6 Reasons Your Relationship is Suffering

6 Reasons Your Relationship is Suffering

“Every relationship needs an argument every now and then.  Just to prove that it is strong enough to survive.  Long-term relationships, the ones that matter, are all about weathering the peaks and the valleys.”
―Nicholas Sparks

At some point we all get involved in a serious relationship, be it falling in love with a significant other, or simply establishing an amazingly close friendship.  As soon as this relationship is in place, both parties must do their part to nurture it.   When they fail to do so, solidarity is gradually replaced with suffering.

Although I sincerely hope your closest relationships are not suffering, if you have found yourself in this kind of predicament (as we all do sometimes), chances are the problem can be traced back to one or a few causes.  If your relationships are all rainbows and butterflies right now, consider yourself lucky – this list will simply provide some good food for thought.

1.  Presumed expectations about how someone “should be.”

You don’t love and appreciate someone because they’re perfect, you love and appreciate them in spite of the fact that they are not.  “Perfection” is a deadly fantasy – something none of us will ever be.  So beware of your tendency to “fix” someone when they’re NOT broken.  They are perfectly imperfect, just the way they should be.

Truthfully, the less you expect from someone you care about, the happier your relationship with them will be.  No one in your life will act exactly as you hope or expect them to, ever.  They are not YOU – they will not love, give, understand or respond like you do.

The biggest disappointments in life and in relationships are the result of misplaced expectations.  Tempering unrealistic expectations of how something or someone “should be” will greatly reduce unnecessary frustration and suffering.  (I’ve written about this extensively in the “Relationships” chapter of “1,000 Little Things Happy, Successful People Do Differently.”)

2.  Searching for the missing pieces of YOU in someone else.

When we’re feeling incomplete, we tend to go out looking for somebody else to complete us.  Initially we meet someone who’s compatible with us and they distract us from our deficiency, at least for a while.  Then a few months or years into the relationship, we find that we’re still feeling incomplete, so we blame our friend or lover.  It feels like they’ve changed, but in reality they haven’t; they’ve just become less of a distraction to our own growing, inner void.

Ultimately what you need to realize is that while a close friend or lover can add beautiful dimensions to your life, YOU are responsible for your own fulfillment.  Only you can complete yourself.  Nobody else can provide your missing pieces, and to believe otherwise is to succumb to a lifetime of feeling broken, as every relationship you enter eventually ends in hopeless disappointment.

3.  Poor communication.

Perhaps there’s something that really bothers you about your friend or lover.  Why aren’t you saying something?  Are you afraid they’ll get upset?  Maybe they will and maybe they won’t.  Either way you need to deal with it upfront, constructively, and avoid burying it until it worsens, festers and explodes out of you.

Great communication is the cornerstone of a great relationship.  If you have resentment, you must talk it out rather than let the resentment grow.  If you’re feeling jealous, you must communicate in an open and honest manner to address your insecurities.  If you have expectations of your friend or lover, you must communicate them clearly.  If there are any problems whatsoever, you must get them out of your head and into the open so they can be worked out.

Information is the grease that keeps the engine of communication running.  Always give the important people in your life the information they need to understand you.  And communicate more than just problems – communicate the good things too.  Share what you love about your friend or lover.  Share what is going on in your mind and heart.  Share your deepest thoughts, needs, wishes, hopes and dreams.  (Read The 5 Love Languages.)

4.  Little lies that add up.

Anything is better than lies.  They are like a cancer in the heart and soul.  They eat away what is good and leave only decay and devastation behind.  If you spend your life learning to lie to the people around you, not only will you hurt and deceive them, you will also hurt and deceive yourself – you will forget your own truth.

There is perhaps no phenomenon that is more destructive to a relationship than dishonesty, which permits envy, hate and deception to be acted out under the guise of love and virtue.  Even the smallest, seemingly innocent lies eventually snowball into larger issues.  Stand by the whole truth – your truth – always.  If you say you’re going to do something, DO IT!  If you say you’re going to be somewhere, BE THERE!  If you say you feel something, MEAN IT!  If you can’t, won’t and don’t, then DON’T LIE.

It’s always better to tell the whole truth up front.  Don’t play games with the minds and hearts of others.  Don’t tell half-truths and expect your friends or lover to trust you when the full truth comes out; half-truths are no better than lies.

Remember, love and friendship don’t hurt.  Lying, cheating and messing with people’s feelings and emotions hurts.  Honesty is the healing remedy.

5.  Lack of presence.

Presence is complete awareness, or paying full attention to “the now.”  If you do not find at least some amount of presence in the moments you share with those you care about, it is impossible to listen, speak, compromise, or otherwise connect with them on a meaningful level.

Presence is looking inward and learning how to be with yourself, in the moment, see the gears turning, embrace what’s in your immediate vicinity, and thereby put space around destructive thoughts of other times and places, as you apply your full energy to the “here and now.”  The idea is that you must first attend to the reality of the moment before you can effectively contribute anything positive to it.

Simply being completely present with someone else is difficult because it requires you to share yourself completely, vulnerabilities and all, and enter a moment of unguarded honesty with this person.

To cultivate your presence, all you need to do is sit quietly for as long as you desire and put your full attention on your breath – thinking only of what each inhale and exhale feels like.  Don’t judge or resist your inner-workings.  Simply accept and breathe.  Practice this a few times a day, and it will start to feel more natural.  This way, when you are in the thick of a deep conversation with a friend or partner, you can access that presence and listen without judgment or impatience, speak with clarity, and learn to fully connect and compromise.

Bottom line:  Be Present.  Give the people you care about your full attention.  Let them see they’re own beauty in your eyes.  Let them find their own voice through your listening ears.  Help them discover their own greatness in your presence.  (Read The Power of Now.)

6.  Some relationships aren’t meant to last.

There are certain people who aren’t meant to fit into your life in the long-term no matter how much you want them to.  They pass through your life in a shorter time frame than you had hoped to teach you things they never could have taught you if they stayed.

So many people think friends or lovers have to be the perfect fit, because that’s what everyone tells you to want – that’s the Hollywood love story.  Of course, it’s nice when relationships stay healthy and last, but that doesn’t mean your failed relationships aren’t equally as important.  Some people you engage with will be like a mirror – people who show you things that are holding you back, people who show you the ways that don’t work, people who bring your insecurities and misjudgments to your own attention so you can change your life.

It’s these people – the ones who come into your life for a short time and teach you a priceless lesson – that are some of the most important people you will ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you until you’re wide awake.

Do you want to live with these people in your life forever?  No way – that would be way too painful!  They come into your life to shake you up, tear apart your ego, flip your perspective, show you your obstacles, break your heart and mind open so new rays of light can shine in, just to reveal another layer of YOU to yourself, and then they move on like they’re supposed to.

Take their lessons as gifts and be sure you move on too.

Your turn…

What would you add to the list?  Why do some good relationships go bad?  Please leave a comment below and share your insights with us.

Photo by: Mark Sebastian


  1. Jen says

    Number 1 is super important. During some of the more “awkward” times in my relationship, I have to stop myself and remember that he is another person. He’s not me!

    He seems to naturally respect my individuality and, even though it might not be as natural for me, I show my love by making the effort to change my mind.

    I love that he’s different and, if he were just like me, that would be ridiculous. Why would I want another version of myself? That’s just doing extra laundry for no reason! :smirk

  2. says

    All of these points are valid and true as far as my experience has been. Thank you for further solidifying a decision I made to break it off with someone that I love (still do) so very dearly who basically violated #4 above on nearly a daily basis. Although, for my own self respect & dignity, I know it was the right thing it still hurts terribly none the less…

  3. Bia says

    I think that no matter how much time we have spent in a relationship, the true crash test is a difficult occasion. The tough circumstances prove to us the real identity of each one of “our people.” In peaceful times, all is usually perfect.

  4. Tazz says

    A lack of respect for the other person can cause a relationship to go sour and eventually, to dissolve and cease to exist. I found that in previous relationships, once I began to feel like I was not being respected, then I started feeling less worthy and that caused me to want to be out of the relationship.

  5. says

    Number 3 is definitely ours. We’ve been together for 18 years now. We talk a lot, but I don’t feel that we communicate very well. Maybe that’s just on my side, maybe he feels that we’re just fine. and that’s an example in point. Why don’t we communicate? From my side, because I’m afraid of anger, of being shouted at, childhood thing of course. And afraid of loss. He would manage better without me than I without him. I know that communication is the thing. But timing is everything. If he’s not in the right mood to, it’s like throwing a feather at a wall.

  6. says

    GREAT article Marc and Angel (once again)!

    Currently not in a romantic relationship (for many reason, some of which you touch on) but have several family and friend relationships that many of these points, I find critically applicable.

    “It’s these people – the ones who come into your life for a short time and teach you a priceless lesson – that are some of the most important people you will ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you until you’re wide awake.”

    I still think of many of my past relationships in this light. It is not what THEY had done or said, but more a reflection of what it was about ME that was being shown to me. As I see what I am attracting in my life, I see what it is in my own being that is acting like a magnet and possibly what it is I need to change, or possibly the good things I need to accentuate.

    In short, I have stopped blaming others for their shortcomings and learned to accept responsibility for my own and how I can work to be the best 50% I can bring to a healthy, loving relationship. I know when I am truly ready, it will come to me.

    Thanks for the reminder!


  7. says

    I think resentment can become a poison. When we feel that we are doing more, or being more this or that, or contributing more – it builds and builds like a volcano. We must bite the bullet and talk about how we are feeling. NOT in a blaming way, as your article states – we shouldn’t be looking for something from someone else. But when our significant other here’s how we are feeling often it comes as a surprise and they’ll move mountains to improve the balance.

    • yesenia says

      I agree I’m the type of person that goes above and beyond to do anything in my hands to make someone happy. And seing how time after time my effort goes unnoticed is hurtful

  8. Dona says

    This article was very important for me today – so helpful for me to see the ways I bind and trap myself into needless suffering in my relationships. I think Presence with myself is the bottom line to being able to grow into the other truths relationally…

  9. Barbara Pursley says

    When you honestly grow into “Love” you bring your relationship to a higher level. Friendship and lovers remain when a good relationship is established, but LOVE is the glue that holds it all together. I did not hear any mention of the Power Of Love.

  10. Robert says

    After 10 years of dating and 25 yrs of marriage, the bright lights of love and longevity have gone karplunk ( off ) for ever!! We have both grown out of a wonderfully filled oneness in which we both supported and respected each others chosen path. Deep down inside I’m hurting, yet, truth be told, via commitment and respect we beat the odds and proved to many that marriage can work… but in our case just not necessarily forever…

  11. Derek says

    This hit home for me. I was in what started as a loving relationship with a wonderful woman, a woman that in my mind had all the qualities that I was looking for, she became my soulmate, however, over time, underlying issues, fear of communication, creation of non existent issues due to severe psycological scars from her past marraige deeply scarred her so that it eventually was the death of our relationship. Her past kept her from fully receiving the love from me which she got in an abundance. We talked in detail about these incidents in order for her heart to heal but the scars are so deep, she’ll need professional help to get beyond them in order to release the immense anger she has with the past. I still love her more than you can imagine and even though this hurt has made her push anger towards me, thus pushing me away, I still love her, but until her heart is fully healed, she’ll never be able to receive full love as she so rightfully deserves…I wish my Angel the best. ♥

  12. says

    I agree with Tazz, as I believe ‘RESPECT’ towards each other is a top priority for couples to realize. Without this, the relationship certainly can become sour.

  13. says

    @Jen: You got it. Respect for individuality is crucial to all healthy relationships.

    @Katina: As I stated in #6, not all relationships are meant to last. It sounds like this was the case for you – at least for the time being.

    @Bia: No doubt about it – difficult times are one of the true tests of any relationship (or individual). The beauty of this is, difficult times show you who your true friends and lovers are. Ultimately, you want someone who is willing to weather life’s storms with you.

    @Tazz and Neddy: Bingo! Respect is everything.

    @Melayahm: Perhaps the best solution in your case is to set aside some planned time once a day to talk for 15 minutes with no disruptions or distractions. If both of you are committed to this 15 minutes, it could be extremely helpful in clearing the air each day.

    @Jonathan: “I have stopped blaming others for their shortcomings and learned to accept responsibility for my own and how I can work to be the best 50% I can bring to a healthy, loving relationship.” – I love it! That’s the right attitude for sure.

    @Stuart Young: The blame game is always a lose-lose fiasco. As I said to Melayahm above, setting aside some time each day to talk to your significant other can work wonders.

    @G: Yep, I think friendship is the sturdiest foundation for an intimate relationship. Thanks for sharing your parent’s story.

    @Barbara Pursley: Excellent point. I think love grows when the right ingredients are in place. But there’s no question that once love is established, it helps hold things together during hard times.

    @Robert: Thank you for sharing your story with us. Many of us know how you’re feeling, and how hard it can be. You have the right attitude though. Just because something doesn’t last forever, doesn’t mean it wasn’t worthwhile.

    @Derek: I wish her the best as well. It’s inspiring to hear that you haven’t taken her wounds personally. Help her, as best you can, to find the professional assistance she needs. I’m sure your efforts will be worth it.

  14. says

    I’m that #6 person … and I don’t like being that person. I’m tired of trying to shake people up and tearing down walls and smacking people until they’re wide awake.

    I think I need to focus on #1 if I’m ever to be happy myself.

  15. says

    Love, love, love this. Too many people become complacent in relationships, and they pay attention do everything ELSE in their lives while the relationships suffer. My husband and I try every day to show appreciation in little ways and big. He’s deployed at the moment, so we make sure our emails are more than just “Hi, how was your day? Love you. Bye.” We tell each other what we love and miss about each other, what makes us happy or unhappy, thoughts for the future and about the past. And we’ve decided to keep emailing like this even when he’s home. Because, let’s face it, it can be pretty difficult for many people to open up like this. And little meaningful emails, even when you see each other every day, are like little love reminders that can make a big difference.

  16. Kevin Halls says

    As I belong to a poetry site I’ve just written one on myself when I was younger titled: Mr Angry. And low and behold I read your latest article about relationships, and the poem concerns my relationship with an ex girlfriend. I was so bad tempered back then that I ruined everything by being hot headed and selfish. But how on earth can any relationship work on any level when someone loses their cool all the time and appears menacing? That is so wrong and unfair to the other person, and discussions then turn into arguments, so nothing gets resolved does it.

    I’d tell any person in a relationship to always try and keep calm and listen to the other. Losing your temper will lead to the eventual breakdown, as nobody likes to be around a volatile person. It’s ironic though that I am now single after being in a long relationship, but now I’m older and calmer so I know how to handle things if circumstances change.

  17. David Rapp says

    Excellent post!! There will be a lot of “lost love” responses I am sure. But I wanted to add some alternate thoughts.

    1. Expectations need to change and adapt over the course of any long-term relationship, for yourself and the other person. For example, things shift when you are dating and have 2 separate living arrangements, and then you move in together (whether before or after marriage). Or if you are in a relationship and there is a child born. The problems arise when one person evolves and changes that challenges the FIRST set of expectations. Its time to recalibrate, not retaliate.

    I personally suck at 2, 3 and 5. However, I just started to read Brene Brown’s book “Daring Greatly” which is about vulnerability, finding courage, and living honestly. Get it. It reads like a conversation.

    6. I used to really struggle with this one. But a good metaphor is riding a train. People get on, ride to their destinations, and get off…but the train keeps going. Soem people get on and off several times. Some for only a short, one-time ride. And the ones that have the impacts mentioned in the post are only half the story! You are doing the same thing to other people on their rides.

    Last year I helped a personal trainer leave the job she had after 8 years. I got 5 new clients for her as she transitioned. But she got another job that provided benefit and a steady income. She could no longer be my trainer. It took me a good 6 months to realize that my “job” or “role” was to get her from Job A (my trainer) to Job B (where she is now). Not a bad ride, if you ask me.

    So who did you help on their rides this year?

  18. Shady Buchanan says

    Katina’s comments definitely mirror my own. I have to wonder if we’ve not been involved with the very same person! And I agree that removing oneself from a toxic, one-sided, never going to work relationship is so very hard, but is something that must be done. I’ve been married before, and hopefully have learned something from that failure, I’ve tried to keep communications open, not expect ridiculous things from my partner, to be truthful (something I think he could never be (long, sad story); I’ve always been there for him, unlike he’s been there for me, etc. Not wanting to make this sound like a boo-hoo pity party, I just would like some input on how to get over the constant stabbing to my already broken heart. I feel so content when we’ve been together, and used to envision spending the rest of my life with the guy. He seems to feel the same, (or am I totally fooling myself), we are two souls completing one loving body at times, but then he’ll do a total 180… is it just that he’s afraid to commit (as so many guys are) or is the “us” I thought there was….only in my heart and mind? This on again, OFF again relationship is so draining, emotionally and I really don’t know what to do next. Any suggestions?

  19. FreeToLiveFree says

    #6 The best advice I got from a marriage counselor was on the first visit – “Some marriages can’t and shouldn’t be saved”. Hard to swallow at the time, but I eventually saw how true it is.

    Never give a liar a second chance: they don’t respect themselves or you, and they never will. It’s truly amazing how much energy/life/spiritual suicide it is when you even try.

    I’m learning to live “It’s not that I hate them, it’s that I respect myself”.

    Sometimes the hardest but best thing you can do is leave and NEVER look back.

  20. Mel M says

    @Shady: This hot and cold relationship sounds familiar to me. If someone truly loves and cherishes you, you won’t ever wonder how much they love you or if the relationship is stable–they’ll make sure you know it. Of course, there are different ways people communicate their affection, but it seems like you already know the answer to your question if you have this constant stabbing feeling to your heart. Why would you allow someone to continue to hurt you like this?

  21. says

    Lovely article… I would add the need to be right as a major stumbling block for many relationships. Try changing perspective and seeing the situation through the eyes of the “other”. If I can get a fresh point of view from the other persons’ outlook, chances are my “need” to be right will dissolve in favor of being happy.

  22. Jackie says

    What do I do when I end the relationship, but that person doesn’t want to accept it? He tells me he wants me in his life, but yet, doesn’t show it! I want to be in a relationship with communication, trust and love. Communication is something that he is missing badly. (and sadly, I don’t trust him anymore.)

  23. LindaD says

    Oh, #6! How hard it is to accept sometimes. I’m in the middle of recovering from losing someone to whom I directed a lot of effort and emotion. Opened myself up, knowing he would be moving away within a year, but not wanting to miss out on the opportunity to experience the relationship with him. He does not wish to continue the friendship long-distance. I have learned a lot from him, but am finding it so very difficult to move on now that he’s gone. I wish I had the magic answer for how to recover more quickly from these losses in our lives…

  24. Vicker says

    Someone comes into your life and befriends you. They become so special to you, they become so close to you, they start to mean everything to you, you start to miss them, and you realized that your life can’t go on without them. So you start missing Food and Sleep over them! Your life is totally changed. They promise you heaven and earth and they keep on telling you that they are different from the ones you have ever had or met. Your heart gets softened till you surrender it to the special person you call HEAVEN SENT. Everything goes on well; you share your good moments with them…

    But suddenly, they start to change after getting what they WANTED or their love and likeness just fades away, so they reduce communication with you, they start to build up many excuses, that sweetheart of yours starts becoming too busy for you, you start to cry, plead and ask for forgiveness, but all in vain until you’re dumped and they move on. You get heart-broken; you swear never to fall in love again – you start hating love, you start saying that all men or women are the same based on what that heartless ex did to you. You live a single life, but after some time, you start admiring your new friends in love; loneliness squeezes you then you decide to try loving again. Another handsome man or lady comes into your life, you start to think that they’re heaven sent but still you go through the same thing.

    Throughout my life, I’ve been experiencing such thing… Though your blog gives me more insight, mindset and a good reason to admit these people were teachers, as I just read now on the list. How long would this delusion of pseudo lovers come to an end to give room for the longest lasting one???

  25. says

    Wow, point 2 is soooo true! I find it odd how almost everyone spends the early days of their adult life doing just that though. It seemed in my 20’s that everyone, myself included, was searching for relationships to complete them, to find love that would fill the void, that pervading sense of alone or separateness. I guess with age and hindsight we all come to see from first hand experience that relationships are not there to complete us, and in fact relationships thrive when we bring ourselves into them as whole and complete.
    Enjoyed this post. Thanks Angel.
    Bernadette :)

  26. says

    I’ve found that the top 2 reasons from this list I’ve experienced are Bad Communication and a Relationship that Isn’t Supposed to Last. That’s a tough pill to swallow if you’ve invested time with someone, but people really do have to come to terms with that.

  27. says

    This is an interesting post. It’s good to observe people in great relationships because they are obviously doing something on a consistent basis that makes that relationship work. You can usually see what it is if you observe closely enough.

  28. says

    For me, what we call ‘Love’ requires ‘Truth’, ‘Honesty’ and ‘Forgiveness’ to be stable – in addition to being oneself stable enough! In relation to what you have written, only by being stable enough ourselves we start to stop seeking the part that is missing within us!

  29. says

    @Steven: As they say, knowing is half the battle. Work on it. You’ll get there. =)

    @Purple Momma: Thank you for sharing your story. It’s so inspiring to hear stories of people making long distance love work well. Keep doing what you’re doing. Keep letting the love flow. And thank your husband for us (for serving).

    @Kevin Halls: No doubt about it. A lost temper is a lost cause.

    @David Rapp: I love your input regarding #1. “Its time to recalibrate, not retaliate.” – that’s wonderfully put. Thank you, as always.

    @Shady Buchanan: If you haven’t yet, you need to communicate your feelings, completely unfiltered. You need to let him know how you’re feeling. Don’t let his behavior wreck you. Tell him you need his help. If he refuses, you need to start considering the possibility that it’s not going to work.

    @Lorna: Great point!

    @Jackie: Simply stand firm by your word. If it’s over for you, make that crystal clear and act accordingly.

    @LindaD: That’s a tough one, I know. Just remember that something doesn’t have to last forever to be worthwhile. Time will help.

    @Vicker: My suggestion would be to stop looking. Work on yourself. Get involved in passions and projects that move you. Eventually, through these channels of personal passion and interest, you will meet the right person.

    @Bernadette: Yep. =) We’ve all made that mistake.

    @All: As always, thanks for sharing your thoughts and insights with the community here. Marc just told me that a few of your comments here gave him an idea for a new post. =) Stand by…

  30. says

    Hello just need to say a little something.

    Life’s like a roll of toilet paper, the closer you get to the end , the faster it goes. When lucky enough to find a connection, just be yourself, be authentic! We all want to impress knew friends, but it’s a lot more fun & less heart ache later to just be real from the start. Also, be in the present, this moment that will never come again…

    Thanks M & A for your constant reminders & inspiration.

  31. Moe says

    This is very deep; a thorough introspection is imperative.

    I’m loving this piece; it’s really speaking to me. Thanks guys.

  32. says

    Great article, I was divorced and now enjoy an amazing relationship.

    I would add control to the list.

    Let’s say Mary is making more money than her partner and over time the roles are reverse. Meaning Mary is not in control any more in the context of money.

    Depending on Mary’s ego this can be very shocking to her system because she is forced to let go. (this is not about male vs. female it is just an example and the role could be reversed.)

    3. Poor communication

    I would add that sometimes when you speak up and become vulnerable your partner might not be sensitive enough to embrace how you feel.

    This can hurt because you opened up and now you are penalized or feel exposed rather than acknowledge.

    This could result in you shutting down because you do not want to be exposed anymore.

    Poor communication can also be the result of poor listening skills.

    If no is listening then communication is just two tape recorders talking at the same time. No one is at home.


  33. Jeannie says

    All the points in this article is hitting the mark for this friendship I’m struggling with. I can’t decide if it’s worth it to keep trying to be friends or if it’s one of those friendships that has run its course as much as we want to stay friends. I even try to communicate with him how I’m feeling about what I’m struggling with, but I don’t know if he understands or is making the same effort I am, which is only frustrating me.

  34. Serah says

    I think this is a really nice way to put the solutions to such a common predicament into simple words. Many times we tend to think that others are supposed to make life perfect for us but it isn’t until we learn to keep ourselves happy that we begin to actually feel happy, regardless of what others do or don’t.

  35. Richard says

    This has given me great solace.

    I dearly wish i would have realized how destructive 2 and 3 in combination can be.

    Although #5 is a source of great conflict between my wife and I. It is something i need to work on, and frankly, something she needs to understand. Presence and relaxation can be very different to different people.

    Finally, #6 has helped be let go of an older adopted child because that relationship became toxic (unnecessarily because of me–sadly) and the biological family stepped in.

    I have quoted #6 many, many times lately and it gives me great comfort.

    Not all relationships ARE meant to last. Accept it, hell, embrace it, and move on.

  36. says

    Great post. I agree with all of them because I had to go thru all of them. But 1, 3 and 5 stand out the most because those are the traps most of us fall into. Number 3 was my downfall regularly, but in my marriage, it was what saved us!

  37. Jen says

    I’m struggling with something in my marriage. He says I’m looking to him to make me happy. I think I just want a better relationship (more fulfilling, passionate, active) with him. I feel as though I am missing a chunk of life and happiness. What do I do about this difference? How do I accept that this is what the relationship will always be?

  38. Nicole says

    I think I am currently going through No.6. I have been on and off with someone for probably 4 years now and I think he has come into my life in order to really shake my world time and time again and to make me realise and learn a lot of lessons. There’s been a lot of things I haven’t realised till he came into my life and forced me to see things differently and he’s made me want to change myself in many ways. Unfortunately he’s had to put up with all my crap and immaturity along the way. We’ve just recently broken up and I’ve just learned another major lesson. I’m still trying to hold onto him – when I think I shouldn’t be anymore. I’m finding it really difficult to let all just end and move on. I just wish this wasn’t so hard!

  39. R.M says

    I wasn’t sure whether to comment on this or not, but the lessons here and comments from everyone else have almost brought me to tears. I love a wonderful person who love(d) me so much – gave me so much, was there for me in ways no one else has been – and I hurt him very very deeply. Being in this relationship and a previous one has held up a mirror to the uglier, more destructive sides of my personality that I’m working on now in therapy. However everything is so bad with him that I don’t know how to fix it. Even when we’re on the phone I find myself closing up and unable to express how I feel clearly. I want to reach out and be there for him but don’t know how, and it hurts. It really hurts.

  40. Brenda says

    Some relationships go bad when you finally start trusting your own intuition. My 30 year marriage ended when I started speaking up about my feelings that something was wrong. After finding out about years of lies I had to come to the hard realization that I had assumed I new my husband when in fact I did not. That was my hardest lesson ” never assume anything about another person” and “listen to actions more than words”.

  41. Christina says

    Number 6 is the hardest thing for me to accept when it comes to love. I so badly want each relationship to last. I give so much of my love, understanding and effort to those I have relationships with. Something I am working on is not automatically asking myself what I did wrong and what’s wrong with me as a person when they don’t last. Although this is a hard pill to swallow there is comfort in knowing that I’m not the only one this happens to. Sometimes you feel like you’re all alone living through these heartbreaking situations. It’s comforting to realize that it’s okay and sometimes better if certain people don’t stay in your life.

    This was a wonderful article!

  42. Jeffrey says

    One reason why relationships fail is not understanding the fundamental role of each person in the relationship. I’ve been told by many friends and family that I’m the closest thing to a perfect man. I’m a loving father and love my wife with all my heart. My relationship with my wife failed because I wasn’t a good provider and therefore she didn’t feel protected. There’s a history behind our demise. She always made more money than me. I always paid bills and contributed. My mistake was letting her handle all the finances and not stepping up when we were financially strapped. Guys, if you didn’t know, that’s a big no no. A man duty is to provide and protect his family. A woman must feel safe, secure and protected in the relationship.

    On the flip side of this, I was never happy at my job. I had my insecurities too. I was never able to get a grip on on our finances and therefore left it for my wife to deal with. It’s unfortunate it took my 12 years and 2 kids later to actually really understand this.

    I truly and deeply love my wife but there is an R. Kelly song that says “When a woman’s fed up… there ain’t nothing u can do about it.”

    Now I have 2 jobs and I’m fighting everyday just to become a better man and a provider for my wife and kids even though she’s no longer in love with me. I owe her that much. I don’t know if I will ever have a chance to win her heart again, but when a woman loses respect for a man and tells him she is no longer in love with you, the odds are not in the man’s favor at all. Pray for me everyone. This is a tough one to swallow. Nobody wants to start their life over at 41.

  43. Ashley says

    My husband gave me $20 to go by a pregnancy test I had change left and instead of giving it to him I bought some food through a drive through for me and my son that night. He was out at a meeting so I figured he would have gone out to eat and wouldn’t mind me using the change for that. He came home asked what we ate and asked if I still had the change I told him no that I used it for me and the baby to get dinner. He said your welcome and because I didn’t say anything he said that he considered that to be dishonest. Is it ?

  44. Alice says

    I’m guilty of No.3. If only I knew how important communication really is in a relationship/marriage, I would’ve been much more open towards my partner and perhaps today we probably would’ve been a lot more closer than ever. But now I have to fix the damage I’ve caused by bottling up and that’s really hard to fix as that’s now made him paranoid by constantly asking me if I’m ok. I’m trying my best now to reconnect with him and that we have good communication. But it’s been hard, all because of me and it hurts more the fact our relationship was going so well.

    My advice to couples out there; if you’re afraid of what the other person might think when you’re being open with them, it’s much more worse to keep it all in. Those little things can grow over time with anger, resentment and tears, and then when you bottle up sometime later, it never goes down well. Always communicate with your other half!

  45. Em says

    This is so spot on. Thank you so much, it feels so much better to know I am not the only one going through this hell. Number six is really doing me in though, way too deep and close to home. Thank you.


  1. Great reminders. My parents have been married for 34 years. They have one of the best relationships I know. They appreciate and love each other so much. I think what helps make their relationship so strong is that in addition to being in love, they are also great friends. And they seem to make time to be silly with each other. An important component in any relationship! I really appreciated this post.

  2. I couldn’t agree more with your final point.

    Not trying to force the wrong relationships, leads you directly to the right ones.

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