Why Do Relationships End? 7 Things Therapists Want You To Know About Common Causes Of Breakups
While you may be able to guess some common causes of breakups, there are things therapists want you to know about why these things can result in the end of a relationship. It isn't always easy, after all, to have an outside perspective, notice these problems, and recognize the damage they can do. But by learning more about them, you and your partner may be better able to keep your connection strong.
To start, it's important to know that "many relationship problems do have a root in poor communication," Dr. Carla Marie Manly, a clinical psychologist and relationship expert, tells Bustle. If you aren't listening to each other, or arguing in a healthy way, frustrations will build — and you may break up.
Of course, there are also other factors, such as dishonesty, disrespect, and infidelity, that can obviously have a big impact, too, Manly says. If any of these things sound familiar, though, rest assured there are ways to turn your relationship around.
Speaking with a couples therapist can be a big help, especially if you have ongoing issues that you haven't been able to resolve. Establishing boundaries, or relationship "rules," can be beneficial, too. But most of all, it can help to avoid making these mistakes whenever possible, since experts say can very easily result in a breakup. Read on for a few common mistakes, why they can take such a toll, and how you may be able to set them right.
1. Not Spending Enough Time Together
While you may want to spend all your time together in the early days of your relationship, it's important to keep that going as the years go on — and work on maintaining a sense of fun. Because if you fall into a rut, Manly says, you can lose interest in each other and drift apart.
"Relationships thrive when couples spend time together that is connective in nature," she says. "This might include exercising, cooking, playing, or other activities that allow for emotional and physical connection."
If you feel like you've lost your spark, you may want to schedule more time together, and make an effort to hang out. Manly says to turn off technology, put aside your work, and get rid of any outside distractions, and "use this time to connect and tune in to each other."
2. Being Dishonest
"Dishonesty is one of the prime killers of relationships," Manly says, which is why it's important to create the type of connection where it's OK to share what's on your mind, and tell the truth.
A few white lies may sneak through, but that doesn't mean all is lost. "Depending on the type and level of dishonesty, healing may certainly be possible," she says. "In many cases, a relationship therapist can help get things back on track, but both partners must be committed to ongoing honesty for true and lasting healing."
If you can't do this for each other, and set a few ground rules to keep dishonesty at bay, a breakup may not be far away.
3. Communicating In A Toxic Way
"Healthy, positive communication is as essential to a healthy relationship as clean air is to our bodies," Manly says. Without it, it's nearly impossible to keep a relationship alive. You may feel frustrated, and not know how to meet each other's needs. And before you know it, you're breaking up.
"In cases where toxic communication has made things go awry, couples can work on healthy communication skills through couples therapy [...] and then make a daily practice of using the positive skills learned," Manly says. You may also want to practice listening skills, and truly hearing what the other has to say.
Many arguments and toxic convos stem from not listening, so this can be a great place to start, and it may even help get your relationship back on track.
4. Arguing About Money
It may not come as a surprise that disagreements about money can drive a couple apart. In fact, it just so happens to be one of the top causes of divorce.
But here's why. "Couples often have different views about how money should be managed and if money is tight, the stress can be overwhelming causing couples to lash out at each other," Dr. Jeff Nalin, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and founder and chief clinical officer of Paradigm Malibu Treatment Center, tells Bustle.
In other words, it isn't so much about not having money, but how you deal with it as a couple. "Communication is one major key to a successful relationship," Nalin says. "To turn things around, couples need to work on their communication where money is concerned. Examining the finances together, budgeting, and setting long-term goals can help couples to work together in a healthier way."
This will lessen your chances of having toxic arguments, which will keep you from resenting each other, which will hopefully prevent all this money talk from breaking you up.
5. Not Prioritizing Each Other
"One interesting commonality across most relationship killers is this: one or both partners do not make a healthy relationship a top priority," Manly says. "And, when the relationship is not a top priority, the ongoing learning and growing required for a healthy relationship simply [won't] happen."
Of course, that doesn't mean you can't also focus on work, friends, goals, and hobbies outside of your relationship. But that putting those things first, 100 percent of the time, can cause you to lose that all-important connection.
According to Nalin, infidelity is another common cause of breakups. It can take the form of an emotional affair, micro-cheating, and physical affairs, all of which can be painful in their own way.
Due to the breach of trust, it can be tough for a couple to move past an affair, and find their footing again. But making a concerted effort to patch it all up can save your relationship, if you choose to do so.
You may want to go to couples therapy, Nalin says, and figure out how to work through it. It may also serve as a good moment to learn more about your relationship, and what you can do to prevent a similar problem from happening in the future.
7. Not Respecting Each Other
"Respect is one of the highest core values of relationships," Celine Sauvet, a certified dating and relationship coach, tells Bustle. And without it, it makes sense why a relationship might crumble.
"When a partner does not show respect (yelling at the partner, calling [them] names, make [them] feeling bad, etc.) this becomes a toxic relationship," she says. "To avoid that, ensure [you] have healthy boundaries." In some situations, it may be necessary to leave, and that's OK.
But you can work to build up trust and respect in your relationship, in many situations, by sticking to those aforementioned rules. These issues may be the most common causes of breakups, but they don't have to happen to you and your partner, if you know how to avoid them.