Relationships start and end every day for a number of reasons. A break-up can happen for something as trivial as “Why didn’t you call me for such a long time?” to something as serious as cheating.
But are there any common patterns? Any red flags which can put a relationship at risk?
Here’s my attempt at identifying some of the most common ones.
Relationship-killer #1. Lack of Space
Expecting your partner to share everything under the Sun with you is a deadly but very common relationship mistake. Assuming you should pursue every activity together – from watching a football match on TV to shopping for a red dress of a particular shade, a particular length and a particular design is a recipe for frustration and failure.
Relationship-killer #2. Trying to change others
As I’ve repeated in many occasions, one of the basic rules of life is – you can’t change others, you can only adapt and change yourself, if you want. Trying to change your partner through force (cruel words, malicious behaviour … the usual) would lead to nothing but frustration and exhaustion for both of you, endangering your love.
Relationship-killer #3. Trying to change yourself
Trying to change yourself: At the opposite end of the same spectrum lies the tendency to change yourself completely to suit someone else.
I’ve been a free-spirited tomboyish daredevil all my life but overnight I’d become a fulka-making Ghar ki Devi fit to be featured in the next K-megaserial if my boyfriend wants me to.
Relationship-killer #4. Taking them for granted
There are some relationships in which one partner is the perpetual giver and the other is the perpetual receiver. The receiving partner often expects the moon and the stars from the other and treats them badly in return. While this kind of relationships can look like paradise for the luckier partner, they’re not. Because they don’t last. Sooner or later the dissatisfaction piling up inside the meeker partner is bound to come out in the open and end the relationship.
Relationship-killer #5. Lying
Lying within a relationship is an act of serious breach of trust, irrespective of how trivial the lie may be. If one or both partners feel the need to lie to each other, the relationship becomes pointless.
Relationship-killer #6. Finances
Are we going to pool all our earnings in a joint account?
Or we’re going to divide responsibilities for expenses?
Are we going to treat everything as family expense or we’d have some specific expenses attributed to individuals?
Failure to set clear rules about handling of finances before marriage is a potential risk to relationship stability post-marriage.
Relationship-killer #7. Forced commonalities
You can spend a whole day with Tolstoy and Maggi, but he wouldn’t touch a book if his life depended on it. He’s never listened to anything but instrumental classical, but that stuff plain puts you off to sleep. Forcing each other to change their tastes so that you can “share everything” is a firm step in the wrong direction.
That’s the kind of blunder I’m suggesting you avoid, ’cause it’ll break you so bad that it’ll eventually break your prized relationship.
Relationship-killer #8. Self-isolation
Giving up your other relationships for them: “My girlfriend doesn’t like my best friend from school, so why not stop seeing him altogether? After all, she’s more important than him.”
Again, a recipe for disaster. Every important relationship of our lives provides us vital emotional connection and support. One is not a replacement for any other. In fact if you cut off any of your previous relationships for your partner, it would eventually make your relationship suffocating and speed up its demise.
Relationship-killer #9. Unclear needs
“I thought I wanted intelligence, verve and humour in a man, but now I realize a willingness to share the household chores equally is a much more important criterion for me.”
In relationships, such rude awakenings are not rare at all. The more people we meet and get close to, the more we learn about our own needs from a relationship. While it’s never possible to know all of your needs clearly before getting into a relationship, it’s important to at least have some basic criteria clearly defined.
Relationship-killer #10. Unclear life goals
You want to live and work in five continents whereas your partner would like to settle down cosily in their quaint hometown as soon as possible. The glitch is, you’re already engaged.
Before you get into a serious commitment, each of you must have some basic idea of you want from life and how much of it you’re ready to sacrifice for the relationship. Having your own limits clearly defined is essential for a healthy relationship.
Relationship-killer #11. Forced parents
No one is “like” anyone else in this world. That’s what makes each of us unique. Besides your relationship with your parent is one of the most special relationships of your life. A parent can never be replaceable. Expecting someone else to be like them is unrealistic and unfair. Instead look upon them as friendly acquaintances who deserve respectful treatment from you.
Relationship-killer #12. Parental interference
Some people, especially in India, are very close to their parents. That’s great, as long as that relationship doesn’t cause problems in other relationships. You’ve all heard of the proverbial mollycoddled Indian boy who refuses to leave the “shade of his mother’s aanchal” even after he’s married. Not only in case of marriage, but also in case of relationships, too much interference from parents of either side can be a deal-breaker.
Relationship-killer #13. Marrying at the wrong time
Nothing kills a relationship faster than converting it into a lifelong commitment before either side is ready. (You don’t want your love to die as soon as your marriage starts, right?) There’s no shortcut to knowing a person – the only way to know if someone is right for you is to spend at least two to three years with them. In order to minimize risk, take the time to assess your mutual compatibility & ask the right questions before taking a decision.
Relationship-killer #14. Divergent values
If you read Kafka and she reads Sidney Sheldon you can still have a very successful relationship by giving each other necessary space. However if your senses of right and wrong are divergent, if you hold conflicting beliefs and values, that’s surely not good news for your relationship. These differences may not always be apparent immediately. Again, spending a lot time together before committing is paramount when it comes to identifying such differences.
Relationship-killer #15. No social life
“We have each other, so it doesn’t matter that we don’t have any other friends.”
While at an initial stage of a relationship it might feel that way, this is a wrong approach to a relationship. It’s important to cultivate common friendships and together you must create an active social life. Being together while also enjoying others’ company will save your relationship from becoming claustrophobic. It will also give it a new dimension.
Relationship-killer #16. Obsession
Some people tend to put their partners at the very centre of their lives. They think and act as if their life revolves around their partner.
“I’d leave this job to be in the same city as my partner, even though this is my dream job.”
“I’ve given up my hobbies so that I can find more time to spend with my partner.”
Always remember, your partner is an important part of your life, not your life itself. If you make them your life, you’re in for a nasty disappointment, sooner or later.
Relationship-killer #17. Looking for “perfect”
I know a girl who’s had three different relationships over the past one year. No wonder she’s still single.
No one is perfect. No one will be an “ideal” partner for you. A perfect relationship is not made by two people who’re perfect for each other, but by two people who’re willing to make the relationship perfect in spite of their imperfections. Having a rough list of some basic criteria and then letting your heart take the lead once those are satisfied is a workable strategy for finding lasting love. If you look for perfect, you’re likely to remain disappointed.
Relationship-killer #18. Long distance without deadline
If you’re going long distance, it’s imperative to set a timeline by when you’re going to be at the same place again. Many a potentially successful relationship breaks up because of the sad, circumstantial reason of distance. Being long distance indefinitely brings feelings of emotional distance, uncertainty and a possible eventual separation.
Relationship-killer #19. Jealousy
This one is an all-too-common silent killer. Unfounded suspicion, jealousy and over-possessiveness can very quickly suffocate and otherwise perfectly healthy relationship. If you find yourself in the throes of unexplained blind jealousy, the key is to apply reason and keep your suspicious urges at bay.
Relationship-killer #20. Cheating
The last and the most common relationship-killer is cheating. When it rocks the foundations of the relationship it takes trust away. It takes meticulous work on the part of both partners to make the relationship work again.
Are you experiencing any of these red flags in your relationship?
Have you seen people around you break up because of one or more of these 20 relationship-killers?
Share your experience by leaving a comment.