s eating and exercise habits comes from a place of love and trying to help him live a healthier life, in reality, you’re not accepting your partner and projecting your values about health onto him.If you want the relationship to last, you need to change your approach. You need to start from a place of genuine acceptance. Because when you accept your partner, you seek to understand, not judge him. And when you come from a place of understanding, you listen more and can begin to understand why his values and practices might diverge from yours.You might uncover that his eating and exercise habits stem from his childhood. Perhaps he had an anorexic brother who’s obsession with health and appearances led to years of anxiety and depression, and because of this experience, he fears the way in which an obsessive focus on health can reduce a person’s quality of life.In understanding this, you might have a new perspective on your partner. He’s no longer a lazy, ice cream-obsessed man who doesn’t care about his health. Instead, he’s a person who had a negative experience that influences his beliefs and actions. From this place of understanding, you might be able to have more productive conversations about the issue.When you don’t accept your partner, disaster follows. Because when you don’t accept someone, they will not trust or feel comfortable with you. They will feel attacked and resentful about your non-acceptance.So instead of letting your frustration about your partner’s habits or beliefs lead to a “noble” pursuit to change them, first accept them and then decide what that means for your relationship. If health is one of your most important values and your partner does not value health in the same way, then you might decide that it’s time to move on and find someone who shares your beliefs about health.
If you enjoyed this article…
While the first few months or years of a relationship may go smoothly, you will inevitably run into challenges along the road. And to successfully navigate and endure these challenges, you need to be able to communicate well with your partner.For example, imagine that your partner has the opportunity to lead a project that will transform her career. If you care about your partner and her career ambitions, you will share her excitement about this opportunity.But as the project progresses, perhaps you notice that she is spending significantly more time at work. She might be unusually stressed or unable to be present with you. Naturally, this change in your partner might frustrate you. You’ll start to wonder if she cares about work more than you and your relationship. When problems like this come up, your ability to maintain a healthy relationship relies on your ability to communicate your emotions, beliefs, and needs.If you’re unable to communicate your frustration to your partner productively, you might start doing things that will escalate the problem. For instance, you might respond to your frustration by being short, starting arguments over small issues, or by mirroring her lack of presence. If you do this, the problems will compound, and your partner may not feel that you support her pursuit to succeed in her career.But if instead, you learn to communicate your emotions and beliefs calmly and honestly from a place of genuine understanding, you’ll be able to handle the challenge more smoothly. Instead of lashing out at your partner, you might tell her that you feel that due to her focus on the project at work (which you fully support), she is not meeting your needs. You think that the fun spirit and presence that she used to bring to your dates is no longer there.In openly discussing how her focus on work and lack of presence is affecting you without assuming that is a direct affront to you or the relationship, you will open up a communication channel that will allow you to find a productive path forward.The solution might be a date night once a week where you don’t bring your phones and don’t discuss work. It might be helping your partner better navigate the unreasonable demands of her boss. In any case, you won’t get to a mutually beneficial solution until you learn to communicate from a place of understanding, compassion, and belief in the relationship.Non-acceptance, lack of trust, and poor communication will kill any relationship. The good news is that you can avoid these common killers of relationships by identifying them when they come up, looking within, and committing to doing the hard work required to make your relationship last.