7 Most Overlooked Relationship Killers

By Terri Orbuch, PhD

It’s been said that money and sex are the leading relationship killers. True? Perhaps.

But, like death by a thousand paper cuts, little things kill relationships, too.

For nearly three decades, I’ve had a front-row seat to thousands of relationships. My ongoing research—a long-term study funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1986—gives me the opportunity to study, closely and over time, critical patterns in marriage and divorce, romance and relationships. Today, here’s what I know for sure:

Small stuff is a big deal.7 Most Overlooked Relationship Killers_omtimes

To create a truly happy, healthy relationship, every couple, of every stripe, should take the most overlooked and under-discussed relationship killers to heart. Here are seven:

 7 Relationship Killers

 1. Skipping me-time. Among unhappy couples, more people point to a lack of privacy or time for themselves as the reason (11.5%) than they do to their sex lives (6%).

 2. Staying mum on “minor” annoyances. A lot of couples sweep little annoyances and pet peeves under the rug. Over time, though, small everyday irritations can add up and put a relationship on life support.

 3. Holding on to feelings about exes. Expending energy on a past love can be deadly. Men and women who say, “I don’t feel much of anything for my ex” are more likely to be happy in their present relationship.

 4. Keeping old secrets, even small ones. Ninety percent of people in happy relationships say they “never” feel that their partners aren’t completely truthful about their past.


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