What are the top five causes of relationship problems nowadays?

Most of us want to meet and settle down with the “right” person, and most of us want such a relationship to last. At the same time, the majority of romantic partnerships end in dissolution. What are some of the major causes? Below are few reasons why relationships fail.

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1. Trust Issues

Lack or loss of trust is one of the most harmful contagions to a couple’s long-term success. Without trust, a relationship misses two of the key anchors to a strong bond: safety and security.

Trust issues may include factors such as jealousy, possessiveness, unreasonable rigidity, emotional infidelity, physical/sexual infidelity, relational game playing, lack of reliability and dependability, lack of emotional support, lack of financial compatibility, and lack of mutually-supportive goals.

If you believe trust is a major issue in your relationship (or was in your former relationship), examine whether the lack of trust is based on a pattern of evidence (such as significant broken promises), or mostly subjective emotions (such as jealousy without proof). Consider honestly whether the lack of trust is based on tangible substance or unjustified fears.

2. Different Expectations

“Never allow someone to be your priority while allowing yourself to be their option.”

― Mark Twain

It’s not easy for a couple to walk a journey together for a long time. The elements that frequently draw two people toward one-another at the beginning of a relationship — physical attraction, sexual passion, common interests, personality connections, socio-economic backgrounds — often become less central as the realities and demands of day to day life sets in. Overtime, a couple’s expectations in the relationship may differentiate, as they begin to see their respective life plans as “what I want,” instead of “what we want.”

Some of the reasons relationship divergence occur between a couple include:

· Mister/Miss Right or Mister/Miss Right Now?

Does your partner see you as “Mister/Miss Right”, or “Mister/Miss Right Now”? In other words, how serious is your partner about being in a long-term committed relationship with you? What about you with your partner?

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· Differences in Priorities

Your partner has different priorities and expectations regarding the relationship.

For some, the significant-other relationship (and family) is the primary center of gravity of life. Nothing else comes close in its importance.

For others, a romantic relationship, even a committed one, is but one facet of life. There are many other aspects of life which, in their perspective, can justifiably take higher priority.

3. Moving Through Life at Different Speeds

When one partner is learning and growing at a rapid pace, while the other is stagnating, this may be a source of relational divergence. One example of this would be a partner advancing quickly in her career and society, while her significant other is stagnating at home. The professional and social circles of the couple begin to diverge, and soon the couple themselves differentiate. They have physically, intellectually, and socially grown apart.

4. Communication Issues

This is a big one. Numerous studies have identified communication (or a lack thereof) as one of the top reasons for couples therapy, as well as one of the top reasons for break-up and divorce (1)(2).

Dr. John Gottman of the University of Washington, a foremost expert on couples studies, concluded after over twenty years of research that the single, best predictor of divorce is when one or both partners show contempt in the relationship.

Contempt, the opposite of respect, is often expressed via negative judgment, criticism, or sarcasm regarding the worth of an individual. In communication studies, this is known as being “tough on the person, soft on the issue”. Contemptuous communication works like poison — it destroys the health and well-being of a romantic relationship.

5. Grown Apart, Boredom, Staleness, Rut

If any of the four terms written above resonates with your relationship experience, there are a couple of elements to consider:

If you have been in a relationship for two years or less, and you and your partner have “grown apart”, it could be due to a lack of commitment, different expectations, lack of compatibility, or the natural process of trial and error in mate-finding.

If you are in a long-term relationship, it is possible that life obligations (such as school, work, and especially child-rearing) got in the way of couple connectedness and mutual involvement. A classic example is the “empty nest” syndrome, where after all the children have grown and left home, the parents suddenly feel like strangers to one-another, having not focused on each another for so many years.

The list of reasons is not meant to be comprehensive. They simply represent some of the most common and damaging factors behind relational dissolution. If you are struggling in your relationship, try to figure out the reasons and solve it. If you can’t, then that’s should be the time to come out.

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