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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Last Updated on November 4, 2020

15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life

15 Simple Ways To Make Self Improvement That Will Change Your Life

Self-improvement doesn’t have to be big mind-blowing changes; it can actually be simple steps to improve upon what you already have to get you where you want to be.  However, what you will need is consistency, determination and wiliness to try some things that will stretch and challenge you.

Rather than setting your sights way off into the future, which leaves you feeling like you’ll never make it, you can start following these simple and effective self-improvement steps today.  So if you want to make an immediate impact on your life and are willing to take action, then keep reading— you’ll going to love these!

1. Be willing to work hard.

As with anything in life, if you want something, you’ve got to work hard to get it.  This doesn’t mean you burn the candle at both ends, leaving you exhausted and leaving your personal life in ruins.  It merely means that when you want something badly enough, you’ll put in the time to get there.  Action is what’s important here and the more ‘inspired’ the action is, the better the results in the end.

2. Make sure you have friends who you can talk to.

Sharing the load is important as with any self-improvement. If you can communicate with others and get feedback on how you are doing then that’s great.  We all need ‘cheerleaders’ in our corner to keep us going when times get hard, but you also need to have people who will tell you how it is even when you don’t want to hear it.  So make sure you have a good support network around you, especially those people whose opinions you respect.


3. Adapt to your circumstances rather than over-thinking them.

Sometimes, we can hit a hard period. Perhaps you’ve lost your job or your partner has left you.  Instead of over analyzing the situation, learn to adapt to your circumstances and accept them as they are.  It’s not about making your circumstances into some kind of a drama; remember, what you focus on expands which means you’ll get more of it.  You then don’t become your problems and you’ll feel a lot less burdened by them.

4. Ensure that you use your time wisely.

Time is of the essence, some might say; whilst others will say that time is an illusion.  One thing we do know is that you have one life on this planet, so how you use that time is of the utmost importance.  So how can you use your time wisely? Only you know how to do that, but look at how you currently spend your days: do you sit working all day, get home, eat and then sit slumped in front of the TV for the rest of the evening?  Your time on this earth is precious, so isn’t it time to make use of the time you have left? Try something new, go for a walk, learn a new language or meditate but make sure it’s something you absolutely love.

5. Always be consistent.

A wonderful way to self-improvement is to make changes to how you do things.  For example, with your friends, are you always the unreliable one who bows out of an arrangement just before it happens? Or are you someone who starts a new exercise routine and then stops doing it 3 weeks into it?  Whatever it is and whatever you do, always be consistent. When you make a commitment, stick to it. It will improve your life immeasurably you’ll feel more confident and happier with yourself, especially because you’ll know that whatever you tackle, you’ll be able to consistently do it!

6. Go and find your happy place.

No, I’m not saying “place” as in popping to your local bar or restaurant and gorging yourself on your favorite drinks or food. What I’m saying is to find out what you love to do, what makes you happy and go there.  Your happy place is a place where you find peace, where you lose yourself and feel contented.  Meditation is a great way to find your happy place; it brings you back to you and ensures that you are always living in the present moment.


7. Make sure you embrace all your emotions.

In life you are going to find that it throws you some difficult challenges, sometimes it will bring out your fears and lead you into uncertainty, and other times it will be joyful.  It’s important to embrace all emotions that come up in your life, embrace them wholeheartedly and understand why they are there and then let them go.  Try not to dismiss or resist them because remember “what you resist, persists,” so embrace them each and every time.

8. Always be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.

The idea of stepping out of your comfort zone for some people can leave you paralyzed with fear; however for any changing in your life, your comfort zone will always have to be stepped out of.  It doesn’t have to be something big, like doing a sky-dive or something just as crazy. However, it’s worthwhile to change something that you’d once have feared, like going to the cinema on your own or eating at a sushi restaurant when the thought of trying raw fish which would normally mean you running for the hills.

So try something new—it doesn’t have to be wacky, but it has to challenge you!

9. Be on hand to help others.

Whether it’s helping a stranger on the street or a family member or a friend helping someone else either in their time of need, lending a helping hand is a wonderful and simple self-improvement to make.  Giving to others is not only beneficial to those you are helping but also to yourself; it can give you a sense of purpose, of contribution and also takes your mind of your own troubles and worries.


10. Live in the present moment.

A wonderful self-improvement tool is to live in the present moment, to live in the now.  It is within this moment that you’ll appreciate all that you have and see the beauty in the simplest of things.  Being mindful of your current circumstances and bringing your mind back to where it belongs will bring about a happier way of life instead of constant worry or stressing about the past or future—both of which do not exist. Only the present moment exists. When you get used to living that way, you’ll never want to go back!

11. Learn something new.

There is nothing so liberating as learning something new; it can lift both your confidence and self-esteem and give you a great reason to meet new people.  If you continually top up your brain activity by learning something new all the time, you’ll feel on top of your game and want to share the knowledge you have learned. There is nothing quite so empowering as learning a new tool in life that can either improve your circle of friends or raise confidence levels—or both!

Reading is also a great way to help you learn something new:

12. Exercise daily.

This seems an obvious one, but exercise is so important not only to your health but also to your spirit.  We all know that after exercise, the world can feel a brighter and more positive place, so why don’t we do it more often?  Exercise isn’t about getting the perfect body or losing weight; it’s more about feeling good inside and out!  With a healthy body comes a healthy mind—so start something today. Even if it’s just a daily walk, it’s better than staying on that couch, again.


13. Go to new places, travel a bit.

I’m not saying go fly off to some far away distant forgotten land—although you can if you so wish. It’s more about going to new places and experiencing life outside of your own back yard.  Too many of us stay in one place too often. We only see the same people, the same streets and do the same things each and every day.  If you want to improve your life, get out there and see the world and what it can offer.  You can start by going to a town or city you’ve never been to in your own country and checking out the architecture, the landscapes and the people.  Anything new is good, so get out there!

14. Listen to uplifting music and dance.

If there’s one thing that can really improve your life and get you excited about it, it’s listening to great uplifting music and dancing.  When was the last time you really let go?  Let it all hang loose and got into a piece of music and let yourself go?  Dancing, like exercise, makes you feel great. It releases all kinds of emotions and can make you feel unbelievably good.  Self-improvement isn’t all about the serious stuff; it can be something as simple as finding new music, music that inspires you and makes you dance and have fun!

15. Get up earlier than normal.

This is the last one, and it’s last because it’s one of those self-improvement tips that we all know is a good thing, yet we seem to avoid it at all costs!  If you think about it, the earliest part of the day is when your brain is most active because it’s been turned off for the last 7 hours or so.  So don’t you think it’s best to get all those things above done in the morning?  Things like exercise, meditation and dancing, which can all be done in the first part of the day.  Take it from me: this early morning stuff can really get your day started with a bang!

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