5 Things that Cause a Relationship to Deteriorate

Relationships have to be worked on constantly to keep them healthy, otherwise they can easily deteriorate and eventually lead to a breakup. To avoid this, make sure these behaviors don't become habitual.
5 Things that Cause a Relationship to Deteriorate

Last update: 11 June, 2022

There are many things that can cause a relationship to deteriorate and can end it, from lies to a lack of empathy. A relationship can easily suffer from neglect, especially if the partners believe it will take care of itself.

However, being aware of these things will help you to resolve the situation intelligently and prevent things from going further and harming you as a couple. Love must be nourished. Let’s see which are the most common issues.

Things that Cause a Relationship to Deteriorate

A sad woman with her back to her partner.

1. Lies

Lying in a relationship is one of the main reasons things fall apart. No relationship, whether it be a that of a couple, friendship or family, can be sustained if it is based on deception. This causes more distrust and can cause jealousy and insecurity in the other person.

We’re not only talking about infidelity, but about things as important as not saying what you really think. You have to be transparent. This person is your partner, after all, and you shouldn’t hide your true self.

Many times, we lie because that is how we have learned to relate to others. Other times, we have insecurities that we do not want to show. In both cases, being self-critical and solving the problem will be essential so that your relationship will not continue to deteriorate.

2. Sexual dissatisfaction

Beware of those who say “sex is not everything in a relationship.” It is true: it isn’t everything, but it is an important part of one. If it’s not addressed, this can generate arguments, tension, discontent and even grudges.

Nobody likes not being satisfied sexually. The best way to solve it? Talk with your partner, try new things, but, above all, intend to solve the problem.

Doing nothing, getting angry and not communicating calmly is not a solution. This will only make things worse. Going to a therapist or a sex therapist can help. However, you have to leave shame behind.

3. Family

Family can generate many conflicts. For example, parents who are always calling or who come at home without warning or who try to organize the couples life thereby taking away their autonomy — all this can affect a couple’s relationship.

The way to solve this is by communicating with your partner and coming to an agreement about boundaries. These are necessary, especially with families that act like this. It is not a bad thing; quite the opposite.

Many times, the reasons that a relationship deteriorates lie in the inability to set boundaries with family members.

4. Insecurities

Having had previous experience with infidelity or having certain insecurities can make you overly jealous and try to control your partner. This is not a good thing. You may overwhelm the other person, keep them from feeling free and, over time, this will undermine your relationship.

Let’s not forget that each person must have their own space. Insecurities can be worked on not only in couples therapy, but also individually, since this is a personal problem.

5. Common Goals

Love can’t overcome everything, especially if it’s neglected. Common goals are very important, especially those that affect the relationship, such as whether or not you want children, live in another country or constantly change cities for work reasons.

If you want to have children but your partner doesn’t, you can’t expect this to change. It’s important to talk about life projects and future goals.

This doesn’t mean the relationship has to end, but it also doesn’t mean one partner should put aside their goals for the sake of the other. It’s simply a matter of reflecting, negotiating, seeing if it’s possible to continue together and how it might work. The final decision is up to both of you.

A happy couple talking.

Take care of yourself to take care of the relationship

There are many beliefs surrounding love that can cause a relationship to deteriorate. It’s important to take them into account, question them and change them if necessary.

From thinking that love takes care of itself and that you don’t have to make any effort, to thinking that your partner should always know what you need and how you feel just because they’re your partner, are some examples. Your mind can play tricks on you.

It’s also important to feel good in yourself, because if this isn’t the case, it’s difficult to feel good with the other person. Defensiveness, low self-esteem or fear of being hurt can be real barriers to a healthy relationship. In fact, toxic behaviors can often be set in motion without you noticing.

To sum up, don’t forget to take care of yourself in the context of your relationship. How are you doing? How do you feel? What wounds do you have? Asking yourself these questions can help your relationship. There are two people in your relationship, but you need to take care of yourself and love yourself in order to love your partner and keep your relationship strong.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bolaños, I. (1998). Conflicto familiar y ruptura matrimonial: aspectos psicosociales. Psicología Jurídica de La Familia, 43–76.
  • García, F & Ilabaca, D. (2013). Ruptura de pareja, afrontamiento y bienestar psicológico en adultos jóvenes. Ajayu11(2), 157–172. Retrieved from http://www.ucb.edu.bo/publicaciones/ajayu/v11n2/v11n2a03.pdf
  • (2007). La vida en pareja: un asunto a negociar. Enseñanza e Investigación En Psicología12(2), 385–396.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.