April 1, 2019

The 7 Deadly Sins of Failed Relationships.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Elephant Journal (@elephantjournal) on

Most of us have experienced heartbreak a time or two, and because of that, we think we know what “kills” relationships.

When it comes to losing an important love connection, whether by way of a painful divorce or a crushing breakup with a long-term partner, we feel like we’ve been put through the wringer. And oftentimes, we’re left perplexed.

We fall in love in the first place because of mutual attraction, chemistry, and some shared beliefs. How then do we manage to go from Point A (the place where everything is fantastic), to Point B (the place where everything falls apart)?

One thing that holds true, it seems, is that it’s never just one thing that destroys a relationship. Often, it’s a combination of these seven deadly relationship sins:

1. Deceit.

Lying and cheating are top offenders in this category. And it becomes easier to lie and cheat and pull away from our partner if we think there is something “better” that suits us and feeds us in a way that our current relationship doesn’t.

Instead of working on what’s wrong though, we turn away and do what feels good. But the quickest way to end a relationship is to stop caring about how our actions will ultimately affect the bigger picture. Deceit is selfish and cowardly, and in most cases, we simply escape to avoid confronting issues.

“It seems we are capable of immense love and loyalty, and as capable of deceit and atrocity. It’s probably this shocking ambivalence that makes us unique.” ~ John Scott

2. Resentment.

When we can’t let go of resentment—the feeling that things just aren’t “fair” and we are somehow getting the short end of the stick—something’s got to give. Most often, it’s our relationship. If we blame our partner for our own unhappiness or lack of success, our resentment becomes an ugly, impenetrable brick wall that grows high enough to keep our partners out.

Resentment is an isolating emotion, and it festers profusely amid inaction. Partners who understand the value of consistent validation, empathy, and encouragement are usually able to remain at Point A while deftly deflecting Point B.

“Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.” ~ Saint Augustine

3. Settling.

Complacency is a slow relationship killer, and the old “it is what it is” platitude is as pathetic as it is depressing. Relationships require some level of passion, and they should evolve as we grow.

Taking our significant other for granted or not wanting more out of our relationship signifies a lack of growth. “Nothing ever changes so why even try” is a stagnant mentality that can erode a seemingly strong bond over time.

“The minute you settle for less than you deserve, you get even less than you settled for.” ~ Maureen Dowd

4. Silence.

Shhhh. Hear that? You don’t? Exactly. Silence is the sound of a relationship dying.

Sweeping problems under the rug for later does not solve anything. Eventually, the accumulating mound under the rug gets so big we start tripping over it.

Staying quiet about what’s wrong or what’s bothering us nudges the demise of a partnership because it offers no solution, no progress, and no change. It’s okay to pick and choose our battles, but we can’t continue to act like everything is okay if it isn’t. Our relationships suffer inside silence.

“Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.” ~ George Bernard Shaw 

5. Jealousy.

A certain amount of competitiveness between lovers can be playful and fun, but too much can chip away at an otherwise strong romantic partnership.

The one getting all the attention and accolades must be diligent about making his or her partner feel valued and loved for what he or she is also contributing, even if it isn’t quite as flashy. Knowing we are good enough allows us to champion our partner instead of coveting what he or she has. Mutual admiration and respect, sans jealousy, is one key to lasting love.   

“It is not love that is blind, but jealousy.” ~ Lawrence Durrell

6. Miscommunication.

When we fail to mean what we say and say what we mean, the equation for failure is set up perfectly—and the math isn’t that complicated.

The truth might be difficult to say or hear, but clear messages trump vague, passive aggressive bullsh*t every day of the week. Most of us appreciate a straight-forward approach, even if it hurts a little.

“Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost.” ~ Khalil Gibran

7. Codependency.

This emotional and behavioral condition affects our ability to have a healthy, satisfying relationships. Codependency is addiction, and addiction in all forms is a detrimental human behavior.

Relationships have two sides, not one. A reciprocal “give and take” is required, and one person can’t solely be in charge of keeping the relationship going strong.

“If you begin to think you are solely responsible for keeping your loved one alive and safe, you will eventually find yourself playing God. This phase can develop into an unhealthy, codependent relationship.” ~ Gail Sheehy

When we look back at our failed relationships, we can often see that it wasn’t just one thing that caused their demise—more than likely, it’s a combination of these deadly relationship sins. But if we can recognize them and thwart their rise to power before they rear their ugly heads, we can keep our relationships alive and thriving.


Read 10 Comments and Reply

Read 10 comments and reply

Top Contributors Latest

Kimberly Valzania  |  Contribution: 143,185

author: Kimberly Valzania

Image: @elephantjournal/Instagram

Image: IMDB

Editor: Nicole Cameron