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5 Surprising Reasons Relationships Fail

5 surprising reasons why relationships fail

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Much has been written about common reasons why relationships fail. Incompatibility, trust issues, different priorities, and poor communication are just a few of the challenges which often lead to relational dissolution. At the same time, there are some couple characteristics which, although seemingly positive at first, can ruin a relationship down the line. Below are five surprising reasons why relationships fail.

1. Too Compatible

A compatible couple is generally a good thing. Most people desire a like-minded partner with whom they can get along. The trouble with compatibly occurs when the elements of commonality are based on immature, rather than mature, characteristics. When a couple is similar in ways that are immature, they risk enabling, indulging, and perpetuating each other’s unhealthy tendencies. For example:

Two anxious and emotionally insecure people may form a co-dependent relationship.

Two lifestyle abusing and risk-seeking persons may perpetuate one-another’s irresponsible and self-destructive habits.

An emotionally detached couple withholding intimacy may eventually find their relationship lacking fulfillment.

There’s much to be said about being compatible, and also opposites attract. Both approaches may work, if a couple elicits one-another’s higher, more mature tendencies.

2. Too Attached

It’s natural and often healthy for a couple to feel attached to one-another. However, according to researchers Bartholomew and Horowitz, there’s a style of attachment known as Anxious-Preoccupied that’s not always conducive to relationship.(1)

An individual with the Anxious-Preoccupied attachment style desires much time with his or her partner, and feels insecure when alone. She or he often experiences negative emotions in the relationship, and requires constant reassurance to feel safe. During the early stages of courtship, the partner of someone who’s Anxious-Preoccupied may enjoy the flattering attention and emotional intensity. However, over time one may feel overwhelmed by the neediness, possessiveness, and oversensitively of the Anxious-Preoccupied mate.

For more tips on relationship compatibility, see my books (click on titles): “Seven Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success” and “How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People ”.

3. Good Sex

An active and mutually satisfying sex life is fantastic for most adult committed relationships. That said, sex is sometimes used to mask significant issues between a couple - issues that are better off dealt with sooner rather than later. A couple might risk the assumption that, despite their difficulties, since sex is good, the relationship must still be okay. Over time, when sex often becomes a lower priority in a couple’s life (due to factors such as stress, work, health, children, aging, etc.), unresolved issues may rise to the forefront.

4. “My partner and I NEVER argue”

I’ve been teaching communication and helping people improve relationships for twenty-five years. During this time, I’ve met many highly successful couples (partners in a happy relationship for twenty or more years). Without exception, all of them argue from time to time.

Conflicts and arguments won’t necessarily jeopardize a relationship. Successful couples have the ability to solve problems and let it go. They focus on taking care of the issue rather than attacking the person. Significantly, they have the capacity to learn and grow through interpersonal difficulties.

On the other hand, I’ve met couples (usually in relationships of five years or less) who claim that their relationship is nearly perfect, and that they never argue. These are the same couples who, at a later date, suddenly announce their relationship is over. There’s no middle ground – the relationship’s either ideal, or none at all.

Couples who claim to never argue usually have issues as well, but they respond by sweeping the problems under the rug, or pretending that the difficulties don’t exist. By constructing an idealized facade, they set themselves up for a rude awakening.

5. Too Nice

It is possible to be too nice in a romantic relationship. This is particularly true in situations when one’s loving and giving is taken for granted by a partner who’s ungrateful and unreciprocal.

The economy runs on the law of supply demand: The more something is available in abundance, the less values it has. The same rule applies to the economy of human relations. In the presence of a self-centered and inconsiderate mate, the more a nice person gives thanklessly, the less she or he is valued. It’s healthy and wise to be a good person who also knows how to set appropriate boundaries.

Source: niprestondotcom
Source: niprestondotcom

For more tips on relationship and communication success, see my books (click on titles): “Seven Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success”, and “How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People ”.

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Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. is available as a presenter, workshop facilitator, and private coach. For more information, write to, or visit

© 2015 by Preston C. Ni. All rights reserved worldwide. Copyright violation may subject the violator to legal prosecution.

Select Reference

(1) Bartholomew, K., Horowitz, L.M. Attachment Styles Among Young Adults: a Test of a Four-Category Model. J Pers Soc Psychol. (1991)

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