What Are The Top 10 “Relationship Wreckers”?

For a relationship to be healthy and thrive, the positives must outweigh the negatives. This may sound simple, but there are many different factors that can create unfavourable feelings or sabotaging behaviours. If you’re wondering what these relationship wreckers may be, here are the top 10 damaging causes.

Lies and Betrayal

Trust is the backbone of any relationship, and once it’s broken it’s not easy to get back.  Most times the word “betrayal” brings cheating to mind, but betrayal can also come in the form of broken promises, lies and denials. These types of negative behaviour destroy the basis of any relationship, and often times cause its demise. In some cases it’s possible to get over incidents of infidelity or lies and move forward with your partner; other times there’s no getting over the damage done.

Lies and betrayal are serious problems and major relationship killers. In order to prevent this type of behaviour it’s necessary for couples to work on their communication skills and connect with each other on an emotional level. After all, one lie is enough to question all truths and apologizes don’t mean anything if you keep doing what you’re sorry for.

Neglecting Your Partner

The point of being in a relationship is to be a companion to your partner. In order for you and your partner to be fully there for one another, you must be committed to fulfilling each other’s needs. If other activities, interests or other fixations are interfering with a partner’s availability, it can hurt the relationship. To avoid this, treat your partner as the important person they are by spending enough quality time together.

Remember that it’s not enough to simply be physically present, but rather you must also be emotionally available. If you’re emotionally withdrawn from your relationship you cannot expect it to thrive, which is why it’s important to affectionately express your feelings and keep your communication positive. If you or your partner actively ignore each other or set your focus elsewhere then your relationship is doomed. The spark will go out if both partners aren’t making time for one another and expressing their emotions.

naggingNitpicking, Criticism and Condescension

No one likes to be put down, and it’s especially unpleasant when your lover is the one making you feel low. Nitpicking, nagging, and speaking condescendingly to your partner may seem like easy behaviours to brush off, but in reality they can be extremely destructive and tough to drop. If you or your partner are constantly criticizing each other for even the smallest actions then you need to take a step back and find a way to put an end to this type of communication. Intentionally looking for something to complain about, or taking every opportunity to blame, insult or attack your significant other is not only unhealthy, but it’s also emotionally abusive.

Masking nastiness through condescending conversation is a tactic that individuals with low self esteem use as a way to feel better about themselves. For example, rolling their eyes while replying to their partner, or answering in a know-it-all tone. This type of behaviour is a major relationship wrecker, so if you or your partner make belittling comments or show negative body language then these issues needs to be addressed and changed. Even if the nagging is meant in good fun, words hurt so it’s important to listen to what you say, and how you say it. A relationship cannot survive if one partner acts superior, feels more powerful, or talks down on the other. Besides, who wants to date a bully?

Being on Guard and Scapegoating

Relationships are meant to be fun, passionate and respectful experiences. If one partner in a relationship feels like they’re always on guard, walking on eggshells or being blamed for everything that goes wrong, then it probably means that they’re under attack. Being on guard makes it impossible for an open and honest relationship to exist, which is why this type of negative blaming behaviour is a huge relationship wrecker. Instead of hurting the one you love, tackle your problems head on and don’t direct blame where it’s not due.

If you’re in a relationship that pointing fingers and tossing around cruel words is the norm, then you and your partner need to find new outlets to direct your frustrations rather than taking them out on each other. Go for a jog, take a warm bath, or simply let your lover know that you had a tough day at work. Be calm and clear, it’s important to relax and enjoy the time you spend together.

Gossiping and Sharing Secrets

We’ve all met at least one person that can’t keep a secret; they hear some juicy gossip and feel the need to spread it like wildfire. The problem with these type of people is that they can’t be trusted. If you or your partner have a habit of sharing personal stories about each other or secrets about your relationship with your friends and family, then this type of behaviour could cause a huge meltdown in your relationship. While it may feel good to blow off some steam from time to time, secretly talking about your partner or relationship issues in a negative tone to others is never a good thing. In fact, it’s gossip.

Gossip is not a productive way to handle your issues, and it can even cause additional problems. For instance, your partner may feel betrayed that you shared personal information with others, or hurt that you didn’t turn to them to fix your problems. When you do talk about your issues to your friends or relatives, it’s important that you never place the blame completely on your partner, but rather be fair and talk about your part in the problem too. You should never give others reasons to dislike the one you love just because you need to vent. To avoid this type of relationship downfall, the best practice to follow is that loose lips sink ships. What you share with your partner is sacred and should be kept private.  

Possessiveness and Control

Wanting things to be a certain way or having personal preferences is human nature, however, a major deal breaker in any relationship is possessiveness. When possessive or controlling tendencies embark on the rights, needs and desires of your partner, the situation becomes problematic. Since free will and self determination are basic needs, when these are threatened negative reactions such as anger, resentment, and even rebellion will follow. Allowing self interests to take priority in a relationship can be extremely toxic.

controlling partnerIf you or your partner are the type of people that need to have control of every situation, each other’s actions, and all decisions made in your relationship, then you may be destined for doom. Being possessive in a relationship isn’t healthy and simply doesn’t work. If possessiveness is driven by jealous tendencies then it’s important to recognize the issues and work them out with your partner. No one loves a control freak, especially if they are tolling with other’s life and experiences.  

Passive Aggressiveness

Do you or your partner have a habit of sending mixed messages or not communicating how you truly feel? Does your relationship involve verbal belittling disguised with a friendly facade? Passive-aggressiveness is a way to indirectly show resentment and be subtly resistant. For example, someone could be passive-aggressive by expressing hostility through procrastination, by being stubborn, or acting sullen. Passive-aggressiveness can also be expressed through body language, such as eye rolls or sideways smirks. Regardless of how it’s portrayed, this type of behaviour can cause tension and ultimately ruin an otherwise healthy relationship.

Passive-aggressive people typically try to avoid conflict, yet this type of deflective behaviour can be just as damaging as actively seeking confrontation. To overcome this relationship wrecker, it’s necessary for the passive-aggressive partner to recognize their behaviour, identify their triggers, listen to their conversations, and make themselves a priority. Once a passive-aggressive person makes themselves a priority they’ll realize that their needs are valuable and can be met by communicating clearly.

Harmful Words and Silence

The tongue may not have any bones, but it is strong enough to break a heart. Be mindful with your words because it’s often overlooked how greatly they can damage a relationship. If you or your partner have a habit of speaking without thinking, this seemingly innocent act could be the demise of your relationship. After all, you can’t take back what you say, and while it’s possible to forgive, it’s much harder to forget.

On the other hand, silence can be just as toxic as verbal abuse. Silence in a relationship equates to unhealthy communication, however it becomes even more of an issue if it leads to unresolved conflicts and resentment. Bottling up feelings is dangerous for a couple reasons. First off, it leaves one partner questioning what’s causing the lack of communication, but even more importantly is the fact that a person can hold in so much emotion, which means sooner or later, they will blow.

A Lack of Independence and Support

It’s common for two individuals to lose their personal identities while being molded together in a relationship. However, keeping your independence and confidence is key. Being autonomous from your partner help maintain your self esteem and prevent you from becoming too heavily reliant on each other. When partners mesh together on all fronts, it’s likely that sooner or later tensions will rise and the relationship will fall apart. Remember, you and your partner were two separate individuals before you got together, you had different likes, dislikes, interests, opinions and hobbies. It’s important to continue living your own life and remember that your partner should not complete you, but rather compliment you.

A big part of being individuals in a relationship is supporting one another. Believing in and encouraging each other’s personal goals and dreams is essential for a happy and healthy relationship. If you discourage your partner, or put down their aspirations, it could become the number one reason you two split up.

boredomComplacency and Boredom

If you and your partner have been together for some time, it’s possible that you may start to face feelings of boredom and complacency. You may not know how these feeling started or where they came from, but chances are you’re feeling this way because you’re too content with your relationship. When couples become too cozy with one another they stop sending the sweet messages or leaving little notes. Once lavish date nights can quickly turn into Netflix and sweat pants, and it’s easy to lose sight of what is really important.

Every loving relationship takes effort and it’s important to be proactive. It’s a dangerous situation when partners stop making an effort to show each other that they care, and it’s definitely a major relationship killer. To enjoy a loving, long term bond with your partner it’s crucial that you make an effort to overcome feelings of complacency or boredom. To do so you must be willing to express these feelings with your partner, and together experience new things, even if it means stepping out of your comfort zone.

About Amy North

Amy North is a women's relationship coach and best-selling author from Vancouver, Canada. Her high-acclaimed programs include "Text Chemistry" and "The Devotion System", both of which have helped thousands of women from around the world find (and keep) the man of their dreams.

2 Comments

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  • Hi! i agree with everything you wrote here esp complacency and boredom which is a huge challenge! i was with my partner now for 15 yrs. but its on and off and mostly on though I feel like we’re taking each other for granted and fighting a lot lately. How do we spice it up and is there still hope for this? would appreciate your opinion.

    • Hi Karen, thanks for commenting. Yes, yes and YES again, there is definitely hope so hang in there!
      To get you started, here are a few links to check out. Good luck!

      http://www.amynorth.com/reconnect-with-spouse/
      http://yourtango.com/experts/brad-browning/battle-boredom-your-marriage
      http://yourtango.com/experts/brad-browning/7-ways-bring-sex-back-your-relationship

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