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What Causes a Relationship to Fail



So often I hear people talking about "the one who got away" or their own personal version of it. So many carry the question of what made the perfect #relationship fail, the great mystery of what went wrong, and the burning question of what might have been.

"They were great, we were great together. I don't understand why it didn’t work.”

In many years of working with relationships and #coaching many people (and #couples) through all kinds of scenarios, I've come to find some really key things that always work to the detriment of a relationship. In each instance, I can almost always pinpoint one or more of these that were present in the relationship and therefore, in the long term, guaranteed failure.


The first thing I want to address, as gently as possible, is that the relationship was not as great as you remember it being. How do I know that? Based on results, it didn't work. We love drama, and one of the most profound dramas that human beings are addicted to is the drama of "I lost the Love of my Life."


It was not the Love of your Life. If it was it wouldn't have ended.


What I find most fascinating about this idea though, is that hanging on to the idea of "I lost the Love of my Life" actually prevents people from going out and creating a relationship with the #Love of their #Life.


This "lost" relationship was also not a loss—that’s the opposite, unhealthy extreme of this conversation.


This relationship was a lesson. This relationship was a profound opportunity for you to learn and grow and design yourself to be the person who can be ready for the Love of your Life when they arrive. I find that this shift in perception is an essential ingredient to being able to find out why the relationship didn't work and also what you can do about it.


When you can honestly say—


While it may have had perfect moments, it was not a perfect relationship.


There was fighting, disagreement, possibly resentment.


One or both partners were not having their needs met.


One or both partners were not being respected or appreciated to the degree they wished or deserved to be.


There were broken agreements, broken promises, possibly even lies or secrets.


When you can honestly see the relationship as it is, and rather than be defeated by this, you become excited about the possibility that this affords you in the future—


You are ready to learn from this experience and move on all the better because of it.


Now to the real question, why didn’t it work?


Often people say, “Well, it was them", "It was their fault”, “If they had been different or if they had only done this or that it would have worked.”


If you want to give away all your power and render yourself helpless not only in this relationship, but also the next, that's the way to go. If you want to empower and prepare yourself to create extraordinary relationships moving forward, then you want to begin by looking at what you did or didn't do, and how you participated that led to an unsuccessful relationship. After all, no matter how much of a disaster they may have been, you're the one that chose to have a relationship with them.


Which brings me to this point:


In many cases, you knew they weren't the one from the beginning and you chose to date them anyway.


I often see people get involved with someone who wants very different things than they do and they know this from the start. They go ahead with it anyway. They choose to subordinate their honest desires and go along with it to secure being with somebody rather than being honest with themselves and the other person and risk losing the relationship. They date from a scarcity of "what if I don't meet another person?" Rather than a commitment to meet the right person, the intention is to find the person who is "good enough". But so often the criteria on which "good enough" is based is very far from what truly matters in a relationship.