Are you ready to learn the 29 reasons why relationships fail?
Have you ever wondered why some relationships work wonderfully well and in which the two lovers possess a strong chemistry for each other, whereas some relationships are strained, destructive and end up in divorce?
I have, which led me to study the world’s happiest couples to learn from them, as well as use my own experience in order to make a list of the reasons why relationships often fail.
What surprised me the most was that none of the reason I’ve found during my research are groundbreaking or hard-to-implement. In fact, it’s nothing extraordinary. Yet, it seems that so many people struggle with this.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m in no way saying that building a successful relationship is easy and requires no work at all. In fact, I believe the opposite is true: just like any form of life, if the relationship is not growing, it’s dying.
Unfortunately, a great deal of people tend to think that once they’re in the relationship, the work is over and that they can delight in spending the rest of their life without any effort on their part.
Don’t make this false start. The very moment the relationship starts marks the beginning of it. It will require both parties to nurture their relationship to allow it to sprout.
In this article, I will give you the top-29 reasons why relationships tend to fail.
1 – Lack Of Communication
As much as I would like to believe in it, there is no such thing as telepathy between lovers (but that would be cool!). Just because you love someone to death doesn’t mean that you can read their mind.
For this reason, communication is of utmost importance: how can you expect to meet the needs of your partner if you don’t know them? The short answer is: you can’t!
Of course, over time, you will learn how to treat them and respond to them the way they want… but only after they tell you that you’ll be able to do that. A common misconception is to believe that communication is about saying: ”Hey, I love you.” You might as well ask them to give you the zapper that it would have the same effect on this aspect of the relationship.
(Expressing your love is not bad at all, but in this case it’s not what we’re looking for.)
What is the proper way to communicate, then? I strongly believe in the power of asking questions.
For instance, asking for your partner’s opinion when trying to make a decision would be a great start. You could also ask them questions about their cores values and whatnot (which we actually should do before we enter a relationship, not after which is a point I talk about below.)
It’s basically a way to learn who they really are. That way, you’ll be able to take your partner’s opinions and feelings into consideration each time you’ll do something.
2 – Love Language Barrier
”The 5 Love Languages” is a book written by Gary Chapman which introduces the concept of the same name: namely, the different types of languages when it comes to love. In his book, he goes through perticularily 5 of them:
- 1) Words Of Affirmations
This is all about expressing love through words. For instance, praising your partner, complementing them or just saying ”I love you” would fall under this category.
- 2) Physical Touch
Another way to express your love is to physically touch your partner: it doesn’t necessarily mean sexually, everything that creates physical contact between you and your lover would fall under this category.
- 3) Quality Time
Spending uninterrupted, quality time with your lover is another way of showing your love! Being present, not only physically but also emotionally with your partner is a way of showing love too.
- 4) Acts Of Service
Sometimes, it might be ”Acts Of Service”, which consists of helping your partner carrying out certain tasks. For example, preparing dinner or cleaning the house would fall into this category.
- 5) Gifts
Some people love gifts: this might be your thing! As it self-suggests, it’s all about making gifts to your partner. More than the gift itself, it’s the act that is often viewed as more important to people who loves them.
Although all 5 might be great, we usually all have one or two predominent forms of love we’d like to give AND receive. This is where a lot of us tend to make a mistake: we naturally want to give what we’d like to receive.
For instance, let’s say that I value words the most and crave for my partner to tell me some all the time. A common mistake would be to (unconsciously) assume that my partner would like the same thing.
However, is that really true? In most cases, no. What if your partner treasures gifts the most? What do you think is going to happen?
This is another example why communication is the most important thing in a relationship: ask them how they would like to be treated! Otherwise, you’ll likely end-up demonstrating one of the reasons why relationships fail.. 😉
3 – Different Values
Sharing the same values is one of the core aspects of a relationship. Think about it: how conflicts usually arise? The answer is: when different belief/value systems clashes.
The thing is, a value system is way more powerful than your opinion on the lastest Avengers movie (great by the way!).
Do you think your relationship could overcome a debate over if the movie was good or not?
Sure, but do you think your relationship could overcome a fight over whether you should be a honest or dishonest citizen? Very unlikely, especially if you both feel strong about it.
We all have different values, and that’s ok: you don’t need to value the same things than me, and I don’t need to share your values as well. However, if you want to start a family with someone you’ll spend the rest of your life with, you’d better pick this person carefully!
4 – Lack Of Commitment
Why do couples break up? Well, If one of the two person is not ready to be in a relationship, I can guarantee you they’re going to make it fail. Nobody is ever truly ”ready” to engage in something, but entering in a relationship with someone who simply do not want or do not have the time to nurture the relationship is suicidal.
How can you expect to make the relationship – which is about two people – grow if you’re all alone? You can’t.
Some people suffered some much in previous relationships that they might also unconsciously sabotage the new one.
5 – Selfishness
Among reasons why relationships fail is that most people are often self-centered and selfish.
They are not in a relationship to give, but to take. Selfish people will always try to get something without ever trying to give something.
I believe that a relationship should not be a place to blame your partner that ‘you’re doing more things to grow the relationship than them’, however entering in a relationship with egoitistic people is easily one of the top reasons why most relationships fail and end up in divorce.
There are primarily 3 stages that a couple could be in in a relationship:
1) Selfish love
Selfish love is when someone is more demanding than giving: they don’t care about how you may feel, all they want is for you to meet their needs. It’s also called ”Baby love”, as that’s how babies are: demanding and require constant attention.
2) Trade love
This is the most common form of love: in exchange of your expression of love, you expect your lover to give back. It’s similar to trading in the sense that you give and receive. The problem is that it’s not true and deep love. It’s just a contract or a sale.
3) Unconditional love
The highest, most important form of love: this happens when you love someone no matter what, regardless of what they do. In other words, you don’t expect anything from them and you just love them.
Unconditional love is very common regarding parent/child relationships, but rather unusual when it comes to romantic love. Parents will (almost) never withdraw the love they feel for their child, but almost always do it in intimate relationships. Essentially, they put conditions on their love: if you do or don’t do this, I stop loving you.
6 – Lack Of Gratitude
As anything in life, the law of familiarity will always kick in after the feeling of newness and excitement has faded. This is where you must persevere and not commit that mistake: do not take the relationship for granted!
We probably all know somebody, whether it be a friend or a family member that divorced because the relationship wasn’t going anywhere anymore. Although there once were a time where this pair of lovers was excited to see each other, eventually they became used to each other’s presence and ended up in that terrible situation.
It doesn’t have to be that way: being grateful is the best thing that happened in my life as it taught me to appreciate everything that I have, and that I could lose tomorrow what I have today.
7 – Victim
Have you ever been around, or in a relationship with a victim?
A victim is somebody who always blame someone else: by doing so, they feel better about themselves as they do not have to face the harsh truth: they are responsible.
The problem with not taking charge of what happens in your life is that it will eventually affects the relationship as well: if your partner needs to work on themselves to improve the relationship but are not willing to admit they need to improve, how is the relationship supposed to grow?
8 – Being Unhappy
Another common reason why some relationships fail is that one party or both enter the relationship living in a constant state of negativity. How could you possibly positively influence your relationship by complaining and be unhappy with your life all the time?
It would also be a mistake to believe that putting some balance in a relationship – one positive person with one negative person – would solve the problem. The only effect it will have is to drag the positive person down.
9 – Lack Of Passion In The Relationship
The law of familiarity kicks in again! This time, it’s to create a routine – or boredom – in the relationship. As much as some people love each other, sometimes boredom kills couples.
Sometimes, boredom leads some people to cheat on their partner. Every couples should have some rituals to spice things up!
As much as we love and depend on certainty in our live for survival, we also need some uncertainty to make life more interesting! What’s become predictable also has become boring.
10 – Lack Of Growth In The Relationship
There is no ‘neutral state’. If your relationship is not growing, it’s dying. People usually don’t have a clear vision for their relationship: what do they want to accomplish? How are they going to accomplish it? What is the actual step-by-step plan? Unless you have a clear future for your relationship, it’s fragile and can be easily influenced and shaped.
11 – Not Meeting Your Partner’s Needs
Out of all reasons why relationships fail, this might be one of the most important. As human beings, we all have different needs that we would like to fill and different ways of meeting them. However, there are only 6 of them. This is a concept that I originally learned from Tony Robbins, which states that the 6 needs are:
- 1) Certainty
How certain do you feel in your relationship? Are you really sure your relationship is going to thrive or is it going to die out?
We are all looking for certainty at some level in a love relationship. It’s about how much certainty you can give your partner than this is the right choice.
- 2) Variety
Lack of variety is often the cause that leads to boredom and then eventually the break up of the relationship. It’s in a way the opposite of ”certainty”: how uncertain do you feel in your relationship? It is also important not to know everything as it creates variety (surprise).
Of course, there needs to be a balance between the two: you want your partner to feel certain, but still keep a little touch of uncertainty to surprise them.
- 3) Significance
Significance is the desire to feel special, important. This is a very strong human need for some people, but it is even more critical in a relationship: how much significance do you give your partner? Are you talking to them the same way you would talk to your grocery store vendor, or are you talking to them in a way that makes them feel special?
- 4) Love And Connection
How much love do you give to your partner? Is there abudant and powerful love flowing in your relationship? How do you connect as a couple on a regular basis?
- 5) Growth
Again, if the relationship is not growing, it is dying. What are you doing to improve and move forward in your relationship?
- 6) Contribution
What are you giving to your partner? Well, hopefully you’re filling all 6 of these needs!
Contribution is, I believe, at the heart of a relationship: it’s not about taking something from them, but giving.
I consider this short list of 6 needs to be the shortest ultimate guide on how to make a relationship work I could ever make. We all have these 6 needs, but don’t value them at the same level.
Some people love to be looked upon – significance -, while others love to give heartedly. It doesn’t matter what their primary needs are, needs must be met at the highest level by their partner for a relationship to thrive! Of course, it works both ways: they should meet each other’s needs.
Ultimately, meeting your partner’s needs at high levels will make them your love slave. After all, why would one of them leave the relationship if all their needs are taken care of?
12 – Being A Taker In The Relationship
Being a taker never helped anyone in life, and relationships makes no exception. The fact of the matter is that a lot of people enter a relationship with the intent to take, and not to give. They want to fill their own needs without ever trying to meet their parter’s needs.
How can a relationship work effectively that way? It can’t! This is also a common reason why most relationships fail and end up in divorce.
Takers repulse people ; we love givers!
13 – No Intimacy
Spiritual love and passion are very important factors when it comes to making a relationship thrive. However, intimacy is as important as those.
What is the one word that you would use to describe the difference between a friendship and a love relationship? Intimacy.
Oftentimes, by lacking intimacy it sends the message that the relationship is nothing more than a pseudo-friendship and is not what it used to be.
14 – No Polarity In The Couple
In ”The Way Of The Superior Man”, David Deida introduces the concept of sexual polarity which is determined by two forms of energy: masculine and feminine energy. Masculine energy is defined by the drive to pursue your vision whereas feminine energy is defined by the search for love.
Being a man doesn’t necessarily give you a masculine energy, as well as being a woman doesn’t necessarily give you feminine energy. In fact, have you ever seen ”manly” woman and ”womanly” man? It’s because they had a different energy that we would expect them to have.
What’s important when it comes to polarity is that to feel attracted to each other, both parties MUST be opposites.
A feminine man should go with a masculine woman, and a masculine man should go with a feminine woman. Your energy might change throughout the day depending on what activity you’re doing (working out will unleash your masculine energy no matter what), while watching a romantic movie might reveal your feminine side, but we tend to have one more predominent side that we live in on a regular basis.
The tricky part is that you should be opposed at all times to feel any kind of sexual attraction. If your partner is more in their masculine energy, you should switch to your feminine side (or ask them to change their energy too if they’re familiar with this concept.) otherwise there will be no attraction, and you’ll be nothing more than friends.
This is a fascinating book that I highly suggest that your read.
15 – Grow Apart From Each Other
People either move in the same direction or they don’t. There is no in-between: sometimes one of the two simply outgrows the other. When you grow as a human being, you tend to change your values and simply the way your operate which inevitably leads to making different kinds of decisions. When the two parties have totally different opinions and way of operating, it simply doesn’t work anymore.
Don’t get me wrong: you wouldn’t be attracted to your partner if there weren’t differences. However, these differences shouldn’t be as apparent and big as to make the lovers go in different directions!
16 – Lack Of Trust
Are you positive that your partner will follow through on what they said? Do you trust your partner that they will never cheat on you?
There is often a disconnect regarding trust in relationships: a lot of people have been hurt in the past and so don’t trust that easily anymore. A lack of trust will always lead to a breakup unless the problem is severed at the root.
Again, communication is key! Lovers should sit down and discuss how they feel.
17 – Different Visions For The Relationship
As previously said, some partners outgrow each other. When that happens, their vision might change as well: they might have decided to travel the world, or to create a family. When that happens, there is a huge disconnect that can quickly lead to one of the reasons why relationships fail.
Did you also know that there are people who goes into a relationship with totally different visions from the very beginning?
Falling in love with someone who don’t intend on being in a relationship might not be the best idea. So is it if they have different plans than you in life.
18 – Misinterpret Partner’s Intent
A reason why some relationships fail might be as stupid as misinterpreting your partner’s words or behaviors. We all see the world through a different pair of eyes, and so it happens to feel hurt by someone although they never had any intention of hurting your feelings.
In these cases, I love to ask myself this one question: ”Is the intent good or bad?” In a relationship, chances are the answer will most often than not be ”good”.
Questioning the intent of someone you love is the best, easiest and fastest way to destroy the relationship you have with them! You can question their behavior all day long, but if you question their intent, you’re doomed!
19 – Lack Of Presence In The Couple
Sitting on the couch with your partner watching TV is not presence at all. In fact, living with someone doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll spend quality time together.
There is a huge difference between being physically present, and emotionnally present. Lack of presence is also a huge factor in why some relationships end up divorcing: without love or passion, it’s nothing more than a house share.
20 – Want To Be Right
Sometimes you can either be right or happy, but not both. Another reason why relationships fail is that some prioritize their ego over love.
A stronger need that we all share is that of being accepeted, recognized, significant.. which sometimes lead people to want to do anything to prove that they’re right: but at what cost?
Oftentimes, proving that you’re right is not the best option, and unfortunately a lot of people fall into that trap and end up breaking up.
21 – Focus On Problems
Most people tend to focus on problems instead of solutions. When their mind is concentrated on what’s wrong in the relationship, they often forget to look for a solution.
Interestingly, men and women have two different ways of working out a solution. Men are all about focusing on how to solve the problems whereas women are all about expressing themselves. There is no right or wrong – but it surely affects how you should deal with a problem!
22 – Lack Of Consideration
Although the level of significance one need might depend on the individual, we all have this urge to be special. It’s even more important in a relationship: couples who don’t make each other feel special usually have trouble communicating.
23 – Violence
Obviously, relationships should be a place to find love and harmony, not to feel and endure pain. If one must resort to violence, then something (or someone) is wrong in the relationship.
24 – Insults
Just like violence, insults are not the proper way of communicating. A healthy relationship cannot work with such parameters.
25 – One-Sided Decisions
A relationship holds true only if there are two people involved. When one person tends to snatch the commands and make all the decisions based on their own will, the relationship will always be at risk. A relationship should always be equal.
26 – Lack Of Self-Esteem
A ton of problems could arise just from a lack of self-esteem. It is especially true when both partners are concerned with this. Sometimes, our lower-selves make us do and say things that we don’t really mean.
Understand that the kind of person your partner may seem to be is not necessarily how they truly are. Have you ever done or said something that, later on, thought was completely stupid?
It goes to show that people are not their behavior: sometimes, factors such as stress and anxiety might make us want to do things that aren’t truly ourselves.
27 – Use The Relationship As A Tool
Some people just use relationship as a way to feel better: in short, they’re taking from the relationship. That’s why it’s important to ask questions at the beginning of a relationship to get to know your potential lover better.
When did they end their previous relationship? Why did it end? What did they learn from this experience? All of those questions can help you get clearer on that.
28 – Not Being Considerate Towards The Lover
Being too blunt can hurt, which is why some relationships come to an end. Ask your partner how they want you to treat them: it shouldn’t be you to decide it. Understanding is a key element for a long-lasting relationship.
29 – Not Knowing Your Partner
It happens that some people live together but don’t know each other very well: sense of values, vision, etc..
Not knowing your lover can quickly step foot into the reasons why some relationships might fail: how can you behave and allow the relationship to grow if you don’t even know your partner? It blows me away how some people are complete stranger to each other.
These were the 29 reasons why most relationships fail. There is no particular order and I consider all the reasons to be equally important. Making a relationship work is far from easy but is not as complicated as some people try to make it look like.
Learning the basics of personnal growth will allow you to create a healthy relationship much easier.