Last Updated on March 11, 2024 by Angela Vaz

You’re in a relationship.

Things couldn’t be going better.

But you’re worried.

You’ve been hurt before, and you don’t want a repeat of last time.

You want to be sure that this person is the right person for you.

Multiple relationship killers could mean the end of your relationship. And it’s not a crime to look at them or be aware of them.

Knowledge is power.

We can learn from our own mistakes, or we could learn from others’ mistakes.

Either way, it’s always best to be prepared and at least keep these relationship killers in mind to do our best to circumnavigate them and save our relationships.

Let’s begin.

But before that really quick, get my free guide on how to really reset your life.

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What is a relationship killer?

what is a relationship killer? Learn what are the major relationship killers in relationships and how you can fix it

A relationship killer is a characteristic that one or both people in a relationship may exhibit that might cause the end of a relationship.

Think of it as a disease.

If it’s not treated, it will worsen until it becomes fatal.

It could also be a situation that might change the dynamics of a relationship and, in turn, lead to the end of a relationship between 2 people.

Most relationship killers are related to toxic communication. And the four types of toxic communication or relationship killers are:

  • A person gets triggered and blames the other person instead of calmly explaining why they feel the way they do.
  • Defensive behavior: The person gets highly defensive and isn’t rational, so they deny responsibility or shift blame.
  • Sarcasm or Contempt: Here, the person constantly taunts their partner, eye-rolls, and is very sarcastic or sardonic. They psychologically and emotionally abuse their partner.
  • Stonewalling: This is a widespread relationship killer – where the person completely shuts out their partner by just ignoring them or maintaining long periods of silence.

However, many types of relationship killers have little to do with communication.

Let’s have a look at them.

11 relationship killers you need to watch out for

1. Lack of or poor communication

I’ve seen multiple relationships burn to the ground because of poor communication.

It doesn’t matter how much chemistry you have or how compatible you are with each other.

If you both cannot communicate your problems without interrupting or getting defensive, your relationship isn’t healthy.

And it may be a massive sign of toxic communication.

It is essential to treat each other with respect and kindness. And that often comes in the form of listening to each other and talking to each other.

Avoid getting defensive or jumping to conclusions no matter how heated the topic becomes.

The idea behind communication is not to win the argument, it is to solve the problem.

It is always you both against the problem. The problem should never come between you.

Find a way to sit down and talk about what is disturbing you.

Remember, your partner cannot read your mind.

If something is troubling you, tell them.

No two people communicate the same. We are all so different from each other, and we should make peace with how different our partners are from us.

That is why communication is the key.

You’re upset because your partner is not paying attention to you? Talk to them, tell them exactly how you feel. But be gentle.

You’re angry because your partner didn’t do something when they told you they would? Talk to them. Find out why they didn’t keep their word.

2. Dishonesty

dishonesty is a huge problem in relationships

Many problems in the world would be solved if we were just honest with each other.

Most people have emotional or physical affairs because they feel like their partners can’t understand them.

Apart from a lack of communication or the inability to communicate their feelings to their partners, they are dishonest.

Dishonesty can arise due to multiple issues like insecurity, narcissism, the fear of getting your heart broken or judged, etc.

But if you want a healthy relationship and want to be sure that your relationship has the best chance of succeeding, be honest.

Understand that a relationship requires both of you to be honest and vulnerable with each other.

If the relationship fails due to honesty, perhaps the person isn’t right for you.

You must communicate how you feel with your partner.

They cannot read your mind.

Honesty will not only help you build your communication skills but will also build trust.

Trust is the absolute foundation of any relationship, whether personal or work-related.

3. Lack of trust

Lack of trust is the number 1 relationship killer in most relationships.

Trust isn’t built in a day.

When you start dating someone, you slowly build trust as you get to learn more about them.

That’s why you cannot fall in love with someone in a day.

You have to take the time to get to know them and see if both of you have the same goals and are compatible with each other.

Relationships are more about minds connecting than the heart.

And with time, you build trust.

However, if you feel like you cannot trust your partner, I highly recommend doing something to remedy this.

Figure out why you cannot trust them and then work to solve the issue. For instance, you may have trust issues due to past childhood trauma, or you may have been hurt in your previous relationship.

I recommend getting a therapist if you feel like this is too challenging to take on by yourself.

Heal so that you can have a healthier relationship.

You can even get a couples therapist.

4. Making your partner your be-all-end-all

making your partner your whole life will lead to your downfall

Your partner is undoubtedly an essential part of your life.

But they shouldn’t become your life.

This is a significant relationship killer in relationships where people develop unhealthy attachments to their partners.

This will lead to a very unhealthy and toxic relationship.

Your relationship with your partner shouldn’t define you as a person. Because you are valuable and so much more than just your relationship with your partner.

Your life should be revolving around multiple other things like:

  • Your hobbies and interests
  • The things you are passionate about – your values and your ethics
  • Your role as a caregiver, a parent, a child, a sibling, or a friend
  • Your career and your work

You shouldn’t rely on your partner for everything, nor should you base your sole happiness on your partner.

It will cause too much pressure on your partner, soon leading to the end of the relationship.

It will also lead to you losing your identity in the relationship.

No matter what happens, your relationship should be a part of your life, not your whole life.

Give your partner breathing space.

Let them pursue their hobbies and interests. Give them enough distance to let them interact with the people they love spending time with.

And you should do the same.

Learn to love yourself completely and wholly.

Your partner shouldn’t be the sole reason for your happiness and existence.

A relationship works best when you allow each other to be yourselves.

Remember, you don’t have to be mirror copies of each other to be in a relationship.

For instance, my partner loves to travel while I am perfectly content sitting indoors.

We make the relationship cordial and exciting by taking trips together and spending time indoors doing fun hobbies.

But we also give each other room to be ourselves.

My partner takes several treks alone and with his friends because he loves moving and is super adventurous.

And I love spending time reading or playing the piano, so I spend more time at home when I’m not outside with him or my friends.

So, take some time to understand who you are and learn to be yourself.

When you are both individually happy, your relationship will also thrive.

5. Taking the relationship for granted

Taking your relationship for granted is one of the significant relationship killers you need to watch out for.

Often, couples who have spent months or years together become complacent.

They just assume their partner knows how much they love each other and stop trying.

They stop communicating or slowly fall into a routine that doesn’t involve spending much time with their partners.

The distance and lack of communication grow till they feel they cannot talk to their partner.

And this may lead to a breakup.

It is essential never to take your relationship for granted.

This person you are with cannot read your mind.

They do not know what you are thinking.

And we all have little children inside of us that want attention, love, and kindness.

So, take some time out of your week to spend some quality time with your partner.

You shouldn’t have to wait for Valentine’s day to express love to your significant other.

If you have children or demanding careers, this definitely takes more time and work.

But the results are worth it.

6. Lack of physical intimacy

lack of physical intimacy is a big relationship killer

This is very similar to the previous point.

Relationships often start with a heightened sense of physical intimacy, and it slowly dies down due to other commitments and time.

It’s normal.

But physical intimacy is essential in a committed relationship.

And physical intimacy doesn’t always have to mean sex.

It can involve pecking each other on the cheek when you’re leaving for work or holding hands while taking a walk.

Physical intimacy can be as simple as hugging your partner from time to time or kissing their forehead when you want to express love.

Make it a point to convey your feelings to your partner with these simple acts of love and affection.

It will make a world of difference to your partner.

7. Not supporting each other

Because you and your partner may be worlds apart, it doesn’t mean that you cannot support each other.

Your partner may be trying to do something that you may not understand, but you should always support and motivate your partner.

Having faith in them or even helping them during their times of need will strengthen your bond and relationship.

For instance, my partner doesn’t know much about online businesses or drawing.

But whenever I tell him about my endeavors, he listens eagerly and always tells me that he believes in me.

I do the same for him.

I know jackshit about being a data scientist, but when he talks about his work or problems, I tell him that I know he will overcome them.

Showing support for your partner will help your relationship blossom into a good friendship, making your relationship even stronger.

More than support, you should focus on being there for each other.

Your partner should feel comfortable talking to you and sharing their problems with you without feeling like they’ll be judged.

So, be open, kind, and loving to your partner. Support them fully when they believe in something.

I recently read about Ed Winters, who became vegan only because his partner prompted him.

They both supported each other on their vegan journey after watching multiple documentaries on the suffering of animals.

Their relationship is a perfect example of how two people should support each other in a relationship.

8. Harboring grudges

harboring grudges will only scar your relationship

Understand that you and your partner are two completely different people with:

  • Different backgrounds
  • Different upbringings
  • Possibly different values and traits

Keeping this in mind will help you understand your partner’s needs.

It will also help you become less controlling and dominant.

You should allow your partner to be who they are.

For instance:

  • When you are upset, you may want to vent to your partner and friends.
  • When he is upset, he may want to stew in silence or pursue a hobby to deal with his feelings.

So, you have to be very accomodating.

Tell them if there is any misunderstanding or if you are upset and anxious over something your partner has done.

Remember, they cannot read your mind or know when you are upset.

If they are good at reading body language or are highly intuitive, they may pick it up.

But it is not on them if they can’t understand what you are going through.

Refer to my first point on communication – this will make or break or relationship.

Find a way to communicate your feelings to your partner, no matter what you feel.

Do not harbor grudges or let negative feelings stew for a long time.

It is not going to help you or your relationship.

Grudges and anger are like weeds in a garden.

Ultimately, it will suck out all the nutrients and be the relationship killer that will tear your relationship.

9. Inability to resolve conflicts

No matter how beautiful your relationship is or how compatible you both are with each other, you will have conflicts.

That is because you cannot be similar in every aspect.

Both of you will disagree on situations, and you will have different opinions.

It’s natural.

It’s normal.

Accept it.

But what will doom the relationship is your inability to deal with those varying opinions.

You can choose to disagree while respecting each other’s opinions.

A healthy and successful relationship is based on how you can resolve conflicts peacefully.

Speak out your points and listen with an open heart.

Then it is time to compromise and make adjustments.

Try to find common ground and see if you can adjust till you find a solution that makes both of you happy.

There is no need to argue or fight.

Just talk it out peacefully, and you’ll find your relationship becoming more robust and more beautiful.

10. Dumping all your problems on your partner

dumping all your problems on your partner is not a good thing

Yes, you should share everything with your partner.

But it is crucial to be somewhat independent because both of you are whole and complete.

You shouldn’t expect your partner to solve all of your problems for you.

That is not fair to your partner and will cause a lot of stress for both of you.

Learn to be patient with yourself and your partner.

And when sharing problems that affect both of you, like discussing finances, children, moving, etc., be kind.

Take your partner’s considerations into account.

Don’t let the problem’s stress, anger, and anxiety blind you to your partner’s feelings.

Be kind and open to your partner’s voice.

Work toward the solution together.

11. Letting your past dictate your relationship

I see so many relationships failing because people haven’t taken the time to heal from their previous failed relationship before entering a new one.

They assume that a new relationship is a cure for the acute pain they face from a prior failed relationship.

So, take some time to heal before you enter a relationship.

If you already are in a relationship and feel like your past is bringing on a lot of unhappiness or creating anxiety in your current relationship, seek help.

Try to heal by understanding what from your past is causing you to have specific fears or behave in a certain way.

Seek a counselor or see a therapist to help you with this.

It isn’t fair to your current partner to bring your past into your relationship.

Your partner is not your ex.

They are a whole different person.

Frequently asked questions on relationship killers

1. What are the top three relationship killers?

These are the top three relationship killers:

  1. Lack of trust and honesty: If you do not trust your partner and cannot be honest with them, you don’t have a strong foundation in your relationship. And there is a very good chance that it will break.
  2. Lack of communication: Both people in a relationship should be able to talk to each other. A healthy relationship thrives on honest and open communication. And the lack of communication is going to bleed the relationship dry.
  3. Lack of compatibility: Love isn’t enough to save the relationship. If you are incompatible with each other and have incredibly different views, values, goals, and ethics, no amount of communication and trust can save the relationship.

2. What causes disconnection in relationships?

If two people in a relationship stop spending time with each other or just stop communicating, they will drift further apart until they are unhappy.

This can cause a considerable strain on the relationship.

That is why it is essential to be open and honest with each other and have a genuine need to spend time with each other.

3. When should you quit a relationship?

You should quit a relationship when:

  1. You feel you cannot talk to your partner: You feel like you can’t discuss anything with your partner without them getting mad or defensive. This also falls into toxic communication.
  2. Your partner doesn’t respect you: Maybe your partner doesn’t respect you or treat you with the kindness you deserve. If you find that they constantly mock you, perhaps it is time to end the relationship.
  3. You have changed: Maybe both of you loved each other and had similar goals at the beginning of the relationship. But as time grew on, you changed, and your values shifted. If you cannot see eye to eye and genuinely feel like you cannot live with your partner, it may be time to move on.

Here are a few more posts that will help you:


I hope this post helped you identify the significant relationship killers you should be looking for.

If you feel one or a few apply to your relationship, there is always time to fix things.

All hope is not lost.

If you feel like it is too hard for you to do it alone, or you don’t know how to attempt to fix things, get a counselor.

Relationship counselors will listen to both of you with unbiased ears and help you both out by giving you recommendations on what you can do to fix the relationship.

If both of you love each other and want to make the relationship work, then there is a good chance you can fix it.

Angela is a 30 year old Illustrator and Blogger living with her 2 adorable labradors in Bangalore, India. She has a degree in Psychology and Human Relationships from the University of Toronto. When she's not writing her heart out or drawing, you'll find her sipping chai and reading non-fiction books.

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