Last Updated on November 1, 2020

20 Reasons Why Relationships Fail (And How to Avoid It)

20 Reasons Why Relationships Fail (And How to Avoid It)

As the popular song goes, “Love is a many-splendored thing.” But is it really? We all want to love and be loved. We all want to live happily ever after—just like all fairy tales and romantic comedies tell us. But how many people actually make it there? If love is really “a many-splendored thing,” then why do relationships fail?

As we get older, we realize that love isn’t as easy as the movies make it out to be. Everything always seems to work out in the end in fantasyland. But when it comes to real life, sometimes relationships just aren’t so easy.

Why is that? Why is it difficult for so many people to keep a relationship together? Why do relationships fail? While the list of reasons can be endless, there are some more common reasons why relationships fail. So, let’s take a look at some.

While you look at this list, give some thought about your relationship(s) in your life. How many of these do you experience? How many of these have led to your relationships’ demise?

1. Selfishness

While most humans are inherently selfish to some degree (because of our survival instincts), when it gets to the point that you think about yourself only, then that is not going to make for a good relationship. Both people have to put their partner’s needs at least equal to, if not before, their own. Selfishness has no place in a successful relationship, and it is one of the most common reasons why relationships fail.


2. Lack of Empathy

Going hand-in-hand with selfishness, most people don’t have a lot of empathy. Simply defined, empathy is the ability to see another person’s point of view as if you were them. This means feeling what other people feel. It is seeing things from their perspective—not just your own. If one or both partners lack empathy, then the relationship may be doomed. A lack of empathy often results in unintentionally hurting your partner.

3. Miscommunication

Most people were never trained on how to communicate well with one another. Instead, we unconsciously model the communication skills that were presented to us by our parents. Therefore, a lot of couples frequently misunderstand each other due to a lack of proper communication. Of course, this often leads to conflict if you don’t know how to work through these misunderstandings.

4. Lack of Emotional Intimacy

At the beginning of a relationship, it’s easy to feel emotionally connected. But as time goes by, many times, a couple drifts away from each other. It could be for a variety of reasons, and we can even say that this is a normal phase in a relationship. Regardless of the reason, a lack of emotional intimacy leads to a big disconnection between the two people, and if left unresolved can be a reason why a relationship fails.

5. Finances

One of you might be a spender, and the other might be a saver. How people handle money can be a cause of conflict in relationships, especially when both sides are polar opposites in terms of their financial habits. This often leads to fights and ultimately, it can lead to the end of relationships as well.

6. Different Sex Drives

Everyone has different levels of sex drives. Some people want it multiple times a day, while others are happy and content without it at all. The likelihood of two people in a relationship having the exact same sex drive is not always good. But without a healthy sex life, the relationship turns into a friendship or roommate situation. When intimacy is lost, people feel emotionally distant from one another.


7. Being a Workaholic

Some people love their career, which is great. However, when it crosses the line of being a workaholic, it can definitely interfere with a healthy relationship. Being at work all the time means you are not spending time with your partner. Whether being at work is necessary or simply a way to avoid intimacy, either way, it can be deadly to a relationship.

8. Family and Friend Interferences

Relationships do not exist in a vacuum. Other people in our lives can make or break a union. From meddling mothers-in-law to friends who take you away from your partner too often for a party, many problems can arise from the interference of other people. The key is knowing your boundaries and having proper communication to avoid unnecessary outside interference.

9. Abuse

Abuse comes in all forms, such as mental, emotional, and physical abuse. All of these are equally damaging in different ways. Relationships are supposed to be loving and should serve as a safe place you can fall to if you want to get away from the rest of the world. So, it’s not surprising that abuse can be a huge reason why relationships fail.

10. Addictions

Many people have some sort of addiction. Of course, there are alcohol and drug addictions, but there are other kinds as well. It could be an addiction to shopping, eating, or playing video games. Whatever the addiction is, it only takes attention away from the relationship and puts it toward the object of the person’s addiction. This can end a relationship if left unresolved.

11. Cheating

This is probably one of the most apparent reasons why relationships fail. Cheating in a relationship is usually an unforgivable offense for some people. Cheating also comes in different forms—it doesn’t have to be just physical. In today’s technological age, there are many opportunities to emotionally cheat as well. Striking up a digital relationship with someone else may be reason enough to break two people up.


12. Lack of Commitment

Sometimes, people come together and go into a relationship just because they don’t feel like being single. That’s not a good reason to be with someone. Many people just go through the motions with their partner but don’t feel very committed. If one or both people lack the same level of commitment as the other, then the relationship will not survive.

13. Poor Self-Esteem

When someone has poor self-esteem, their behavior can be detrimental to the relationship. People who don’t love themselves can either become abusive or become needy. Either of these extremes is not healthy in a relationship and can lead to a failed relationship. If you or your partner has poor self-esteem, seek to resolve it immediately.

14. Trust Issues

Trust goes beyond cheating. Both partners need to feel like the other one “has their back” no matter what. Trust is essential because it serves as one of the pillars of a successful relationship. If one person doesn’t think that they can count on their partner for even simple things like showing up on time, then the foundation of the relationship is very weak, and soon the whole tower will fall.

15. Different Stages of Life or Age Differences

While it might be fun for a woman to be a “cougar” and date a much younger man or for a man to date a woman 30 years his junior, it often doesn’t work out very well in the long run. When people are at different stages of their lives, they just can’t relate very well to one another. Different levels of maturity between two people complicate the relationship and if the relationship doesn’t have a strong foundation in the first place, then it will probably not last long.

16. Compatibility Problems

Incompatibility between two people in a relationship is another common reason why most relationships fail. Maybe one person is an extrovert and the other is an introvert or one is a republican and the other is a democrat. Maybe one is Jewish and the other is Catholic. Whatever the difference is, if you have very different outlooks on life, then you have compatibility problems. You might be able to deal with it for a while but eventually, it will cause major issues in the relationship.


17. Narcissism

Remember the first reason on this list? It’s selfishness. But there’s something worse. Narcissism is an extreme form of selfishness. Many of us are selfish from time to time, but narcissists are always selfish and never, ever think about other people. They completely lack any type of empathy whatsoever. This leads to mental and emotional games or abuse, which leads to terrible relationships.

18. Anger Issues

Everyone gets angry from time to time, but when it spirals out of control or if people don’t know how to deal with it, then it can dent a relationship. Most of us are not taught effective conflict management skills. That’s why a lot of people don’t know how to control their emotions properly and fix relationship problems.

19. Lack of Personal Responsibility

If someone is always blaming their partner for the issues in their relationship, they are not taking personal responsibility. As the saying goes, “it takes two to tango.” We all play a part in the life or death of our relationship. So, people need to look within themselves and take responsibility for their actions. If one is always unwilling to take the blame, then the relationship is bound to fail.

20. Apathy

When one or both people have reached a point of apathy—where they just don’t care anymore— then that is a situation that is beyond repair. Apathy leads to stagnation and resentment. For a relationship to survive and last, you need to want it to work! If both of you become apathetic toward each other and the relationship, then the relationship is probably not worth saving anymore.

Final Thoughts

People always say, “relationships are difficult.” However, they don’t have to be. Relationships aren’t inherently hard. It’s the people in them that make them hard. So, if you see that anything on this list is causing (or has caused) problems, then learn from it. Reassess what you think a healthy relationship should look like—and do it better in the future.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Published on May 4, 2021

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

How To Spot Fake People (And Ways To Deal With Them)

They say we are the average of the five persons we spend the most time with. For a minute, consider the people around you. Are they truly who your “tribe” should be or who you aspire to become in the future? Are they really genuine people who want to see you succeed? Or are they fake people who don’t really want to see you happy?

In this article, I’ll review why it is important to surround yourself with genuine individuals—the ones who care, bring something to our table, and first and foremost, who leave all fakeness behind.

How to Spot Fake People?

When you’ve been working in the helping professions for a while, spotting fake people gets a bit easier. There are some very clear signs that the person you are looking at is hiding something, acting somehow, or simply wanting to get somewhere. Most often, there is a secondary gain—perhaps attention, sympathy, or even a promotion.

Whatever it is, you’re better off working their true agenda and staying the hell away. Here are some things you should look out for to help spot fake people.

1. Full of Themselves

Fake people like to show off. They love looking at themselves in the mirror. They collect photos and videos of every single achievement they had and every part of their body and claim to be the “best at what they do.”

Most of these people are actually not that good in real life. But they act like they are and ensure that they appear better than the next person. The issue for you is that you may find yourself always feeling “beneath” them and irritated at their constant need to be in the spotlight.

2. Murky in Expressing Their Emotions

Have you ever tried having a deep and meaningful conversation with a fake person? It’s almost impossible. It’s because they have limited emotional intelligence and don’t know how they truly feel deep down—and partly because they don’t want to have their true emotions exposed, no matter how normal these might be.


It’s much harder to say “I’m the best at what I do” while simultaneously sharing “average” emotions with “equal” people.

3. Zero Self-Reflection

To grow, we must accept feedback from others. We must be open to our strengths and to our weaknesses. We must accept that we all come in different shapes and can always improve.

Self-reflection requires us to think, forgive, admit fault, and learn from our mistakes. But to do that, we have to be able to adopt a level of genuineness and depth that fake people don’t routinely have. A fake person generally never apologizes, but when they do, it is often followed with a “but” in the next breath.

4. Unrealistic Perceptions

Fake people most often have an unrealistic perception of the world—things that they want to portray to others (pseudo achievements, materialistic gains, or a made-up sense of happiness) or simply how they genuinely regard life outside themselves.

A lot of fake people hide pain, shame, and other underlying reasons in their behavior. This could explain why they can’t be authentic and/or have difficulties seeing their environment for the way it objectively is (both good and bad).

5. Love Attention

As I mentioned earlier, the biggest sign that something isn’t quite right with someone’s behavior can be established by how much they love attention. Are you being interrupted every time you speak by someone who wants to make sure that the spotlight gets reverted back to them? Is the focus always on them, no matter the topic? If yes, you’re probably dealing with a fake person.

6. People Pleaser

Appreciation feels nice but having everyone like you is even better. While it is completely unrealistic for most people to please everyone all the time, fake people seem to always say yes in pursuit of constant approval.


Now, this is a problem for two reasons. Firstly, these people are simply saying yes to things for their own satisfaction. Secondly, they often end up changing their minds or retracting their offer for one reason or another (“I would have loved to, but my grandmother suddenly fell ill.”), leaving you in the lurch for the 100th time this year.

7. Sarcasm and Cynicism

Behind the chronic pasted smile, fake people are well known for brewing resentment, jealousy, or anger. This is because, behind the postcard life, they are often unhappy. Sarcasm and cynicism are well known to act as a defense mechanism, sometimes even a diversion—anything so they can remain feeling on top of the world, whether it is through boosting themselves or bringing people down.

8. Crappy friend

Fake people are bad friends. They don’t listen to you, your feelings, and whatever news you might have to share. In fact, you might find yourself migrating away from them when you have exciting or bad news to share, knowing that it will always end up one way—their way. In addition, you might find that they’re not available when you truly need them or worse, cancel plans at the last minute.

It’s not unusual to hear that a fake person talks constantly behind people’s backs. Let’s be honest, if they do it to others, they’re doing it to you too. If your “friend” makes you feel bad constantly, trust me, they’re not achieving their purpose, and they’re simply not a good person to have around.

The sooner you learn to spot these fake people, the sooner you can meet meaningful individuals again.

How to Cope With Fake People Moving Forward?

It is important to remind yourself that you deserve more than what you’re getting. You are worthy, valuable, precious, and just as important as the next person.

There are many ways to manage fake people. Here are some tips on how to deal with them.


1. Boundaries

Keep your boundaries very clear. As explained in the book Unlock Your Resilience, boundaries are what keep you sane when the world tries to suffocate you. When fake people become emotional vampires, make sure to keep your distances, limit contact, and simply replace them with more valuable interactions.

2. Don’t Take Their Behavior Personally

Sadly, they most likely have behaved this way before they knew you and will continue much longer after you have moved on. It isn’t about you. It is about their inner need to meet a void that you are not responsible for. And in all honesty, unless you are a trained professional, you are unlikely to improve it anyway.

3. Be Upfront and Honest About How You Feel

If your “friend” has been hurtful or engaged in behaviors you struggle with, let them know—nicely, firmly, however you want, but let them know that they are affecting you. If it works, great. If it doesn’t, you’ll feel better and when you’re ready to move on, you’ll know you tried to reach out. Your conscience is clear.

4. Ask for Advice

If you’re unsure about what you’re seeing or feeling, ask for advice. Perhaps a relative, a good friend, or a colleague might have some input as to whether you are overreacting or seeing some genuine concerns.

Now, don’t confuse asking for advice with gossiping behind the fake person’s back because, in the end, you don’t want to stoop down to their level. However, a little reminder as to how to stay on your own wellness track can never hurt.

5. Dig Deeper

Now, this one, I offer with caution. If you are emotionally strong, up to it, guaranteed you won’t get sucked into it, and have the skills to manage, perhaps you could dig into the reasons a fake person is acting the way they do.

Have they suffered recent trauma? Have they been rejected all their lives? Is their self-esteem so low that they must resort to making themselves feel good in any way they can? Sometimes, having an understanding of a person’s behavior can help in processing it.


6. Practice Self-Care!

Clearly, putting some distance between the fake person and yourself is probably the way to go. However, sometimes, it takes time to get there. In the meantime, make sure to practice self-care, be gentle with yourself, and compensate with lots of positives!

Self-care can be as simple as taking a hot shower after talking to them or declining an invitation when you’re not feeling up to the challenge.

Spotting fake people isn’t too hard. They generally glow with wanna-be vibes. However, most often, there are reasons as to why they are like this. Calling their behavior might be the first step. Providing them with support might be the second. But if these don’t work, it’s time to stay away and surround yourself with the positivity that you deserve.

Final Thoughts

Remember that life is a rollercoaster. It has good moments, tough moments, and moments you wouldn’t change for the world. So, look around and make sure that you take the time to choose the right people to share it all with.

We are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, so take a good look around and choose wisely!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via

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