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Breaking Up With Your Partner: Why Relationships Fail

Updated on November 26, 2016

You've been worried.

You've noticed signs that things might not be as okay as you thought between you and your partner.

You've tried to understand, to fix, to help, to pretend that all is fine, to give space, to listen, but nothing seems to have made any difference.

Finally it has hit you that your relationship is breaking up, and it hurts! It really, really hurts!

Why? What is going on? Why hasn't it worked out for ever and ever?

At a Glance

Reasons relationships fail:

  • Financial problems
  • Sex problems
  • Communication problems
  • Lack of awareness
  • False sense of reality
  • Little or no commitment
  • Blurred boundaries
  • Interference by others

Reasons Relationships Fail

Every single relationship is unique, so unfortunately it's impossible to say exactly why your relationship in particular might be breaking up. However, we can definitely work through some ideas which might help you to see things from a clearer perspective.

I know that you are feeling sad and confused, so the most important thing to realise is that unless you have specifically done something to hurt your partner, or that person has deliberately treated you badly, no-one is to blame. Relationships end, and it's usually the fault of circumstances, not the people involved.

To start to understand, most relationships fail due to common problems, some which can be resolved, and some which have no solution.

So let's look at those first. If you recognise yourself and/or your partner in these examples, it may give you some insight.

The Big Three

Many therapists suggest that there are only three real reasons why relationships fail.

These are:

  • Financial problems
  • Sex problems
  • Communication problems

While this is a very simplified view, it is a good place to look to start analysing what might be going wrong in your own relationship.

Financial problems cause major stress, especially when spending habits between partners differ. Conveyed feelings of pressure, disappointment and fear are all factors in relationship break ups.

Problems in the bedroom can stem from all kinds of life changes and insecurities. You will know if this is you!

Issues with communication mean that no problem can ever be resolved. Feeling free and secure enough to communicate with a responsive, compassionate partner is essential in any relationship. Without proper communication, the relationship really cannot work.

There are also deeper reasons based on personality and expectations that lead to a break down of a relationship.

No Awareness of Real Situations

People who are unaware are unable to see the reality of situations, and if a problem arises, they are very quick to blame the other partner. It will always be the other person's fault, and there will be no attempt to see if there is anything they themselves could be doing differently.

They will expect a partner to change or accept the circumstances, no matter what.


Little or No Commitment

People who get into a relationship for convenience or public acceptance or other self-centred reasons are usually not committed to the relationship working.

These people won't be prepared to do anything differently, regardless of the needs of a partner.

They will appear to lack interest and behave in a distant and detached way, especially when there are issues to be addressed. They are not interested in talking things through, or listening. Resolving problems is not important.

Because of the lack of emotional involvement, these people usually hold most of the power in a relationship. They are there to control, and will usually try anything to get their own way by using whatever means possible - lying, intimidating and manipulating in a variety of ways such as embarrassing, disapproving or questioning everything.

Confusion About Boundaries

Boundaries are an understood set of rules and values governing every relationship.

It is important that both partners are clear right from the beginning as to the other partner's expectations of boundaries.

If a boundary is seen to be crossed and the issue is not resolved, a break up will usually result quite quickly.

Crossing some boundaries is often the cause of an instant relationship breakdown. A classic example is if one partner has a physical encounter with a third party.

Third Party Problems

In any relationship, the initial excitement gradually is replaced by something more - security, companionship, trust, love ...

We all have our highs and our lows, and sometimes a person will seek out excitement to overcome a low time in their life. Alternatively, sometimes the opportunity to relive some of that initial excitement presents itself.

I'm talking about crushes. These are normal, and will usually pass if not acted upon seriously. However, they can cause distance between partners and can lead to a break up.

Third parties such as family members or friends can also cause problems if they are given too much priority over a partner.

Is someone else involved in your relationship's potential break up?


What To Do? My Suggestions

Whatever the reason for your potential relationship break up, the most important thing is moving forward.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself:

  • Is the relationship worth trying to save?
    If you honestly assess the situation and realise that it's time to move on ... do so. It will be hard, and you will feel grief, but you will eventually recover and be happier.
    If, on the other hand, you have identified an issue that makes you honestly believe something can be changed to save the relationship and make it work in the future, talk to your partner, and perhaps try to go to therapy. If your partner is unwilling, do not force them, just give them space and move on if you have to.
  • Who can I talk to?
    Surrounding yourself with empathetic friends and family, or getting help from a therapist, is probably the best way to cope with a break up. Too much time alone will just prolong the grief and make you feel lonely. There are lots of people who care about you - let them help you!
  • Will I ever feel better?
    YES! Almost every adult in the world has been through a relationship break up of some kind. You will feel better, and you might even count yourself lucky!!

Moving Forward

Never forget that you are a worthwhile individual. Just because this relationship might not have worked, it doesn't mean that there isn't happiness for you right around the corner.

Over the coming weeks and months, if things don't work out, you will feel a huge range of emotions. Some days you will be accepting, others you will be angry, other days you will feel sad and miserable.

But it passes ...

Remember, whatever has happened in the past, you deserve love, and you will find it when the time is right.

There is ALWAYS hope!!


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