4 Reasons Why Relationships Fail, Even When THAT Person is ‘The One’


By Jane Dizon

Guest writer for Wake Up World

Most of us want to be with someone who understands, appreciates, and loves us for who we are. We’re looking for the one who says all the right things at exactly the right time. (That sounded like lyrics to a song because it is the lyrics to a song called ‘Everything You Want’ by Vertical Horizon. Okay, back to my point…) We’re constantly looking for the one, the ideal partner, to settle down with, and we want that relationship to last. [1]

The thing is, for many of us, it never happens. We don’t know why. And despite that person possessing all the things we want for a partner, it always seems to end in a sad dissolution.

What’s wrong with me? I know you may be asking yourself that question. If you are, there’s no better first step forward than contemplating these four main reasons relationships fail. Of course, all couples are unique in their own ways and there may be other complex factors that are not mentioned here. But I hope you’ll be enlightened, and that new knowledge will help you realize and improve how you handle your relationship with your significant other. If you see any of these factors in yourself and your own relationship, it’s never too late to address them. Remember, it’s better that you know exactly what is going wrong in your life, so you know exactly what to do to make it right.

4 Reasons Why Relationships Fail…

1. Self-Sabotage

A behavior is self-sabotaging when in an attempt to solve a problem causes another problem. People who self-sabotage have this tendency to deny themselves happiness, pleasure, success, or love.[2] You let that inner voice take over you so you end up getting in your own way. Like if you want your significant other to move with you, that inner voice will tell you, “Why would you want to do that? It will never work. You will just break up anyways so why make things complicated?” So you never talk about that topic and when your partner opens it up, you argue.

Another self-sabotaging behavior is dodging your emotions.[3] You try to avoid dealing with intense feelings so you venture on an alternative, one that is more intense, and that often gets you into trouble. An example to this is you’d rather drink yourself to death at a bar somewhere and vent your emotions by engaging in a brawl than discuss your issues with your partner.

The problem with self-sabotaging is it’s a part of you. It’s in you. That inner voice is you. It has become an attitude you’ve been holding to yourself for a long time. When things don’t go your way, when you are uncomfortable with a situation, when you feel guilty, that behavior of self-destructing kicks in.[4]

There’s no other way to address self-sabotaging than acting up against your pessimistic inner voice. Know your patterns and familiarize yourself with your defensive habits. Changing old, embedded habits is not easy. That inner voice helped you survive tough situations but it no longer serves you well today now you’re in a relationship. It’s now time to stop depending on it.

2. Trust Issues

In a world where everything is uncertain, it has become a habit on most people not to trust anyone. Sure you have family, friends, and partners that you can rely on but even to them, the thought of trusting is appalling to you. Trust issue in adults is almost always a result of childhood experiences — bad ones — like your parents’ inconsistencies in meeting your needs or worst, domestic abuse.[5] Your parents are the first people you learn to trust and when that bond is damaged, it can lead to distrustful relationships of all kinds later in your adult life.[6] The trust versus mistrust stage is after all the most important period in one’s life according to Erik Erikson.[7]

Trust in relationship is so vital, it’s the one holding it together. It’s the very foundation of the emotional connection between partners.[8] If the other person is struggling to trust the other, it can disrupt any relationship. Distrust creates a wall that blocks openness between partners. It draws out all the faith in the relationship and in the end, you no longer believe what you’ve been told because you’ve been consumed by your own suspicions.

It doesn’t matter how much you love each other; no words or actions can reassure that you have nothing to worry about. That inner voice tells you to doubt and be cynical to all people, even to those you love.

To truly break out of distrust, you have to trust yourself first. I know you’ve heard of this. It has been said a lot of time because it’s true. You have to trust yourself before trusting other people.[9] Trust that you’re making the right decision of putting faith on your relationship. Trust that you’re ready to open up. Trust that you can be transparent with your thoughts and feelings. Let go of your defenses. Openness is the key to a healthy and lasting relationship.

3. Unknown Fear of Intimacy

When I ask my friends as to why they are still single, more often than not, I get the same answers rooted from one reason — fear of intimacy. Most people are aware they’re afraid to commit so they don’t. And there are those who are not aware of it. They don’t know that that part of them exists until they involve themselves in a relationship and realize how terrifying it is.

Like distrust, fear of intimacy starts to develop early in your life. As a child you learn how to defend yourself from feeling negative emotions like rejection, disappointment, and guilt.[10] You shut down and create your own little bubble. You feel safe inside but still feared someone might burst it.

Unaware of this fear, you incautiously open up and expose yourself to your partner until you realize that you’ve given up so much, you’ve became vulnerable to emotional pain. That person can now affect you. That person can hurt your feelings. You feel threatened so you become cautious of what you say and do. You slowly build distance between you and your partner thinking if you choose flight over fight, you don’t have to open up anymore, and that should solve the problem. However, the only thing it does is ease your anxiety and direct your relationship to a conclusion that is unjustified.

When you recognize that you’re afraid of intimacy, it can be hard and even embarrassing. You thought you’re brave enough to handle it but you chose to run away.[11] Tell your partner about this. Being honest about it is the first step. You have to be the one who’ll burst your own bubble. It’s not intimacy you’re really afraid of, it’s what comes after. With your partner aware of your struggles, you can talk about it as a couple. Always keep an open line and don’t make assumptions.

4. It’s Not Your Priority

Psychoanalysis aside, maybe love is just not your priority right now — plain and simple. This is where the right-person-wrong-time cliché comes in. You don’t have bad childhood experiences to blame on all your failed relationships, on the contrary, you’re living a great life. It’s just, you’re not yet at a point wherein you want to share it with someone. And it’s totally okay!

Being single allows you to know more about yourself, spiritually speaking.[12] Sometimes you’re looking for someone but what you’re really looking for is yourself. The challenge is to build a strong and healthy relationship to your mind, body, and soul. When you know exactly what you like, what exactly you’re looking for, it will start to make sense.

What now?

Relationships are like children. They’re demanding and needy. And like having a child, you have to take care of your relationship because no one else will. It requires commitment, selflessness, and willingness to become vulnerable. You will get hurt some times, because these are real feelings, your feelings, that you’re putting on the table. You have to be willing and able to handle both the pain and joy of being in a relationship, and that takes commitment. If it’s just not a priority for you, you may find you are better off on your own.


  • [1] Robert J. Sternberg, Karin Weis (2006). The New Psychology of Love.
  • [2] William J. Matta (2006). Relationship Sabotage: Unconscious Factors that Destroy Couples, Marriages and Family.
  • [3] George Skoglund (2014). The Pain Principle: Relationships and Reconciliation: Why We Need Other People and Other People Need Us To Avoid Recurring Emotional Pain
  • [4] Stanley Rosner, Patricia Hermes (2006). The Self-sabotage Cycle: Why We Repeat Behaviors that Create Hardships and Ruin Relationships.
  • [5] Available at: http://www.psychalive.org/trust-issues. Accessed June 22, 2015.
  • [6] Alan L. Hensley (2011). The Dissociation of Abigail: A Psychodynamic and Behavioral Assessment including Traumatic Incident Reduction (TIR).
  • [7] Paul S. Kaplan, Jean Stein (1984). Psychology of Adjustment.
  • [8] Stephen M. R. Covey (2006). The Speed of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything.
  • [9] Gayla Wick (2016). The Art of Attracting Authentic Love: A Transformational Four-Step Process.
  • [10] Gayle Rosellini, Mark Worden (1990). Barriers to Intimacy: For People Torn by Addiction and Compulsive Behavior.
  • [11] Available at: http://lightwayofthinking.com/avoider-mentality-and-fear-of-intimacy
  • [12] Jim Towns (2012). Validating Singles: Strategies for Living Single. Accessed June 22, 2015.
  • Bio photo:

About the author:

Jane DizonJane is a lifestyle, health, fitness and nutrition enthusiast, and blogger. A nurse by profession and a writer by passion, she’s currently a writer at a branding agency in Edmonton by day, and a ‘ninja mom’ by night. She has a soft spot for macadamia chocolate and green tea.

You can connect with Jane on Twitter and Google+.


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