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The Top 25 Things Sabotaging Your Relationship: Are You Contributing?

Updated on January 5, 2013
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The Inside and Outside Factors Hurting Your Relationships

While most people dream of finding true love and living happily ever after, few people dream of a relationship tainted by complications. In the beginning of the relationship, few people see the faults of their partners. As time goes on and couples become familiar. Family members enter the picture, and people start taking one another for granted. While no one sets out to sabotage a relationship, members of couples may fall into destructive patterns of toxic learned behaviors, the past may come to haunt couples, or people with bad intentions may negatively influence the relationship.

Emotionally advanced individuals can recognize these unhealthy patterns and steer the relationship in a more healthy direction. While not all factors that destroy a relationship are obvious, some are easier to recognize. By addressing pitfalls as they arise, couples may enjoy a harmonious relationship and live happily ever after.

Withholding affection can hurt a relationship.
Withholding affection can hurt a relationship.
Can inlaws hurt your relationship?
Can inlaws hurt your relationship?
Can your depression affect your relationship?
Can your depression affect your relationship?
Vices can hurt relationships.
Vices can hurt relationships.
Do you nag your partner?
Do you nag your partner?
Self love is healthy, but narcissism hurts relationships.
Self love is healthy, but narcissism hurts relationships.
Defensiveness
Defensiveness
A controlling partner may have low self esteem.
A controlling partner may have low self esteem.

The Factors

25. The Past- Whether one person in the relationship is stuck on someone else, holding a grudge, or clinging to the past; the failure to move forward will damage a relationship.

24. The Differences Between Men and Women- Everyone knows men and women are different physically; however they are quite different psychologically. When it comes to communication, men are not as expressive as females. In areas of sex, men are more visually driven than females. In thought process, females are more emotional than logical. Not understanding the basic differences in men and women on a psychological level can strain a relationship.

23. Selfishness- When one person in a relationship puts value on her own needs over another, the other partner may become resentful. In a relationship where one person is superior to the other, there may be a destructive imbalance.

22. Untreated Mental Health Disorders- A great majority of the population suffers from a mental health disorder. Depression and personality disorders are common in society. If one person suffers from a condition such as mood swings, anti-social tendencies, anger, or narcissism, it is important to get treatment. A successful relationship depends on both parties contributing to a healthy environment.

21. Sarcasm- Many a truth is told in jest. The user of sarcasm may think they are “lightening the mood” with their jabs, but sarcasm can impede a relationship on many levels. These witty little darts are filled with disguised truths and observations that can hurt feelings, alienate a loved one, and hurt conversation.

20. Control Issues- People often tend to try to control others out of a deep sense of insecurity. People who do this don’t feel they are worthy of their loved one and do all they can to restrict the other so they don’t leave. In the end, the control issues are usually what drive the other in the relationship away.

19. Technology- In a world full of gadgets and instant information, many relationships are put on the backburner. When communicating by methods such as text messages, couples are unable to rely on physical cues and tone in a conversation. Misunderstandings may occur and intimacy may be compromised. In other cases, couples may experience communication breakdowns when distracted by mobile devices.

18. Negativity- Everyone has a bad day now and then, but in a relationship, chronic negativity can be like a wet blanket that dampens the bond between two people. It zaps happiness and makes people feel drained. Once it invades a relationship, one person may start to wonder what they saw in the other in the first place.

17. Defensiveness- Low self esteem or a need to create a diversion from the truth may make a person in a relationship defensive. This is a sign of weakness in a relationship between both members. Instead of discussing issues, one person may feel as if they are being attacked by the other and shut down all communication. Couples should evaluate whether they are too aggressive in their communication styles. If not, a defensive person may have something to hide.

16. Lying- From white lies to whoppers, once one person is caught lying in a relationship, it casts a shadow of doubt over what they say and do.

15. Withholding Sex and Affection- When one person in a relationship uses sex and affection as a weapon, the relationship suffers. Sadly, in times of conflict, affection can go a long way to heal wounds.

14. Losing the Magic- Everyone knows that when a relationship first begins, the world is a magical realm of gifts, love letters, and long hours gazing into each other’s eyes. When relationships get familiar, couples stop doing these magical things. If things get stale, consider writing a love letter or planning a surprise get-away!

13. Bad Mouthing- In some relationships, one member of the couple may turn to a friend or relative to complain about the other member. A woman may call her mother to complain endlessly about her husband’s latest antics. This energy could be better used by sitting down with the husband and addressing the concerns with him directly. In most cases, the member of the couple doing this seeks outside validation that they are the victim in the relationship. Instead of taking responsibility for their contributions to the problems, they feed off of this validation that receive from the outside party. This hurts the relationship because the bad mouthing partner talks bad about their spouse behind their back and avoids fixing the real problems.

12. Poor Listening Skills- In relationships, some people hear their partner, but they don’t listen to their partner. Tuning out your partner sabotages a relationship.

11. Friends- If either person in a couple has friends that don’t support the relationship, they can become a negative influence. Couples need to keep healthy boundaries with their friends or they may interfere with the relationship.

Are you distracted by your cell phone?
Are you distracted by your cell phone?
Is your bucket empty? No one else can fill it but you.
Is your bucket empty? No one else can fill it but you.
Children and stepchildren can harm a relationship.
Children and stepchildren can harm a relationship.
Women are twice as likely to be addicted to Facebook.
Women are twice as likely to be addicted to Facebook.
Jealousy can lead to resentment and hurt your relationship.
Jealousy can lead to resentment and hurt your relationship.

10. Children and Step-Children- Couples with children or step children must make an effort to schedule romantic time alone. Those who fail to put their relationship first may loose touch. Also, if the couple disagrees on parenting styles, behavior, and values, conflicts could arise. Couples should set healthy boundaries with children and step children and abide by them.

9. Independence- If two members of a couple have conflicting needs for personal space, one could feel smothered while the other feels neglected. Couples who report the greatest happiness are those who have their own interests outside of the relationship.

8. The Empty Bucket Syndrome- Sometimes people enter relationships for the wrong reasons. Due to feelings of emptiness, some people seek out a relationship to make them feel like they have a purpose. People who are unhappy may think that another person can give them a sense of fulfillment. Later they become disappointed when the other person doesn’t meet this need. Healthy relationships start when each member of the couple comes to the relationship with a strong sense of self identity. No relationship will fill the empty bucket that one person may trying to fill.

7. Criticism, Nagging, Nitpicking- You may love your partner, but if criticism, nagging, and nitpicking are issues, you may not like your partner for very long. When one partner constantly criticizes the other partner, he or she may stop trying to contribute to avoid the inevitable barrage of complaints. Eventually, the criticized partner may avoid the other. Instead of criticizing your partner for the small things, make a concerted effort to appreciate the things they do well.

6. Debauchery- When one partner in a relationship has an extreme addiction to self indulgence, the relationship may be sabotaged. This compulsion for sensuality may lead to debaucheries such as infidelity, drug use, and addictions to pornography. The affected partner is easily seduced from any sense of commitment when a feel-good opportunity presents itself. While the activities themselves are damaging to the relationship, the problem presents a myriad of other complications. If shared income is used to fund the wayward partner’s activities, such as the purchase of hotel rooms, prostitutes, private cell phones, pornography, gifts, or drugs, the couple may fight over the missing funds.

5. Jealousy- This green-eyed monster is born from a deep sense of insecurity in a partner in a relationship. Whether it is justified or not, jealousy may lead to turbulence in a relationship if the other partner acts on their insecurities.

4. In Laws- So you think you have found the love of your life, then- you meet the rest of the family. While many relatives support a relationship, those with ill-intentions can sabotage a couple’s happiness. If a significant other comes from a dysfunctional family with unhealthy relationship boundaries, it could eventually spell trouble for a couple. Couples must enforce healthy boundaries with their families in matters of the relationship.

3. Vices- If one partner in the couple succumbs to a vice during the course of a relationship, it can have damaging consequences for the relationship. From alcoholism to gambling, a vice may be expensive, dangerous, or irritating. In other cases, people enter relationships with expectations that the other partner will give up the vice.

2. Cheating- For many reasons, cheating is one of the most destructive experience a couple can endure. Once trust between two people is compromised, it rarely ever returns. Cheating destroys intimacy and the victimized partner may become depressed, vindictive or obsessed with their partners whereabouts.

1. Money- The leading saboteur of relationships is money. Couples who don’t agree on spending, investing, saving, may have relationship difficulties. If couples are unwilling to compromise, money issues may divide them.

Fed up with rude behavior?
Fed up with rude behavior?

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    • Maria Arsiq profile image

      Marija Arsic 2 years ago from Serbia

      You hit the spot with this hub ! So true ! For a long time I haven`t read something like this....Great work !

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The Top 25 Things Sabotaging Your Relationship: Are You Contributing so well mentioned a useful and most informative hub on this topic

    • William Gerace profile image

      William Gerace 4 years ago from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      Tammy this article is heads on. I love it and will definitely use some of these points in my relationship. I definitely see myself in some of these situations. Thanks so much for writing this. Great job as always.

    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 4 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      Excellent advice! I can honestly admit I have been known the sabotage a relationship a time or two. I need to work on some of these issues myself. Thanks for the suggestions!

    • ishwaryaa22 profile image

      Ishwaryaa Dhandapani 4 years ago from Chennai, India

      An extremely comprehensive & well-written hub with many valid points! I agree with all 25 points wisely stated by you. Here you spoke like a relationship expert. Way to go!

      Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & shared

    • profile image

      teennanna 4 years ago

      I am really impressed with this hub. This answered a lot of questions I had concerning my past relationships and the current one I'm in as well. I really appreciate the time and detail you put into this! This is top notch, thank you for the insights :)

    • MissJamieD profile image

      MissJamieD 4 years ago from Minnes-O-ta

      This is a great hub, these are all things that many of us deal with at one time or another, for sure! Good job:)

    • tammyswallow profile image
      Author

      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much acaetnna! I appreciate your kind comment!

    • acaetnna profile image

      acaetnna 4 years ago from Guildford

      Wow I know I've read this brilliant hub. I thought that I had left a comment, but I clearly have not posted my comment, sorry! You covered so much here that many couples can relate to. Voting up most definitely and pressing those buttons too!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading vespawoolf. This is a tragic problem!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, this is a daunting list of issues! All of us deal with one or more of these, so it's good to recognize where we're lacking so we can face the problems head-on. I so agree that we need to come into the relationship with our eyes wide open and a strong sense of identity. Thank you for sharing.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much Suzie HQ! I appreciate your visit and your kind comment.

    • Suzie HQ profile image

      Suzanne Ridgeway 4 years ago from Dublin, Ireland

      Hi Tammy,

      What a great thorough list that are all so accurate inclusions! Relationships take work that's for sure and with so many possible obstacles it is a wonder they survive. Well thought out my friend in your usual style. Really enjoyed this one, VU +++++ shared on !!

    • thelyricwriter profile image

      Richard Ricky Hale 4 years ago from West Virginia

      Tammy, very interesting article. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. You really covered a broad subject here very well, in many areas. This is an article that can be both beneficial and healing, as well as so much more.

    • Sharyn's Slant profile image

      Sharon Smith 4 years ago from Northeast Ohio USA

      Well holy crap Tammy, I think you've covered it all and then some. Those who may not be in a relationship currently may be afraid to start another, hmmmm. At least until that take a close look at these important things that can definitely sabotage a relationship. I'm guilty, but not really with the top 10 nor do I lie, phew.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      You are absolutley right Kasman! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

    • Kasman profile image

      Kas 4 years ago from Bartlett, Tennessee

      Wow Tammy, talk about thought provoking. As someone who is married, I know my wife and I could learn a lot from the points here. Also, I'm sure we've stepped in some of these points at times. The key is not 50/50 in the relationship. It's 100/100. Also Jesus has a good deal to do with that as well. Great hub, voting up!

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      Wow, this is really thought-provoking. All of us deal with one or more of these issues. We have to be really committed to our relationship to make it work.These are great reminders. Thanks!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 4 years ago from Clinton CT

      This was a great list...very comprehensive and quite true too!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      You make some great points Windclimber. When one person is picky about their food or only likes their own cooking, people can squabble. Thanks for stopping by!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks always exploring. Thanks for reading!

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      i agree with you tammy. gteat list and how true. I experienced them once in a while.

    • Windclimber profile image

      Windclimber 4 years ago from my boat somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay

      Good job, Tammy! For your #1, I like how you elaborated on the money issue: it's not just the lack of it that causes strain, but also the question of what to do with any money left after getting groceries and paying rent. I've heard that the number 1 thing couples fight about is money, and number 2 is food - what to eat, who cooks, etc.

      Maybe somehow, someway, we could get every high school kid in America to read this . . .

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Fuller 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I'm with Nell, being single 'ain't that bad. lol..All kidding aside, your hub is full of great ideas to improve relationships. Thank's for sharing..

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks aviannovice!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Good to see you Nell Rose. Thanks for reading!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      You are right Austinstar. We focus so much on changing others, we don't work enough on ourselves. Thanks for reading!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 4 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      These are all sensible problems for relationships. You did a great job in putting all this together.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Well Alocsin, I think the real problem would be not seeing anything about yourself in the list. Thanks for stopping by!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Whoa fpher48! You know, there is a sense of logic linking the two.. :)

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      I know what you mean Sherry, I think it is mostly a female mechanism. When it is humorous I don't think it hurts, but some of us know how to use it as a weapon. Thanks so much for reading!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading midget! Defensiveness is a tricky factor. It can mean so many things.

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much for your kind comment Kdeus. :)

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      Hi tammy, this covers virtually everything and is really interesting too, it just makes me glad that I am single at the moment! it really does take years sometimes to blend in with each other, but sadly its the younger ones that go through all this mainly, and that's when the trouble starts and they split up, if they can get through these then they are made for life! voted up! nell

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Tammy, I have bookmarked this subperb and comprehensive hub; a must-read for all. (Twenty-five factors...my goodness, no wonder there are so many divorces.) We sometimes take too much for granted in relationships, and forget that they take work. Up ++. :-)

    • Austinstar profile image

      Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

      All of this is oh so true, but I see a new hub in the making on how to deal with some of these issues.

      Attitudes and behaviors are some of the toughest things to change.

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 4 years ago from Orange County, CA

      Yikes I'm recognizing a few of my personal characteristics in this list. It's a sobering reminder that you always need to be "tuning up" your relationship. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Tammy...I AM celibate........oh, sorry, you said, "celebrity," didn't you.

    • Sherry Hewins profile image

      Sherry Hewins 4 years ago from Sierra Foothills, CA

      I think sarcasm is my downfall. Sometimes it's good, but you have to know when to stop.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 4 years ago from Singapore

      All these are indeed contributing factors. Especially defensiveness! All point to a lack of communication too. Thanks for sharing, Tammy! Passing this well written hub on.

    • KDeus profile image

      Keely Deuschle 4 years ago from Florida

      Fantastic hub! I also agree with others who said it was one of the best I've read. Great job!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Lol Paula, I am not sure humans will ever get it through their heads. I don't think humans will get beyond their primal mindsets. I appreciate you stopping by. I love your new photo. You look like a celebrity!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Human nature is pretty gruesome sometimes! Thanks for stopping by Carol!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much Monis Mas! I appreciate your wonderful compliment!

    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 4 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Good Grief! Twenty-five things that can potentially sabotage a relationship??!! That many? LOL.....Of course, I'm kidding, Tammy, dear. You probably could have listed more, huh? But, I realize you went with the top 25....and the ultimate TOP TEN! Watch out for these !!

      You have done a superb job presenting this interesting list of relationship dangers. You certainly covered the worst of them and explained them for ALL to understand. Bravo! Your style makes reading very enjoyable.

      Just a guess here.....but I wonder how many million years it will take for human beings to GET THIS INTO THEIR HEADS??? LOL UP+++

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 4 years ago from Arizona

      You covered it all and all of us have been guilty a little bit of a few of these things..Temporarily of course..except the cheating and lying..That never works..There are certain issues that pop their ugly head occasionally and are the downfall of a relationship.. However with that being said you covered every aspect..Great hub..Up and a share.

    • LisaKoski profile image

      LisaKoski 4 years ago from WA

      You've made a lot of great points here. I can definitely relate to a few of them myself. Great hub!

    • Monis Mas profile image

      Aga 4 years ago

      This is absolutely fantastic hub on relationships. One of the best I have ever read! Well researched and it keeps a reader interested!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks for reading Susan!

    • Just Ask Susan profile image

      Susan Zutautas 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I can honestly say I can see a few things here that relate to me and my other half as well. Time to get back to work on our relationship I think.

      Fantastic hub!

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks so much billybuc. This list doesn't include the small things such as leaving the toilet seat up, but we shouldn't sweat the small stuff. Thanks for reading my friend. :)

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      You pretty much nailed everything with this one, Tammy! I can't think of a single thing that you missed. Well done! I think I'm okay on a personal level. :) Hopefully Bev would say the same thing. LOL

    • tammyswallow profile image
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      Tammy 4 years ago from North Carolina

      Thanks! That means a great deal coming from the lovedoctor! :)

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      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      This is one of the best relationship hubs that I've read so far. Voting up & sharing.