Can you fix your relationship? It depends what the problem is. Here are four reasons good relationships go bad, to help you know if you can reconnect and get your love back on track.
If you want to save your relationship, read How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It. There’s only so many times you can say, “Honey, we need to talk” – sometimes you need to stop talking and start loving your partner in practical, loving ways.
This article is inspired by a reader who commented on my article about relationships ending. “Where did we go wrong?” she asks on Signs Your Marriage is Over. “Our relationship was so good at first. He bought me flowers, dinners, and weekend trips. He told me he loved me all the time, and I told him I loved him. Now he wants his space and says our relationship isn’t what he wants for his life. What did I do to drive him away? Why did our love go bad?”
She’s not alone. Most of us have no idea why our relationships or marriages go bad – there’s often no clear cut boundary that we can identify. That’s why it’s so important to work at our relationships every day, and not let the little things grow into big things that destroy our love.
Before we get into the list of reasons good relationships go bad, here are some truths about love.
Surprising Truths About Marriage
- More sex doesn’t necessarily improve a marriage
- Frequent arguing will not lead to a divorce
- Financial problems do not always spell trouble in a relationship
- Wives who make sour facial expressions when their husbands talk are likely to be separated within four years
- There is a reason husbands withdraw from arguments – and there’s a way around it
From Why Marriages Succeed or Fail: And How You Can Make Yours Last by John Gottman.
4 Reasons Good Relationships Go Bad
Every relationship is unique, but there are some underlying truths about why love fades, fizzles, fails, and flies away…
We take each other for granted
I do this to my husband all the time: brush off all the good, loving, amazing things he does, and focus on the pesky annoyances. I forget why I love him so much, I don’t think about why I married him, and I definitely don’t feel grateful for what a good man he is.
It’s the “Familiarity breeds contempt” quip: the more familiar we are with our loved ones, the worse we treat them. Isn’t that sad? I’m more likely to be short or critical with him than I am with a store clerk or my neighbor…and I certainly don’t love them! But I’m so familiar with my husband, I just ignore the best parts of him.
We expect too much from love, from each other, from our relationships
We think marriage is about happily ever after, shiny white horses, and being swept off our feet forever. We think love is about constant chemistry, lots of steamy sex, and flowers every week. We think our partners should meet our every physical, emotional, and spiritual need, and be there for us no matter what.
I think good relationships go bad because we don’t have realistic expectations about love. Sometimes we may even have too low of expectations. If you think you’re not being treated well in your relationship, read 5 Signs of a Verbally Abusive Relationship.
We get bored
This is me! I’ve always gotten bored with life, and my marriage is part of my life. Therefore, I get bored with marriage. I get tired of doing the same things the same way all the time, and I let my boredom destroy my love for my husband.
Last Saturday night, my husband took me out for a nice sushi dinner. It was a gorgeous day, but I was in a dark, brooding mood. I told him I was bored, and I know that hurt him. I sulked throughout our meal, and it ruined the evening for him. Luckily, I was able to salvage the evening before we got home, and we had a very nice time later that night, at home! But I could easily ruin my marriage by focusing on how boring it can be to be with the same person for years. And the crazy thing is, I really, really don’t want to lose him. We have a good relationship, but it could go bad if I let it.
We get distracted
According to marriage counselor Gary Neuman, men cheat on women because they don’t feel connected to their wives. Their relationship was good, but it went bad because one or both partners stopped focusing on their love and got distracted by work, kids, money problems, hobbies, or their other responsibilities.
A related reasons is tragedy. When couples experience infertility, loss, death, or other tragedies, they sometimes pull away from each other instead of pulling together. My husband and I can’t have kids, and I can totally see how infertility can cause a good relationship to go bad! It’s very stressful and sad, especially if the couple has different ideas on how to deal with the problem.
What do you think – why do good relationships go bad? Why does love fail, fizzle, and fade away? I welcome your comments, but I can’t offer advice for couples who are struggling to learn why good relationships go bad.
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My prayer for you is that you connect with your spouse. May you find healthy, good ways to save your marriage.