5 Reasons Relationships End Badly


Close relationships are important for your mental health because when they work well, they provide you with a sanctuary to retreat from the harsh realities of the world. They’re a place where you’re able to remove your mask and be you. Ideally they’ll offer safety, security, love and acceptance so that you can rest and recharge and prepare yourself to face the world once more.

Unfortunately many people find themselves in relationships that do the exact opposite! They add to their burdens rather than reduce them. So if you don’t feel free to be the ‘real you’ in your close relationships, then it’s time to make change. If you’re tiptoeing around your partner out of fear OR if you’re controlling and dominating your partner in anyway, alarm bells should ring because this isn’t healthy! Only when connections are based on equality, truth and respect will they nurture you in ways you desire and deserve.

So how do you know whether your relationships are going to help or hinder you? Well that’s the topic of this article – the 5 reasons relationships end badly.

Learning to recognise the early warning signs so that you can make change for the better (or end a relationship earlier) is where your power lies.

So here are my top 5 reasons why relationships end badly:

1) A strong, blaming, dishonest or dominant Ego
A strong ego is often the cause of relationships ending badly. You see, for two people to work through their issues, both parties must be willing to ‘look within’ as well as without.

Unfortunately some people have so much ‘unresolved stuff’ inside that they engage in behaviour that is abusive or disrespectful towards others (whether it be knowingly or unknowingly). They take their problems out on others rather than looking within. They harm important relationships by engaging in controlling, aggressive and dominating behaviour because they can’t accept their own inner pain and avoid feeling vulnerable by projecting their problems onto others.

Whenever anything goes wrong in a relationship, it’s important to realise that there are always two (or more) parties contributing to the issue. And when one person wants to blame the other person entirely, problems will arise because this is victim behaviour. Only when both parties are willing to accept responsibility for ‘their part’ in the conflict will issues be resolved.

Operating from a ‘me’ or an ‘I’ perspective is dangerous in relationships because it prevents you from truly seeing the other person and treating them with respect and equality. In relationships the ‘I’ need to become the ‘we’ and this can only happen when individuals learn to truly ‘empathise’ with others so they can see the other perspectives to every situation.

People with strong egos often tell untruths in order to protect their image and this makes it very difficult connect authentically.

2) Turning away from one another & disconnecting too early
In times of crisis or problems, many people turn away from the relationship as opposed to towards it. Examples include starting affairs and bitching and complaining about partners to other people. Ultimately this is disrespectful behaviour that will eventually lead to a relationship breakdown.

For relationships to stand the test of time, both parties need to stay engaged with a willingness to ‘work things out’. Unfortunately many relationships end because people disconnect too early. It’s very easy to turn your back on problems and walk away. It’s much harder to stay engaged and sort things out. Staying 'open hearted' involves getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and trying to understand the other person’s perspective (as opposed to judging it) so things can be worked out.

The truth is that a relationship isn’t truly over until all issues have been worked through and resolved. Sometimes this is impossible because of the ‘strong ego’ I mentioned above. Unless both parties are willing to accept responsibility for their part in problems, conflict won’t be resolved.

Sadly many people walk away from relationships with unresolved ‘stuff’ only to repeat the same mistakes in their next relationships. And this pattern will keep repeating itself until the individual finally looks within, accepts responsibility for their part of the issue and ultimately learns the lessons they needed to learn so they can grow and consciously evolve as a human.

3) Staying engaged for too long & not speaking up
Many people believe that relationships ‘should be conflict free’ and they try to avoid conflict at any cost. But the truth is that conflict is very normal and actually very healthy in relationships because it brings issues out into the open to hopefully be resolved. It’s the working through problems and sticking together through hard times that actually brings people closer. And having the belief that relationships should be drama free actually sets you up for failure because it means you miss this important step!

Some people are afraid to discuss their problems with their partner because they’re worried it will end the relationship. It happens when relationships operate out of fear as opposed to love. It’s where people tiptoe around their partner afraid of ‘rocking the boat’ by speaking up. But this is just a game of emotional blackmail that isn’t healthy. You see, when you ‘shut down’ and ‘shut up’ and ‘hold back from speaking your truth’, you need to suppress a part of you that feels upset, hurt or disrespected. And doing so causes disharmony within (because you have to split off from the real you) and this isn’t good for your mental health! This approach just delays the inevitable. You see, holding back on the little truths means that the little things can become the big things that can end the relationship. It also means that one day you might ‘flip a switch’ and burst out in a way that you might later regret!

Having the courage to disengage, stop playing ‘the game’ and walk away is where your ultimate power lies. But this takes a lot of self-love and many people have unhealed wounds that keep them bound to others in ways that are dysfunctional and toxic. And healing from this is something that needs to be addressed by each individual so change for the better can be made.

4) Not resolving conflict when you do speak up
A big problem in relationships is not having the skills to deal with conflict when it arises. You see even if you do speak up, if the issue isn’t fully resolved, the love will get covered up by anger and resentment, which is often at the root of many breakdowns. It’s also why the original love in relationships can so easily turn to hate!

Getting angry and ‘letting off steam’ is not enough when you experience problems in your relationship. Being able to work through issues so both parties ‘feel resolved’ is essential if the relationship is to stand the test of time.

Unfortunately many people are like two ships passing one another in the night - never truly ‘seeing one another’. For a relationship to work, you need to truly understand one another, and this requires empathy. It’s a skill that can be learned and is essential for authentic connection.

5) Poor role modelling
Children learn about relationships by watching and mimicking adults. So what sort of an example did the adults around you provide as you grew up and are you setting a good example for the young and impressionable people surrounding you?

When you allow yourself to be disrespected and when you ‘sweep things under the carpet’, you send the message that it’s okay to be this disrespected in relationships and it’s okay to hold back on speaking up and setting clear boundaries.

Actions speak far louder than words in relationships and it’s your responsibility to do the necessary ‘inner work’ to be able to stand up for yourself and create ‘respect and equality’ in relationships so that love can truly flourish and so you can teach others to do the same.

I truly believe that if people had the skills to work through their ‘stuff’ and stay engaged with the significant and important people in their life during difficult times that the world would be a much better place to live. This is because things would get worked through and worked out.

But only you as an individual can improve this! The idea is to do the necessary ‘inner’ work so you have the best chance of transforming your relationships from being ‘emotionally stifling’ into real, healthy and loving connections where you’re free to be you, where your partner is free to be their own self and where you both feel respected and understood.

If you’d like to know how to do this, consider doing the free training in The Emotional Fitness Gym

If you’d like to know more about Heidi Di Santo and her work, visit http://www.heidi.com.au/

This article was published in OH! Magazine

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