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What Causes A Relationship to Fail

Updated on May 5, 2011
It is but right to hope for something good in a relationship but let not our anticipation develop into despair within our life. (Photo Courtesy of Roy Lachica)
It is but right to hope for something good in a relationship but let not our anticipation develop into despair within our life. (Photo Courtesy of Roy Lachica)

Barriers to our Relationship Communication

"Hey, what's your problem?" Doesn’t this phrase sound familiar? Every time we argue with our spouse, family and friends, we always ask them this question. You started with a nice dinner then a good discussion about money, children, politics, or even just a mere television show that later you find yourself disagreeing with each other. But wait! Why it did eventually ends up into a big fight? If you have observe it, it has a good start but after shortly it ended up in a bad night. So sad, isn’t it? If we don’t start checking ourselves what causes a relationship to fail, we might not notice it again that it will eventually end.

There are a lot of barriers in communication that affects any relationship. In this article, we shall tackle some of these hindrances that may affect us.


- Every one of us was raised in a different family environment. We have developed these sets of values, principles, beliefs, and attitudes that our parents have taught us. We have grown into a unique individual that has our own character and personality. These definitely influence us on the way we deal with others and how we handle our life. For instance, somebody who was raised in a religious family usually starts every meal with a prayer but a person who is not used to it will certainly find it uncomfortable. A person who was raised in a conservative family behaves differently compared to somebody who was brought up in a modern way of lifestyle. Each will speak, dress, walk, thinks, or sees things differently. It establishes how we communicate with our partners, families, friends, and colleagues. It also has a big impact on how well we shall do in our career and personal life. If we refuse to understand and accept the kind of upbringing our partner has, it eventually will hinder us to grow in our relationship. It can contribute to our problems if we don’t learn to accept each other’s strengths and weaknesses.


- Our preconceived ideas and belief comprises our own biases to each other. When we assume something about our partner, it usually hinders us to listen effectively. Let us say for example, wives may assume that their husbands are doing something fishy if they have experienced seeing their partners with other women. In the same way that if husbands felt that their wives are too possessive, they tend to assume maliciously every time they are being asked about their activities. We, as part of our society, have also developed our own notion and speculations about the people we meet everyday. These may be influenced by the news that we heard on television and read on the newspapers. The news about the crimes, politics, economic recession, health, unemployment, and a lot more. The way we perceived others, our society and ourselves creates an impact on how we express ourselves and how our relationship will work.

If you happen to watch the Dr. Phil show entitled “What No One Wants to Admit” last October 23, 2009 at CBS, he talks about the different cultures in our society. His group discussed about the racial stereotypes and subtle attacks that our society feels about African American, Asian, Hispanic or Latino, or Caucasian especially on the event that America has elected the first African American President Obama. The show was very informative and perhaps, you can check out his website.


- Based on the book “The Sav-on Health Self-care Advisor”, it says “Stress is our reaction to anything – good or bad – that upsets our balance. . . Stress often comes from painful situations you feel you can’t control: job burnout, money problems, grief, or divorce.”

There are a lot of different kinds of stress that affects our relationship communication. It may include from lesser stress of arguing who has the right judgment about a television show or whose turn is it to watch the baby or wash the clothes. Other significant stress situations may involve financial standing, social status, work pressure, or family expectations. These create tension that manipulates our emotions which eventually controls our reactions. We do not need bring to work our problems at work. In the same way that if we have difficulty in the office we should not pass it on to our family. We can discuss our concerns and dilemma with each other but we should allow our stressful emotions to carry out another stress.


- Don’t we feel good when our families and friends trust us? Don’t we feel happy when they remember us or call us especially during special occasions? Don’t we feel light when we are together with people we like and love to be with? With full of trust and interaction in our life, we become more responsible and inspired to do things better that we usually do. It motivates us to work harder and live life to the fullest. On the other hand, our lack of trust and interaction with our family, colleagues and friends leads to a relationship communication problem. If we have limited conversation with our spouses, this may lead to a misunderstanding because we don’t know much about our partner. We don’t know what is happening to them. It then leads to an assumption . . . a mere guess of how each other feels. We become more doubtful. If an employee feels that his boss doesn’t trust him, he may lose his interest in his work. The level of our relationship is affected by the level of trust and interaction that we have developed with each other.

As what Stephen M.R. Covey says in his book The Speed of Trust, “trust is one of the most powerful forms of motivation and inspiration. People want to be trusted. They respond to trust. They thrive on trust. Whatever our situation, we need to get good at establishing, extending, and restoring trust – not as a manipulative technique, but as the most effective way of relating to and working with others, and the most effective way of getting results.”


- The differences in culture in our society affect the way we communicate in our relationship. Caucasian, African American, Hispanic or Latino, Italian, or even Asian speaks and behaves differently. Anybody who marries somebody who comes from a different culture should learn to accept one’s culture. Our ability to understand one’s traditions and way of life contributes to the effectiveness of our communication skill that builds our relationship. It creates an impact in our personal and career life. Italians are more known for pasta whereas Hispanic people are identified for spicy food. Americans are famous for burgers and fries while Asians are recognized for fish and rice as their staple food. We used different languages such as Spanish, Italian, French, Filipino, Chinese, Thai, etc. and pronounced the English language differently too. We might find these things as quite simple, but if one doesn’t try to appreciate the other person’s culture, it can affect our relationship communication.


- It is but normal that we have our expectations about life. When one marries somebody, we already have that thought at the back of our minds on what we expect from our partners. There are times that our expectations were not met that lead to our frustrations. Our disappointment affects the way we communicate in our relationship. As the saying goes, “What is ideal may not be real.” Our prince charming may not really be a real prince. Our favorite employee may not be the best among the rest. Reality may not really jive with our expectations. It is but right to hope for something good in a relationship but let not our anticipation develop into despair within our life. We can express optimism of what we want, but we should extend a probability of error.


- In the field of Psychology, we have studied different theories about personality development. One of which is the Psychoanalysis Theory founded by the well-known Sigmund Freud. According to the Freudian theory, “The ego represents what may be called reason and common sense, in contrast to the id . . .” Based on his study, the “id” was known as the “pleasure principle and the “super-ego” controls our sense of guilt. While our ego acts as a mediator between our id and super-ego. Our id do things that seek pleasure to avoid pain, our super-ego will then aim for perfection to determine what is right and wrong and our ego will then intercede to find balance to satisfy both. Freud refers to our ego as the sense of self, our judgment and tolerance to our external world.

In today’s world, our ego may mean one’s self-esteem, self-confidence or self-worth. It is the part of how we look at ourselves. If we have a low self-esteem, we usually tend to become defensive in our relationship or how we deal with others. People have difficulty in controlling their emotions implies that they have a difficulty in balancing their ego, which tends to let them become more defensive. However, our performance increases if our confidence level is high. Our family, our career, our achievements, our friends, and the society have an influence in our self-ego. The way we perceive ourselves contributes to the way we perceive others.

When I usually write, I love to use acronyms because it is easier to remember. I am sharing this to all readers that if we have these barriers in our communication then there is a big possibility that our relationship will end up a F A I L U R E.


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    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      8 years ago

      Hi Doctor Phil,

      I really appreciate your comment. However, not all people who are labeled as “meatheads” or stupid are bad; in the same way, not all brainy people or geniuses are good. Perhaps, you may need a lot of patience to explain things to somebody stupid, but you may also need the same patience to put up with the possible perfectionism or even arrogance of brainy people. It is the inner character and values of any individual that matters most. With regards to dating the trendy glamorous high maintenance chicks, oh well, the person must first discover the financial status of both sides. One must understand the person’s strength and weaknesses before getting involved into a relationship. Thank you for checking out this hub. Have a great week!

    • profile image

      Doctor phil 

      8 years ago

      That's why you shouldn't date meatheads or trendy glamy high maintenance chicks... typically blondes usually.

    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      8 years ago

      Hi Crystolite,

      We might have met in another life that it is as if I knew your problems. haha . . . just kidding. I’m sorry to hear that you’re having difficulties with your present relationship. However, I’m glad this article helped you understand your situation. I hope you and your partner might be able to settle your differences. I really appreciate that you’ve shared a bit about your experience. Thank you for checking out this hub. Enjoy your weekend!

    • crystolite profile image


      8 years ago from Houston TX

      Great tips you really shared in here.Bravo,its just as if you knew the problems am always having with my relationships before you published this article.Actually,the issue of trust and ego has done so many damages to my relationships that so times i pity myself.Thanks for really educating me and most pleased to read from you.

    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      8 years ago

      Hi ilovetowrite94, thank you for checking out this hub. Greatly appreciated.

    • ilovetowrite94 profile image


      8 years ago


    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      9 years ago

      Hi Eiddwen, I'm glad that you find it interesting to read. I really appreciate it. Thank you.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      9 years ago from Wales

      Really interesting, loved it. Can't wait to read more of your work!

    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      9 years ago

      Hi GmaGoldie, thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate it. Have a great week!

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      9 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Very well done. The memory and the acronym is a great branding tool as well. Excellent - organization and writing style. Thank you!

    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      9 years ago

      Hi Glenn, I am so glad to read such comment from a writer & book author like you. Thank you so much.

    • Glenn Stok profile image

      Glenn Stok 

      9 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Very well planned hub with a lot of useful ideas. It seems to all come down to "understanding" one another to avoid failure. I especially love the way your subheadings spell the acronym.

    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      9 years ago

      Thank you for your additional insight. In this hub, I emphasized more on the causes that makes a relationship fail. I also agree with you that we can build a stronger relationship if we make God as the center of our life.

      I really appreciate your comment. Again, thank you.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Great analysis! All of the above is so true. I also find that sometimes when partners grow at different levels, they tend to grow apart. One partner may strive to have a more personal relationship with God, and grow spiritually while the other may have no interest whatsoever in this new lifestyle. This too will present a problem, one handled best by God if we learn to trust Him. Thanks for the interesting read!! peace.

    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      9 years ago

      I agree that stress is really a major factor in a relationship. It may come in varying degrees. The couple's love for each other will help to settle things and to continue to hope that everything will get better again. However, as the saying goes "It takes two to tango." So each has it's own role in making things right.

      Thank you for reading this hub.

    • WriteAngled profile image


      9 years ago from Abertawe, Cymru

      Stress is definitely a major factor, particularly when each of the couple is affected. Expectations are terrible things, especially when they have been met for a long time and then something happens so they no longer are. I guess this is where love steps in, urging us to continue hoping that the wheel will turn once more to better things...

    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      9 years ago

      Hi jdavidsa. My apology for my late reply. Being a Psychology major, I hope that I can help other people too. Thank your for taking your time to read this hub.

    • jdavidsa profile image


      10 years ago from Miami FL


      Nice Hub, You are going to be a great person in Psychology.

    • TINA V profile imageAUTHOR

      TINA V 

      10 years ago

      that encourage me to write more. thank you so much.

    • wrenfrost56 profile image


      10 years ago from U.K.

      Great hub Tina V, I really enjoyed reading it. Its original, content rich and has a picture, you can't ask for more then that! Well done.


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