So Many Relationships End Because of THIS

healthy relationships life lessons Mar 04, 2024
a heart torn in two, signifying a breakup


Whether the end of a relationship arrives suddenly, catching you off guard, or unfolds gradually over time, the root cause is often the same: disconnection. Relationships, whether romantic or other, end not because of a lack of love but because of a lack of connection.

This realization that I gained from working with couples and also from my own romantic relationships left me asking this question: If most relationships end because of disconnection that grows over time, then what exactly are the things that create disconnection in our intimate relationships with our partners (regardless of the labels we use to define our relationships… boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, partner, or any other term)?


Relationships end not because of a lack of love but because of a lack of connection.


I’ll call these things that impede true connection and lasting love “connection breakers” and I’ve organized them into 7 categories.


Fear of Vulnerability


If you’re afraid of being vulnerable, guess what? True connection is impossible. I get why we may do it. After all, past rejections or judgments often leave us feeling apprehensive about sharing our true selves and wearing masks and armor. But whether that fear shows up as you’re dating or later on in the relationship, it will undoubtedly create disconnection that can lead to a breakup over time.

One of my clients, let’s call him Drew, is super eager to please, and while that seems like a good quality on the surface, it often led him to suppress his opinions to avoid conflict with his partner. And guess what? This fear of vulnerability- and his partner’s inability to truly know and respond to what he thought and felt- prevented them from forming a deeper connection and eventually led to a disconnect between them.

If you’re afraid of being vulnerable, know that I see you. Most of us weren’t conditioned to feel safe expressing our true thoughts and feelings. And, there’s no way around it if you want a long-lasting relationship. So build the skill bit by bit. Share your thoughts and feelings openly, foster a safe space for authenticity, and your relationship will last a lifetime.


If you’re afraid of being vulnerable, guess what? True connection is impossible.


Unmet Expectations


Unmet expectations ruin relationships. They especially ruin relationships when they’re unspoken. Have you ever tried to meet someone’s expectation without knowing what it was? It’s a recipe for disaster, right? That’s because expectations, when unspoken, can morph into silent disappointments. We often expect our partners to intuit our needs as if they’re psychic, and this only leads to disillusionment when these expectations aren't met.

Another client of mine, let’s call her Sam, hoped her partner, Jared, would always prioritize their time together. When he took on a few extra gigs at work so that he could feel more secure financially, she felt neglected and distant. She really longed for them to spend more time together and was met with extreme disappointment when he didn’t grasp exactly what that meant to her.



If you keep your needs to yourself, you’ll create expectations and experience disappointment when those needs go unmet. If you communicate your needs and desires clearly, you’ll create mutual understanding and collaboration. And that’s exactly what Sam and Jared’s relationship was longing for.


If you keep your needs to yourself, you’ll create expectations and experience disappointment when those needs go unmet.




The compulsion to please others is another behavior that can become a barrier to connection in relationships. If vulnerability is the pathway to letting our partner know our true desires and feelings, then people-pleasing is its opposite. 

When we prioritize pleasing others over honoring our authentic selves, we can lose sight of our own needs and desires. And if we lose sight of our own needs and desires, our partners may not know the real us.

This was Sara’s story when she came to see me. She constantly sought her husband Brian's approval, sacrificing her own needs and desires. After some time, this imbalance in Sarah between giving and receiving led to a growing disconnection between she and Brian.

True connection requires authenticity and honesty, so instead of people-pleasing, focus on being true to yourself and communicating openly with your partner. If you need help understanding and healing the roots of your desire to please others over honoring your own desires and needs, my one-on-one or one-on-two (couples) therapeutic coaching can help. Learn more here.


Unresolved Issues from the Past


Our past shapes us in profound ways, and unresolved issues from previous relationships can enter the picture and negatively impact our current ones.

When I say ‘unresolved issues from the past’, I’m referring to any number of situations or experiences that you may not have fully addressed or healed. It could be unresolved conflicts with family members or friends, lingering feelings of guilt or shame, or unresolved feelings from a previous relationship. Healing this “emotional baggage” takes time and courage but without doing so, you’ll just be carrying your past into your present. And there’s a reason these past interactions and relationships needed some support, right?



Consider this: if you've ever felt the need to be a 'people-pleaser,' often seeking approval and validation from your partner, chances are you're seeking to fulfill an emotional need from your past (a relationship with one or both of your parents or perhaps a previous partner) that was left unmet. If you don't address these unresolved things from the past, they can impact your relationships and create barriers to connection like misunderstandings, resentment, and distance between you and your partner. It's important to work through these issues and heal from past hurts in order to create a stronger, more connected relationship.


Trauma and Emotional Scars


Trauma is another significant factor when it comes to the degree of connection or disconnection that we might feel in our relationship at any given time. Past hurts, whether from childhood or previous relationships, can leave deep emotional scars. If not healed, these scars can manifest as walls, keeping us from fully opening up and being vulnerable.

Let's imagine a situation where one partner has experienced constant criticism and belittling from a previous partner. This emotional abuse has left deep emotional scars, making it difficult for them to trust and open up in their current relationship. Without intimacy and vulnerability, connection is lost.

What can help? For anything I’ve mentioned above and especially when it comes to unresolved past issues and trauma, seeking therapy or counseling to address the emotional scars from the past is your best bet. A skilled therapist or psychologist can help you heal emotional wounds and develop healthier coping mechanisms. If vulnerability isn’t a barrier to connection for you in your current relationship, you can also consider being open and honest with your current partner about your past experiences and the impact it has on your current relationship. If you need, you can also set boundaries and create a safe environment for honest conversation to take place. This can help create more understanding and support between you and may even be healing in itself by providing a reparative experience, assuming your current partner is emotionally healthy and behaves towards you in emotionally healthy ways.


Differing Needs and Priorities


When partners have differing needs or priorities, it can create misunderstandings, tension, and perhaps even a sense of disconnect as they struggle to align their values and goals. When partners aren’t aligned in their goals, it can be challenging to find common ground and create a shared vision for the future.

Mike and Layla are a couple I’ve worked with. When it comes to Mike’s values, security and stability are at the top of the list. His M.O. is building a successful career to provide for their family. Layla, on the other hand, loves adventure and spontaneity and wants to travel the world and have new experiences.



You can probably imagine what happened next… After some time passed in their marriage, Mike grew frustrated that Layla doesn't share his desire for stability, and Layla started to feel stifled by Mike's focus on work and the same ol’ routine week to week, month to month, year to year.

This is where the relational ‘N’ words comes in: Negotiation. For Mike and Layla, success in their relationship will only come from allowing them to honor each other's needs and priorities… A balance between stability and adventure in their lives… Setting aside time for travel and new experiences while also ensuring that they have a secure foundation for their future.

Again, none of this is possible without vulnerability and honest, open communication. To address their differing needs and priorities in the relationship, Mike and Layla need to have open and honest conversations about what’s important to each of them and brainstorm creative strategies that meet both of their needs.

Not only will coming together to negotiate their needs prevent the disconnect that’s likely to happen if they pretend their frustrations and different needs don’t exist, it will actually create a ripple effect of trust and connection that only makes their relationship feel more connected and safe over time.


Neglecting Quality Time Together


Quality time breeds connection while a lack of it can lead to a sense of emotional distance and detachment. It’s not uncommon for partners to want to spend a lot of time together early on in the relationship. But as the relationship progresses and say partners become preoccupied with their individual lives and responsibilities, they may inadvertently neglect the time they spend together. And because they aren’t nurturing and strengthening their bond through shared experiences, the result is a lack of emotional connection and intimacy, 

Consider Amy and Kabir, a couple who used to enjoy cooking dinner together and having meaningful conversations about their day. As they became busier with work and other commitments, they started to skip this shared activity and spent more time on their own. Without either of them realizing it at first, this started to create a feeling of disconnection and a sense that they were drifting apart.

The solution? Relationships don’t just work on their own. We need to make them work. And for Amy and Kabir, it means making a conscious effort to prioritize their relationship and spend quality time together. Setting aside time each week for a date night- where they focus on each other and grow their emotional intimacy- is one way to do this. They might also invest time in finding new activities that bring both of them joy and that they can do together (e.g., hiking, painting, or taking a cooking class).

I wish I could say that all of this can happen without vulnerability but the truth is, it can’t. A willingness to share as well as listen and understand each other's needs is critical.

As I prepare to wrap up, I just want to say that no matter what it is that’s causing disconnection in your relationship, the road to re-connection is ready to be taken. If you take time to understand the barriers, heal old wounds, and come together with openness, honesty, and vulnerability, a more fulfilling and long-lasting relationship is not far away.

And if you’re feeling disconnected in your relationship and want some help working through these issues to create a healthier, more authentic relationship, consider booking a one-on-one or one-on-two (couples) session with me. I am always happy to work with individuals and couples who are wanting and willing to do what it takes to make their relationship work and last for the long haul (spots are limited).


Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Cras sed sapien quam. Sed dapibus est id enim facilisis, at posuere turpis adipiscing. Quisque sit amet dui dui.

Call To Action

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

We hate SPAM. We will never sell your information, for any reason.