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Why Do Relationships Fail and How to Improve Them




By Margarita Nahapetyan

One of the biggest causes of stress and unhappiness in life are failed relationships. Making a relationship work is one of the most important life skills a person can learn. If individuals cannot maintain lasting relationships, they, without any doubt, will always find it hard to be happy.

So what are the common reasons why once harmonious and happy relationships break down? There are several clear cut ways to figure out if your relationship is thriving or headed for misery. The sooner partners realize them and work on them, the better are their chances to get their relationship back on track and recreate the love and devotion they had at some point.

The vast majority of romantic relationships begin with positive, intriguing, and loving interactions. However, as the time goes by, every relationship will start facing unexpected complications that result in negative interactions. And if a couple does not try to talk out and solve the issues right at the start, they will eventually start silently suffering from those buried, unresolved problems and begin the process of withdrawing energy and hope from the relationship.

At the very start of a relationship, most people will feel treasured by their partners, praised for their good qualities and readily forgiven for some of their faults. Even those areas that are not quite compatible can be almost ignored. Over the time, those not-given-so-much-attention negative interactions may have changed the percentages of good connections to bad ones. And as a result people start experiencing more difficulty both erasing them and also holding on to the positives they once took for granted.

The positive parts of the relationship may still be present, but the damage is being gradually done and partners can feel each other's lowered frustration and tolerance and increased readiness to express anger and irritation. Emotional scars start building up and the ability of a relationship to create new options begins to decrease more and more. If you will not be able to work on your negative patterns and grow beyond your current limitations, your relationship will eventually show signs of decay, such as loss of hope, more conflict, and decreased intimacy.

The imbalance of negative interactions to positive ones can be reversed if both partners are willing to do the following. First, both have to recognize the direction the relationship is heading to without blaming each other for their faults. At this time it is critical not to judge, but to talk out the problems with each without becoming defensive. Partners must stop their destructive behaviors before moving to the next step. Second, it is very important to start concentrating on behaviors and moments that still cause positive emotions between you, and share those moments. For example, it will be very good to remind each other of good old memories, to mention each other's good qualities and praise them, and do it all on a regular basis until your love feels stronger again. Third, try to find new ways that will go beyond your current relationship's limitations by creating more joyful times together, re-prioritizing your obligations and commitments, and try to avoid by all means any stress factors that have brought you both to this point.

At the start of a romantic relationship many individuals do not discuss some delicate moments from their past and their non-negotiable bottom lines with each other. They either trust that their intimate partner has the same values and moral views, or believe that they would never hurt them by doing something inappropriate or unacceptable. Later, as a relationship develops, grows and matures, they could reveal some new things about each other that might have changed their initial perceptions. Some of those revelations can be quite a surprise that deepened one's trust and love, however others may have signaled a problem, like past behaviors that a current relationship could not sustain.

As people grow to know what their other significant halves do not like or appreciate, they might not be willing to share some potentially relationship-destroying thoughts, fearing unnecessary fight, conflict, a loss of intimacy or painful criticism if such thought had been shared. Partners who cannot share and talk out their secret thoughts or behaviors are at a high risk of losing their intimacy. The bond between them becomes weaker and weaker, and they are more likely to act without realizing the final outcome.

So what can be done to save the potentially hazardous situation? If one of the partners has any thoughts or desires that another one could not tolerate or live with, it is better to reevaluate whether to continue living together, and for sure it is critical to talk to each other about what makes you uncomfortable before doing anything that might make the situation even worse.

If you have already started to act in a way that might embarrass or threaten your other half, it is very important to talk to him/her as soon as possible and together decide what to do further on. Both partners need to confirm one more time what their mutual deal breakers are, and whether or not both want to accept and live with such restrictions. It is good to reevaluate whether a couple can still fulfill each other's needs, and commit one more time to future honesty before more secrets and hidden thoughts come to the surface. In case the trust has already been broken in a relationship, it might be almost impossible to work the things out on your own. In such case, if partners still have feelings for each other and do not want to separate, they can seek help from a competent professional.

Many couples continue to live together ignoring signs that the relationship is gradually going downhill. Not paying attention to small problems, they continue to live as if everything is just fine. However, after a series of disappointments, or just one painful, trust-breaking issue, they either cannot forgive each other or cannot find the strength to deal with the problem. Thousands of couples who ended their relationship regret their decision for many years, in particular when they might have had a chance to work things out. People blame themselves for not fighting for their relationship and regret the things that they could have done differently had they known they were in a real trouble. Most relationships that started with pure love and common wonderful dreams for future come to an end with those dreams still unfulfilled, but hidden under layers of unresolved heartbreaks. Had those disconnects been understood and taken into consideration earlier, the once-loving and devoted partners could keep their relationship alive.

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