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3 Reasons Why Relationships Fail & How To Fix It
Couples Relationships

3 Reasons Why Relationships Fail & How To Fix It

For a romance to stand the test of time, you need to be committed and willing to work at it. And because you’re reading this article now, that means you want to make it work, so good for you! While there are many natural reasons why relationships don’t work out, like timing, differing life paths, opposing values, and so on – there are three avoidable reasons that will cause any relationship to fail. They are: non-acceptance, lack of trust, and poor communication.

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Why Relationships Fail

1. Non-acceptance

“The greatest catalyst for change in a relationship is complete acceptance of your partner as he or she is, without needing to judge or change them in any way.” – Eckhart Tolle

It’s unavoidable that your romantic partner will have characteristics or beliefs that annoy you. Does this mean that you should abandon your partner in search of the “perfect” match? No! (there’s no such thing) Differences with your partner are inescapable, and if you want your relationship to last, the thing that matters most is how you understand and relate to the differences. 

For example, imagine that you believe in healthy eating, moderation, and regular exercise. After you move in with your partner, you discover that he has a liking for desserts and avoids exercise. And while you enjoyed your partner’s lazy Sundays and constant supply of chocolate at the beginning of your relationship, you now feel frustrated every time he grabs a snack and declines your offer to go to the gym.

Over time, you and your partner’s differing beliefs about health frustrate you, and as your frustration grows, you attempt to change your partner. You start by “forgetting” to grab ice cream. But your partner still finds a way to stock up on ice cream for his mid-day snack. You make snarky comments about how his body is starting to feel and look a little “different.” You don’t see this as a problem because you sense that you’re helping him want a healthier life.

But naturally, this makes your partner angry. Your non-acceptance of his habits and passive-aggressive attempts to change him fuel a deep resentment. After a while the mutual frustration and resentment might lead to relationship-ending arguments.

The Problem….

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. When you accept your partner, you seek to understand, not judge. When you come from a place of understanding, you listen more and can begin to understand why their values and practices are different from yours.

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Why Relationships Fail

You might uncover that his eating and exercise habits stem from his childhood. Perhaps he had a friend with an eating disorder who’s obsession with health and appearances led to years of anxiety and depression. And because of this experience, he fears that an obsessive focus on health is detrimental.

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.


What Happens When There’s No Acceptance

When you don’t accept your partner, there’s disaster. Because when you don’t accept someone, they will not trust or feel comfortable with you. They feel attacked and resentful about your non-acceptance.

So instead of letting your frustration about your partner’s habits or beliefs lead you on a 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.

2. Lack Of Trust

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” – Ernest Hemingway

Like intimacy, our partnerships cannot thrive without deep and impenetrable levels of trust. Trusting our partners means knowing, inherently, that they will never go out of their way to cause us harm. It’s feeling secure in their presence and stable in their love, and it’s a true gift and helpful for those of us who reach it. Failing to trust your partner, however? That’s something that happens through insecurities and violations of boundaries, time and time again.

In year 9 of high-school I fell in-love with a boy 2 years above me. We were both virgins and every Thursday we would ditch school, go to a friends house and make out all day. This went on for months. We talked about loosing our virginity together and I was all for it. However, one particular Thursday he was invited over to someone else’s house who I was not friends with. So I stayed at school. The next week I discovered he had sex with a different girl.

I was devastated, I cried for weeks. Why was I not the chosen one I would say to myself. I was already so insecure because I thought he was so gorgeous and out of my league. This experience scarred my adolescent soul. For years I struggled to trust. My lack of trust manifested in various ways – not being vulnerable, overreacting to boyfriends talking with other girls, 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 didn’t realise I had this problem at the time, I now understand how the scar tissue from my 9th-grade romance hindered my ability to build enduring relationships. The problem I had and that many others face is a lack of trust. 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. Eventually, your partner will tire of your inability to trust them, and the relationship will break down.


If you struggle to trust your partner, especially when he or she hasn’t done anything to violate your trust, you need to dig deep to identify the source of the mistrust. Often, lack of trust stems from our fear of being hurt, which can come from early childhood experiences. Regardless of the cause, it’s up to you to address the issue and trust your partner.

If you can’t comfortably leave your partner with the most attractive and interesting person on the planet, then you don’t trust them. And when you don’t trust them, you’ll do all kinds of crazy shit, often unconsciously, that will sabotage your relationship.

3. Poor Communication

“Communication is the fuel that keeps the fire of your relationship burning, without it, your relationship goes cold.” – William Paisley

While the first few months or years of a relationship may go smoothly, you will inevitably run into challenges along the road. 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 their 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 they are spending significantly more time at work. They 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 they career 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 their lack of presence. If you do this, the problems will compound, and your partner may not feel that you support their pursuit to succeed in their 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 them that you feel that due to their focus on the project at work (which you fully support), they’re not meeting your needs. You think that the fun spirit and presence that they used to bring to your dates is no longer there. 


In openly discussing how their 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 their 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.

In The End

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. You’ve got this! Seeing a relationship counsellor for better strategies for communication, trust and acceptance can make a world of difference if you don’t seem to be getting anywhere on your own. Happy loving.

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