We have all faced failed relationships at some points in our lives. Whether it be between you and your partner, your family, your friends, or with yourself.
Today, I want to touch on the topic of romantic relationships – the one between you and your “significant” other, and the life lessons that we can learn from failed relationships. I feel it is important to reflect on the lessons we can learn from those experiences, especially after having been through one myself.
Now, I want to let you know something which has affected me a lot.
As some of you might know, I had a boyfriend. However, I am sad to say that we have broken up on 9 May 2018. Yes, it happened not long ago.
I kept quiet during this one month period so that I can recover from the breakup. It wasn’t easy and I am sure it wasn’t easy for the other party as well.
Both of us have agreed to go our separate ways because we feel that it’s the best decision for us. I will not talk about the negative parts of it because I want to respect the privacy of my previous partner. However, we did face many major problems which have caused his love to deteriorate.
I feel that it is only right for me to let you guys know because I have featured him in a few of my previous posts.
I want to be as transparent as possible as it just doesn’t feel right for me to leave it in the dark and have people come to me asking what happened after a while.
What is the Definition of a “Failed” Relationship?
According to Professor Jim Davis from Psychology Today, he stated that a failed relationship is one that “leaves you feeling as if you’re worse off for having known that person”.
In his article, he talked about how many people tend to label relationships that ended as “failed” relationships. However, he finds it unhealthy to think of them that way.
Original article: A Better Way to Look at “Failed” Relationships
10 Reasons Why We Face Failed Relationships
To begin with, I want to briefly talk about the top 2 reasons why we face failed relationships in the first place.
1. LACK OF COMMUNICATION
This one is a killer.
According to Huff Post, 100 mental health professionals found that communication problems were the most common reason why 65% of couples split up”.
Without healthy communication, a relationship is unlikely to be successful. Do not be afraid of addressing an issue with your partner. It is important to discuss problems openly and solve them together rather than keeping quiet just because you do not want to hurt their feelings.
2. LACK OF TRUST
This is another major killer in relationships. Without trust, what is the point of having a relationship?
If you are upset with your partner about a situation, talk it out. Always be sincere and allow your partner to clarify the situation in detail to you. It is very important to always think before you act.
This will create a stronger bond between you and your partner and prevent any unnecessary misunderstandings.
3. YOU AND YOUR PARTNER HAVE DIFFERENT EXPECTATIONS
It’s not an easy task for a couple to walk through a journey together for a long time without having the same expectations and mindsets in life.
As reality and personal demands sets in, a couple’s expectations might go from “what we want” to “what I want”. If this happens, it is very likely that relationship divergence will occur.
4. DIFFERENCE IN PRIORITIES
I’ve been there and it felt so bad.
If your partner prioritizes things above you that are supposedly “unreasonable”, then the relationship might start to get unstable because you feel like you don’t matter in your partner’s life.
5. ISSUES IN LIFE HABITS
Excessive drinking. Smoking. Swearing and so on.
You know what I mean. These bad habits will cause problems in your relationship if one of you are against it.
6. MOVING THROUGH LIFE AT DIFFERENT SPEEDS
Everyone matures at a different rate. For instance, if you are ready to start a family but your partner isn’t ready, tension will arise.
Education is another common factor between young couples where one wants to continue on with further education while the other wants to settle down.
My advice to you is to look for a partner in the same stage of life as you.
7. LACK OF EFFORT AND TIME
For me, the problem I faced was the lack of time. He was always busy with studies and other external activities that we don’t really have any quality time for each other.
This might be a good sacrifice because education is a very important factor in Singapore, and I do not want him to lack behind because of me.
It takes a lot of effort from both parties to make a relationship work. If any of you lack the time and effort to recognize the issues that are threatening your relationship, you are just making room for a breakup.
8. FAMILY ISSUES
Let’s admit it, family and friends have more influential power in your relationship than you realized.
Most times, these loved ones can be supportive of your relationship. However, there are also many cases where you or your partner’s family and friends aren’t. This will cause both of you to drift away from each other if one decides to take in the opinions of others.
Know what kind of friends your partner keeps and what type of advice they give regarding your relationship. If you realized something is concerning about one’s opinion, it’s time to think twice of your relationship.
Always follow your heart and do what is best for you.
9. LOST OF PASSION
When your partner lost feelings for you because they feel that there’s nothing left except for sex, this is a sign that you should end the relationship. They do not truly love you for you anymore.
It’s okay for people to feel insecure about themselves. However, too much might, in turn, kill your relationship.
If you lack self-esteem, this might cause your relationship to lack intimacy because:
- Physical Appearance – You are not confident in your own body
- Emotional – You become too clingy and possessive of your partner
Instead of questioning your own worthiness, try asking yourself “What are some things I love about myself?” This will help you build up more confidence about yourself and hence strengthen your relationship.
2 Life Lessons Learned From Failed Relationship
With the reasons behind our minds, I want to share with you 2 life lessons that I found were most important and helped me cope with the situation better back then.
1. DO NOT GIVE TO RECEIVE
Wanting to be loved is never wrong, but expecting the love to be given to you just because you showed the same is not going to work. Men and women are different. The way one expresses love might not be the same as the other.
According to Psychology Today, it stated that “People tend to give to one another the way they like to receive, but that is not giving”.
Now, how many of you have heard of The 5 Love Languages?
I believe in The 5 Love Languages and have used it many times to improve my relationships with people around me.
For those of you who have never heard of it before, the 5 Love Languages are:
1. Words of Affirmation
Actions don’t always speak louder than words. If this is your love language, unsolicited compliments mean the world to you. Hearing the words “I love you” is important. Hearing the reasons behind the love sends your spirits skyward. Insults can leave you shattered and not easily forgotten.
2. Acts of Service
Can vacuuming the floors really be an expression of love? Absolutely!
Anything you do to ease the burden of responsibilities weighing on an “Acts of Service” person will speak volumes. The words he or she most want to hear are “Let me do that for you”. Laziness, broken commitments, and making more work for them tell speakers of this language that their feelings don’t matter.
3. Receiving Gifts
Don’t mistake this love language for materialism. The receiver of gifts thrives on the love, thoughtfulness, and effort behind the gift. If you speak this language, the perfect gift or gesture shows that you are known, you are cared for, and you are prized above whatever was sacrificed to bring the gift to you. A missed birthday, anniversary, or a hasty and thoughtless gift would be disastrous, so would the absence of everyday gestures.
4. Quality Time
In the vernacular of Quality Time, nothing says “I love you” like full, undivided attention. Being there for this type of person is critical, but really being there – with the TV off, fork and knife down, and all chores and tasks on stand by – makes your partner feel truly special and loved. Distractions, postponed dates, or the failure to listen can be especially harmful.
5. Physical Touch
This language isn’t all about the bedroom. A person whose primary love language is Physical Touch is, not surprisingly, very touchy. Hugs, pats on the back, holding hands, and thoughtful touches on the arm, shoulder or face can be ways to show excitement, concern, care and love. Physical presence and accessibility are crucial, while neglect and abuse can be unforgivable and destructive.
Use them to understand, find out and show your partner’s love language, while still expressing yours so that they know what your love language is. By showing your partner’s love language, they are more likely to express your love language back to you, and that will strengthen your relationship with one another.
2. YOU CAN ONLY CHANGE YOURSELF, NOT YOUR PARTNER
The difference between couples that stay together and the ones who split up is the way they handle conflict.
Dr. John Gottman, a psychological researcher and clinician from The Gottman Institute, stated that “the masters of relationships take responsibility for their role in the issue and change their behavior.”
Instead of trying to change your partner, be the change you wish to see in your relationship.
Dr. Gottman also stated that “When you focus on changing your partner, you miss the opportunity to work together to come up with a solution. You are no longer on the same team.”
Therefore, when you face issues in your relationship, focus on it at hand and justly solve the issue so that both of your needs are met.
3. SELF-LOVE IS MORE IMPORTANT
According to Notes On Bliss, she mentioned that “Self-love is the most important kind of love because it determines your capacity to love others”.
I couldn’t agree more.
I didn’t love myself fully, which was why I felt that he would never love me 100%. I always ask myself questions like “He doesn’t really love me, does he?”. I felt that I was lacking in so many ways as a girlfriend.
In turn, I expected him to fill in those gaps for me. Yet, I still wasn’t happy. When he was away from me, I felt myself breaking apart again. This caused many arguments and problems in our relationship because I end up expecting too much from him.
4. OVERTHINKING IS YOUR ENEMY
Ever heard of “curiosity kills the cat”? Overthinking plays a similar role in that phrase.
When you overthink, you will start building up these negative emotions inside of you because you will think about the worse scenarios that can happen. Even worse, you might start developing anxiety or depression like how I did.
Do not think too much. I know, it sounds easy to say, but in reality, it isn’t something easy to do.
My previous partner and I are heavy victims of overthinking. This has made us drift apart from each other because we felt like the other party “isn’t loyal enough”.
5. YOU WILL SURVIVE
Yes, I have been there.
I told myself and my family that I cannot be happy anymore without him. That I no longer have the courage to love, to smile, and to move on.
But I did. It takes a bit of time, but it will end at some point. You will survive.
These are some things which have helped me and it might help you too:
- Hanging out with my friends
- Deleting photos of him
- Talking it out with my family and friends
- Watching comedy shows and/or movies
- Listening to music
Find activities that keep your mind busy and those that make you happy – It can be anything. From reading a book or going for a walk to visiting the beach or playing your favorite sport!
Most people look at failure – be it in love or business – as a negative thing. However, if people can turn their mindsets around and look at it from another perspective, all these failures are essential and are springboards to the success that we have today.
I’ve covered with all of you 10 reasons why some relationships failed, as well as 5 life lessons which we can all learn from it.
This has been a very pretty personal and saddening thing for me to address. However, I am glad that I had the courage to express it out to the world.
Hopefully, my advice will help you if you are facing or have faced failed relationships before but don’t know how to handle it. These by no means happens to everyone, find what relates to you and take the necessary actions.
Have you been in a failed relationship before? What did you learn from it? Let me know in the comments, I would love to hear them!