November 22, 2022 |Gideon

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This post looks at psychologists’ top three signs of a failing relationship and what it means for you.

When couples break up, it is usually because they have endured long periods of decreasing happiness until one partner breaks and wants out.

Sometimes, it is a single event that becomes the final straw or a series of events that continue to diminish the integrity of the relationship.

You can immediately spot the signs of a failing relationship if you are observant.

This knowledge empowers you to do some damage control to save your relationship or gives you a chance to prepare for the impending end.

According to psychologists, here are the top-most signs of a failing relationship:


Sudden disrespect is one of the most prominent signs of a failing relationship.

If you and your partner have always been kind to each other, and you suddenly notice emotional outbursts or a lack of respect in everyday conversations, it is time to pay more attention to your relationship.

Disrespect can be one-sided or mutual but is often a sign of a failing relationship.

Over time, condescension finds its way in, snide comments are passed, and one partner intentionally starts doing things that do not coincide with their significant other’s values.

Signs of a Failing Relationship

How have you and your partner been treating each other?

Do you dismiss them when they try to talk to you about something?

Do you crack hurtful jokes and humiliate them in front of their friends?

Mutual respect is the foundation of any relationship.

Your relationship is doomed if you cannot respect your partner’s feelings.

In fact, disrespect is not always in the form of words.

It can also find its way into your relationship in terms of broken promises, invalidation of emotions, gaslighting, and ignored requests.

You want to hear your partner each time they talk to you rather than feel sidelined or like a burden.

Patterns of Lying

Dishonesty has many consequences that one might not see coming.

Deception often begins small – a white lie now and then to ignore a fight with your partner. However, the intensity and frequency of lies increase over time.

Have you ever experienced a moment when your partner tells you something and two and two don’t add up?

Or, have you been lying to your significant other and hiding things from them that you know they will not be okay with?

Lying does not always have to be linked to a case of infidelity.

Dishonesty can also begin by doing small things that your partner is not okay with, like staying out late with a girl who is “just a friend,” even though your partner thinks you are out with your boys.

When lies become a pattern, saving a relationship becomes harder.

Building trust in a relationship takes time, but if you find that you or your partner are lying to the other repeatedly and cannot seem to trust each other with the truth, you have a more significant issue to deal with.

Signs of a Failing Relationship

Are you lying to your partner because you are scared of their anger?

Is it because you are genuinely doing something wrong but don’t respect your partner enough to stop?

Whatever the reason behind the dishonesty is, it needs to be addressed immediately.

Over time, dishonesty can also lead to loads of mistrust, making a relationship more toxic than it already is.

For example, second-guessing your partner’s intentions becomes the norm, where you either start investigating and double-checking their every move or become indifferent to them and start leading a life outside your relationship.

Loss of Intimacy

Another significant sign of a failing relationship is the loss of emotional and physical intimacy.

When a relationship is falling apart, individuals tend to feel no longer close to each other.

What was once a romantic bond filled with laughter, love, and cherished memories starts to become a toxic relationship where neither partner cares, creating a pathway to a breakup.

Even if communication is still there, you will feel like your partner is distanced and not present in the conversation.

You might brush this off as a one-time instance and blame it on a bad day at work, but if this is always the case, you need to address it as soon as possible.

When there is a loss of emotional intimacy, either partner may feel uncomfortable sharing their thoughts and emotions with the other.

After all, a failing relationship is never a safe space for rawness.

Over time, either or both partners start to lead lives that neither is aware of.

Shared experiences start to falter rapidly till you cannot think of the last time you felt happy together.

A lack of sexual intimacy is another sign of a failing relationship.

When there is a lack of emotional intimacy, it affects physical intimacy as well.

Both these kinds of intimacies are incredibly vital for a healthy relationship.

When affection and sex are absent, a couple will often start to drift apart.

Signs of a Failing Relationship

If you notice that your partner does not want to touch you or zones out easily when you are trying to initiate sex, it is probably a sign that your relationship is failing, and it requires your urgent attention.

Remember that it is always not only about sex- hugs, pats, caresses, and kisses also fall into physical intimacy.

When a relationship is failing, these small moments of love and affection start to disappear. In fact, sometimes, you may not even notice it.

It could start with your partner not kissing you each time he leaves for work or not holding your hand in public.

Initially, you might dismiss it, but over time, these small patterns build up until physical intimacy reaches a standstill.


A failing relationship is not always doomed. If you catch the signs early on, you have a higher chance of turning things around.

However, it is essential to intervene soon as you see any signs of a failing relationship. Do not wait too long, as you could lose the person you love and be left with regrets for the rest of your life.

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About the author


Gideon is the creator of, a popular relationship blog that ranks among the top 50 relationship blogs in 2024. The website helps couples to create happier, healthier, and more intimate relationships. Gideon is a trained professional counsellor and holds post-graduate degrees in Theology and Psychology. His articles have also been featured on respected platforms such as and The Good Men Project.

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