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The Top 25 Things Sabotaging Your Relationship: Are You Contributing?

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The Inside and Outside Factors Hurting Your Relationships

While most people dream of finding true love and living happily ever after, few people dream of a relationship tainted by complications. In the beginning of the relationship, few people see the faults of their partners. As time goes on and couples become familiar. Family members enter the picture, and people start taking one another for granted. While no one sets out to sabotage a relationship, members of couples may fall into destructive patterns of toxic learned behaviors, the past may come to haunt couples, or people with bad intentions may negatively influence the relationship.

Emotionally advanced individuals can recognize these unhealthy patterns and steer the relationship in a more healthy direction. While not all factors that destroy a relationship are obvious, some are easier to recognize. By addressing pitfalls as they arise, couples may enjoy a harmonious relationship and live happily ever after.

Withholding affection can hurt a relationship.

Withholding affection can hurt a relationship.

Can inlaws hurt your relationship?

Can inlaws hurt your relationship?

Can your depression affect your relationship?

Can your depression affect your relationship?

Vices can hurt relationships.

Vices can hurt relationships.

Do you nag your partner?

Do you nag your partner?

Self love is healthy, but narcissism hurts relationships.

Self love is healthy, but narcissism hurts relationships.



A controlling partner may have low self esteem.

A controlling partner may have low self esteem.

The Factors

25. The Past- Whether one person in the relationship is stuck on someone else, holding a grudge, or clinging to the past; the failure to move forward will damage a relationship.

24. The Differences Between Men and Women- Everyone knows men and women are different physically; however they are quite different psychologically. When it comes to communication, men are not as expressive as females. In areas of sex, men are more visually driven than females. In thought process, females are more emotional than logical. Not understanding the basic differences in men and women on a psychological level can strain a relationship.

23. Selfishness- When one person in a relationship puts value on her own needs over another, the other partner may become resentful. In a relationship where one person is superior to the other, there may be a destructive imbalance.

22. Untreated Mental Health Disorders- A great majority of the population suffers from a mental health disorder. Depression and personality disorders are common in society. If one person suffers from a condition such as mood swings, anti-social tendencies, anger, or narcissism, it is important to get treatment. A successful relationship depends on both parties contributing to a healthy environment.

21. Sarcasm- Many a truth is told in jest. The user of sarcasm may think they are “lightening the mood” with their jabs, but sarcasm can impede a relationship on many levels. These witty little darts are filled with disguised truths and observations that can hurt feelings, alienate a loved one, and hurt conversation.

20. Control Issues- People often tend to try to control others out of a deep sense of insecurity. People who do this don’t feel they are worthy of their loved one and do all they can to restrict the other so they don’t leave. In the end, the control issues are usually what drive the other in the relationship away.

19. Technology- In a world full of gadgets and instant information, many relationships are put on the backburner. When communicating by methods such as text messages, couples are unable to rely on physical cues and tone in a conversation. Misunderstandings may occur and intimacy may be compromised. In other cases, couples may experience communication breakdowns when distracted by mobile devices.

18. Negativity- Everyone has a bad day now and then, but in a relationship, chronic negativity can be like a wet blanket that dampens the bond between two people. It zaps happiness and makes people feel drained. Once it invades a relationship, one person may start to wonder what they saw in the other in the first place.

17. Defensiveness- Low self esteem or a need to create a diversion from the truth may make a person in a relationship defensive. This is a sign of weakness in a relationship between both members. Instead of discussing issues, one person may feel as if they are being attacked by the other and shut down all communication. Couples should evaluate whether they are too aggressive in their communication styles. If not, a defensive person may have something to hide.

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16. Lying- From white lies to whoppers, once one person is caught lying in a relationship, it casts a shadow of doubt over what they say and do.

15. Withholding Sex and Affection- When one person in a relationship uses sex and affection as a weapon, the relationship suffers. Sadly, in times of conflict, affection can go a long way to heal wounds.

14. Losing the Magic- Everyone knows that when a relationship first begins, the world is a magical realm of gifts, love letters, and long hours gazing into each other’s eyes. When relationships get familiar, couples stop doing these magical things. If things get stale, consider writing a love letter or planning a surprise get-away!

13. Bad Mouthing- In some relationships, one member of the couple may turn to a friend or relative to complain about the other member. A woman may call her mother to complain endlessly about her husband’s latest antics. This energy could be better used by sitting down with the husband and addressing the concerns with him directly. In most cases, the member of the couple doing this seeks outside validation that they are the victim in the relationship. Instead of taking responsibility for their contributions to the problems, they feed off of this validation that receive from the outside party. This hurts the relationship because the bad mouthing partner talks bad about their spouse behind their back and avoids fixing the real problems.

12. Poor Listening Skills- In relationships, some people hear their partner, but they don’t listen to their partner. Tuning out your partner sabotages a relationship.

11. Friends- If either person in a couple has friends that don’t support the relationship, they can become a negative influence. Couples need to keep healthy boundaries with their friends or they may interfere with the relationship.

Are you distracted by your cell phone?

Are you distracted by your cell phone?

Is your bucket empty? No one else can fill it but you.

Is your bucket empty? No one else can fill it but you.

Children and stepchildren can harm a relationship.

Children and stepchildren can harm a relationship.

Women are twice as likely to be addicted to Facebook.

Women are twice as likely to be addicted to Facebook.

Jealousy can lead to resentment and hurt your relationship.

Jealousy can lead to resentment and hurt your relationship.

10. Children and Step-Children- Couples with children or step children must make an effort to schedule romantic time alone. Those who fail to put their relationship first may loose touch. Also, if the couple disagrees on parenting styles, behavior, and values, conflicts could arise. Couples should set healthy boundaries with children and step children and abide by them.

9. Independence- If two members of a couple have conflicting needs for personal space, one could feel smothered while the other feels neglected. Couples who report the greatest happiness are those who have their own interests outside of the relationship.

8. The Empty Bucket Syndrome- Sometimes people enter relationships for the wrong reasons. Due to feelings of emptiness, some people seek out a relationship to make them feel like they have a purpose. People who are unhappy may think that another person can give them a sense of fulfillment. Later they become disappointed when the other person doesn’t meet this need. Healthy relationships start when each member of the couple comes to the relationship with a strong sense of self identity. No relationship will fill the empty bucket that one person may trying to fill.

7. Criticism, Nagging, Nitpicking- You may love your partner, but if criticism, nagging, and nitpicking are issues, you may not like your partner for very long. When one partner constantly criticizes the other partner, he or she may stop trying to contribute to avoid the inevitable barrage of complaints. Eventually, the criticized partner may avoid the other. Instead of criticizing your partner for the small things, make a concerted effort to appreciate the things they do well.

6. Debauchery- When one partner in a relationship has an extreme addiction to self indulgence, the relationship may be sabotaged. This compulsion for sensuality may lead to debaucheries such as infidelity, drug use, and addictions to pornography. The affected partner is easily seduced from any sense of commitment when a feel-good opportunity presents itself. While the activities themselves are damaging to the relationship, the problem presents a myriad of other complications. If shared income is used to fund the wayward partner’s activities, such as the purchase of hotel rooms, prostitutes, private cell phones, pornography, gifts, or drugs, the couple may fight over the missing funds.

5. Jealousy- This green-eyed monster is born from a deep sense of insecurity in a partner in a relationship. Whether it is justified or not, jealousy may lead to turbulence in a relationship if the other partner acts on their insecurities.

4. In Laws- So you think you have found the love of your life, then- you meet the rest of the family. While many relatives support a relationship, those with ill-intentions can sabotage a couple’s happiness. If a significant other comes from a dysfunctional family with unhealthy relationship boundaries, it could eventually spell trouble for a couple. Couples must enforce healthy boundaries with their families in matters of the relationship.

3. Vices- If one partner in the couple succumbs to a vice during the course of a relationship, it can have damaging consequences for the relationship. From alcoholism to gambling, a vice may be expensive, dangerous, or irritating. In other cases, people enter relationships with expectations that the other partner will give up the vice.

2. Cheating- For many reasons, cheating is one of the most destructive experience a couple can endure. Once trust between two people is compromised, it rarely ever returns. Cheating destroys intimacy and the victimized partner may become depressed, vindictive or obsessed with their partners whereabouts.

1. Money- The leading saboteur of relationships is money. Couples who don’t agree on spending, investing, saving, may have relationship difficulties. If couples are unwilling to compromise, money issues may divide them.

Fed up with rude behavior?

Fed up with rude behavior?

Other Relationship Topics:


Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on December 13, 2019:

Very useful article. Points well brought out. Thanks.

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on August 17, 2019:

Hi Kenneth! Good to see you again. Absolutely! We all need all the relationship help we can get. Best of luck and stay in touch.

Kenneth Avery from Hamilton, Alabama on August 09, 2019:

Tammy . . .hi, how are you up there in North Carolina? I have two cousins who reside in Woodruff, South Carolina. Just showing how small the world really is.

Okay. Back to this fantastic hub. And I mean fantastic in every aspect of the word. Marvelous research and lay-out.

You are one of my followers, but I do not know if I ever sent you a personal thank you note, and if I did not, forgive me. In the past two years, I have had several health issues that has slowed me down, but thank God, I am still rolling.

I was going to ask you if I could produce a hub similar to your subject i.e. "My Relationship is Wrecked--What Did I do?" and list a few things that the one who suffered the break-out had to say. Of course this is pure conjecture, but some might apply.

Please let me hear what you say and stay cool.

Kirimi Gertrude from Kenya on May 21, 2018:

as crazy as it is but this absolutely true, finding the right trail could be an invisible thing to most couples until it can not be rescued any more .

Marija Arsic from Serbia on May 12, 2015:

You hit the spot with this hub ! So true ! For a long time I haven`t read something like this....Great work !

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on November 01, 2013:

The Top 25 Things Sabotaging Your Relationship: Are You Contributing so well mentioned a useful and most informative hub on this topic

William Gerace from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 06, 2013:

Tammy this article is heads on. I love it and will definitely use some of these points in my relationship. I definitely see myself in some of these situations. Thanks so much for writing this. Great job as always.

Jeannie Marie from Baltimore, MD on March 05, 2013:

Excellent advice! I can honestly admit I have been known the sabotage a relationship a time or two. I need to work on some of these issues myself. Thanks for the suggestions!

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on March 05, 2013:

An extremely comprehensive & well-written hub with many valid points! I agree with all 25 points wisely stated by you. Here you spoke like a relationship expert. Way to go!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & shared

teennanna on March 01, 2013:

I am really impressed with this hub. This answered a lot of questions I had concerning my past relationships and the current one I'm in as well. I really appreciate the time and detail you put into this! This is top notch, thank you for the insights :)

MissJamieD from Minnes-O-ta on February 28, 2013:

This is a great hub, these are all things that many of us deal with at one time or another, for sure! Good job:)

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on February 05, 2013:

Thanks so much acaetnna! I appreciate your kind comment!

acaetnna from Guildford on February 05, 2013:

Wow I know I've read this brilliant hub. I thought that I had left a comment, but I clearly have not posted my comment, sorry! You covered so much here that many couples can relate to. Voting up most definitely and pressing those buttons too!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on February 02, 2013:

Thanks for reading vespawoolf. This is a tragic problem!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on February 01, 2013:

Wow, this is a daunting list of issues! All of us deal with one or more of these, so it's good to recognize where we're lacking so we can face the problems head-on. I so agree that we need to come into the relationship with our eyes wide open and a strong sense of identity. Thank you for sharing.

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 28, 2013:

Thanks so much Suzie HQ! I appreciate your visit and your kind comment.

Suzanne Ridgeway from Dublin, Ireland on January 27, 2013:

Hi Tammy,

What a great thorough list that are all so accurate inclusions! Relationships take work that's for sure and with so many possible obstacles it is a wonder they survive. Well thought out my friend in your usual style. Really enjoyed this one, VU +++++ shared on !!

Richard Ricky Hale from West Virginia on January 20, 2013:

Tammy, very interesting article. Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting. You really covered a broad subject here very well, in many areas. This is an article that can be both beneficial and healing, as well as so much more.

Sharon Smith from Northeast Ohio USA on January 15, 2013:

Well holy crap Tammy, I think you've covered it all and then some. Those who may not be in a relationship currently may be afraid to start another, hmmmm. At least until that take a close look at these important things that can definitely sabotage a relationship. I'm guilty, but not really with the top 10 nor do I lie, phew.

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 14, 2013:

You are absolutley right Kasman! Thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Kas from Bartlett, Tennessee on January 13, 2013:

Wow Tammy, talk about thought provoking. As someone who is married, I know my wife and I could learn a lot from the points here. Also, I'm sure we've stepped in some of these points at times. The key is not 50/50 in the relationship. It's 100/100. Also Jesus has a good deal to do with that as well. Great hub, voting up!

Vespa Woolf from Peru, South America on January 07, 2013:

Wow, this is really thought-provoking. All of us deal with one or more of these issues. We have to be really committed to our relationship to make it work.These are great reminders. Thanks!

Blurter of Indiscretions from Clinton CT on January 07, 2013:

This was a great list...very comprehensive and quite true too!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 07, 2013:

You make some great points Windclimber. When one person is picky about their food or only likes their own cooking, people can squabble. Thanks for stopping by!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 07, 2013:

Thanks always exploring. Thanks for reading!

DragonBallSuper on January 07, 2013:

i agree with you tammy. gteat list and how true. I experienced them once in a while.

Windclimber from my boat somewhere on the Chesapeake Bay on January 06, 2013:

Good job, Tammy! For your #1, I like how you elaborated on the money issue: it's not just the lack of it that causes strain, but also the question of what to do with any money left after getting groceries and paying rent. I've heard that the number 1 thing couples fight about is money, and number 2 is food - what to eat, who cooks, etc.

Maybe somehow, someway, we could get every high school kid in America to read this . . .

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on January 06, 2013:

I'm with Nell, being single 'ain't that bad. lol..All kidding aside, your hub is full of great ideas to improve relationships. Thank's for sharing..

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 06, 2013:

Thanks aviannovice!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 06, 2013:

Good to see you Nell Rose. Thanks for reading!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 06, 2013:

You are right Austinstar. We focus so much on changing others, we don't work enough on ourselves. Thanks for reading!

Deb Hirt from Stillwater, OK on January 06, 2013:

These are all sensible problems for relationships. You did a great job in putting all this together.

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 06, 2013:

Well Alocsin, I think the real problem would be not seeing anything about yourself in the list. Thanks for stopping by!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 06, 2013:

Whoa fpher48! You know, there is a sense of logic linking the two.. :)

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 06, 2013:

I know what you mean Sherry, I think it is mostly a female mechanism. When it is humorous I don't think it hurts, but some of us know how to use it as a weapon. Thanks so much for reading!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 06, 2013:

Thanks for reading midget! Defensiveness is a tricky factor. It can mean so many things.

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 06, 2013:

Thanks so much for your kind comment Kdeus. :)

Nell Rose from England on January 06, 2013:

Hi tammy, this covers virtually everything and is really interesting too, it just makes me glad that I am single at the moment! it really does take years sometimes to blend in with each other, but sadly its the younger ones that go through all this mainly, and that's when the trouble starts and they split up, if they can get through these then they are made for life! voted up! nell

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on January 06, 2013:

Tammy, I have bookmarked this subperb and comprehensive hub; a must-read for all. (Twenty-five goodness, no wonder there are so many divorces.) We sometimes take too much for granted in relationships, and forget that they take work. Up ++. :-)

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on January 06, 2013:

All of this is oh so true, but I see a new hub in the making on how to deal with some of these issues.

Attitudes and behaviors are some of the toughest things to change.

Aurelio Locsin from Orange County, CA on January 06, 2013:

Yikes I'm recognizing a few of my personal characteristics in this list. It's a sobering reminder that you always need to be "tuning up" your relationship. Voting this Up and Useful.

Suzie from Carson City on January 06, 2013:

Tammy...I AM celibate........oh, sorry, you said, "celebrity," didn't you.

Sherry Hewins from Sierra Foothills, CA on January 05, 2013:

I think sarcasm is my downfall. Sometimes it's good, but you have to know when to stop.

Michelle Liew from Singapore on January 05, 2013:

All these are indeed contributing factors. Especially defensiveness! All point to a lack of communication too. Thanks for sharing, Tammy! Passing this well written hub on.

Keely Deuschle from Florida on January 05, 2013:

Fantastic hub! I also agree with others who said it was one of the best I've read. Great job!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 05, 2013:

Lol Paula, I am not sure humans will ever get it through their heads. I don't think humans will get beyond their primal mindsets. I appreciate you stopping by. I love your new photo. You look like a celebrity!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 05, 2013:

Human nature is pretty gruesome sometimes! Thanks for stopping by Carol!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 05, 2013:

Thanks so much Monis Mas! I appreciate your wonderful compliment!

Suzie from Carson City on January 05, 2013:

Good Grief! Twenty-five things that can potentially sabotage a relationship??!! That many? LOL.....Of course, I'm kidding, Tammy, dear. You probably could have listed more, huh? But, I realize you went with the top 25....and the ultimate TOP TEN! Watch out for these !!

You have done a superb job presenting this interesting list of relationship dangers. You certainly covered the worst of them and explained them for ALL to understand. Bravo! Your style makes reading very enjoyable.

Just a guess here.....but I wonder how many million years it will take for human beings to GET THIS INTO THEIR HEADS??? LOL UP+++

carol stanley from Arizona on January 05, 2013:

You covered it all and all of us have been guilty a little bit of a few of these things..Temporarily of course..except the cheating and lying..That never works..There are certain issues that pop their ugly head occasionally and are the downfall of a relationship.. However with that being said you covered every aspect..Great hub..Up and a share.

Lisa from WA on January 05, 2013:

You've made a lot of great points here. I can definitely relate to a few of them myself. Great hub!

Agnes on January 05, 2013:

This is absolutely fantastic hub on relationships. One of the best I have ever read! Well researched and it keeps a reader interested!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 05, 2013:

Thanks for reading Susan!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on January 05, 2013:

I can honestly say I can see a few things here that relate to me and my other half as well. Time to get back to work on our relationship I think.

Fantastic hub!

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 05, 2013:

Thanks so much billybuc. This list doesn't include the small things such as leaving the toilet seat up, but we shouldn't sweat the small stuff. Thanks for reading my friend. :)

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on January 05, 2013:

You pretty much nailed everything with this one, Tammy! I can't think of a single thing that you missed. Well done! I think I'm okay on a personal level. :) Hopefully Bev would say the same thing. LOL

Tammy (author) from North Carolina on January 05, 2013:

Thanks! That means a great deal coming from the lovedoctor! :)

lovedoctor926 on January 05, 2013:

This is one of the best relationship hubs that I've read so far. Voting up & sharing.

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