Unsuccessful relationships generally mean one of two things.
Either, the end of a relationship and premature break-up, or staying in unhealthy and toxic relationships and being unable to solve issues or find the strength to leave.
Both outcomes are pretty taxing emotionally and leave both partners unsatisfied and unhappy.
So what’s the special secret?
How do you muster up a long-lasting connection with someone without falling prey to mediocre or toxic relationships, or one’s that go up in flames?
Well, for starters, it’s avoiding these 12 things that tend to inevitably cause relationships to fail:
1) They’re picking the wrong person
There is no Mrs/Mrs Right.
The perfect partner doesn’t exist, and something will always be amiss because people are not perfect.
Yet, compatibility does to a certain degree come into play when aligning two individuals and making sure they’re well matched for the long run.
Love may conquer all, but it’s going to be a hell of a lot harder when…
You have zero interests in common.
You have completely different views when it comes to having kids.
Your religious or spiritual perspectives differ.
One of you gets up at 5am, the other at noon.
Additionally, often people will just choose badly out of their own insecurities.
A desperate need to be loved means you’re more susceptible to falling prey to dating narcissists and abusers.
Maybe they’re the red flag.
Someone who can look back and see a pattern in their history of ‘crazy’ or ‘abusive’ exes is either probably choosing badly, falling victim to unkind individuals, or doing the dirty work themselves.
2) They think that going the extra mile will solve everything
Louder for the people at the back…
That means you both getting stuck into the thick of it when it comes to solving conflict and growing together.
But unfortunately, many of us are people-pleasers.
We entertain partners who fail to do their bit of the work and end up bending over backwards to please them.
Cue resentment on both sides and a lack of respect, which inevitably leads a relationship to crumble.
3) They mistrustful
I get it, I’ve been cheated on.
It’s so hard to trust again.
But trust you must, even if that person has to work a little harder for it.
Because never fully letting your guard down, never trusting, means never letting anyone in.
Or, it means green eyes of envy always managing to side-eye your partner’s phone when they’re texting.
A person who is unable to work on their trust issues and carries their jealousy wherever they go will end up dooming every relationship they have.
4) They’re controlling
Perhaps out of that mistrust or for other reasons, some people just see a relationship as an opportunity to control their partner’s every step.
“Where are you going?”
“You can’t wear that.”
“I don’t want you drinking real milk!”
“You have to stay in this weekend with me.”
Feeling oppressively controlled by someone who is supposed to be your lover, supporter, and best friend isn’t conducive to long-lasting love.
5) They can’t feel happy for their partner
Less out of trust, but more out of an internal dissatisfaction leads some people to feel bitterness towards their partners.
Especially when they spend the most time in that person’s presence, they end up resenting their achievements and their positive moods when they themselves feel like they’re not happy or not doing well in life.
Being unable to lift your partner up and celebrate their accomplishments puts an early expiration date on these bitter relationships.
6) They don’t make time for their partner
We’ve spoken about going the extra mile and doing too much, but unsurprisingly, doing too little is just as detrimental to relationships.
Canceling plans too often, forgetting birthdays, not making them feel special.
It all adds up and leaves someone feeling unseen and unvalued; which is never how you should feel with someone who is right for you.
7) They don’t see a future with their partner
There are benefits to not gushing about a future (eg. love-bombing and promising a ring, four white cats, seven children, and a big ranch within the first week).
However, if you never mention a future that has your partner in it, what are they to think but, “this person doesn’t envision me in their future”.
Being cautious about not overpromising is acceptable, but if you actually don’t see a future with your partner, it’s not a good sign.
Nor is being in a relationship with someone you consider the love of your life but talking about your own plans and never dabbling in a little make-believe of what your shared future holds.
8) They make mountains out of molehills
Again, as someone who was wronged, I used to have a tendency to latch onto every issue, every slight, and try and cause an argument.
Even the slightest inconvenience or comment that didn’t land quite right would cause my mind to seize up and summon the troops.
But learning to collect my thoughts, to calm myself, and to only react when I had considered the bigger picture has taught me a lot.
Not every joke-gone-amiss means bringing out the big guns.
Yes, your partner should respect your sensitivities and never trigger or trivialize you, but equally, trying to start fights will quickly end in dissolution of what you have together.
9) They self-sabotage
And now, look! We’re arguing all the time. We can’t possibly be right for one another!
The cliché, “We accept the love we think we deserve” (Stephen Chbosky) is one of my favorites when it comes to summarizing the self-destructive nature of a wounded individual who wants to find love but cannot really see themselves as worthy of it.
This sense of internal and unconscious unworthiness causes them to push their partner.
To see how far they can argue or run or push that person away, and if that person will come back…
Or prove their feelings of unworthiness right by leaving.
If this resonates with you, I feel for you.
10) They live in the past
The past has a lot to offer.
A lot of life lessons, a lot of good memories.
But dwelling there and constantly thinking about past flames (maybe wondering why they too ended) or being glued down by past trauma means grinding to a halt in all aspects of life.
Including your current relationships.
Relationships can only grow and thrive if a person is present.
And if the past haunts them, that’s okay – but it means addressing these ghosts through self-reflection or therapy to eventually move forwards.
11) They suck at communicating
Maybe they feel big things and have all these emotions, but they can’t express them.
(Like me – think HSP!)
Or they’re just really bad at texting or calling, and struggle to keep on top of the responsibility of weaving someone else’s needs into their life.
They can’t work past arguments. They struggle to understand or voice what has hurt them. They can’t convey their needs.
Communication is a basic pillar of a healthy relationship. Those who struggle with it or lack active listening skills are bound to run into trouble.
12) They lose interest
Honeymoon phases are so fun.
It’s all sparks flying, butterflies tingling, hot sex.
Then life hits, and you realize that the other person isn’t as idyllic as you first thought.
You’re exposed to one another’s flaws (perfectly natural, by the way), and this illusion of perfection crumbles.
This sends many people running for the hills.
They don’t understand that relationships go through an initial high and then sink into a slow and steady pace of love.
Which actually continues, as most healthy relationships go through cycles of feeling more connected and less connected to your partner.
But some people just can’t understand or cope with the loss of the initial spark.
They throw in the towel and call it quits at the first argument (or the first time they hear their partner fart), and continue this constant pursuit for a perfect love and perfect relationship.
Which they’ll never find.
Successful relationships come in different shapes and sizes.
It doesn’t mean never arguing (which, if anything, means you don’t learn good conflict resolution skills when conflict eventually comes around the corner).
It doesn’t mean knowing your partner is being unfaithful yet turning your head and sticking by them.
It doesn’t mean having kids although you really don’t want kids, just to make them happy and make sure they stay with you.
Success in relationships looks different for everyone and means different things, but generally, it’s something along the lines of maximizing your happiness through aligning your needs, desires, and visions.
Being great at communication and knowing what you want will often help you to find someone who makes a great life-partner, who can be both your best-friend and lover, and support you through life’s many ups and downs.
Obviously, we don’t want a potential love to spoil, so if you think yourself guilty of dabbling in a few of the above behaviors, start considering how you might work on yourself and avoid doing them in future.