8 difficult-to-admit reasons why your relationship isn’t working

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Is your gut feeling telling you there’s something wrong in your relationship? 

I know how hard it can be to admit that something you’ve poured so much time, energy, and emotion into isn’t working out. 

But let me make one thing clear – staying in denial will end up in heartbreak. 

Around three years into my current relationship, I was in your position. I kept hoping things would magically get better. 

It was only when I finally acknowledged the issues my partner and I were facing that we could work together to strengthen our relationship. 

We’ve been together for nearly six years now, and we’ve never been stronger. 

So, in this article, I’ll be sharing 8 difficult-to-admit reasons why your relationship isn’t working, but also how you can turn things around for the better. 

1) You’ve become roommates, not lovers

Your date nights have morphed into Netflix nights. The sparks that once flew seem like a distant memory now. And intimacy? 

It’s downgraded to pecks on the cheek. 

I’ll be honest, my partner and I fell into this trap. We even started sleeping in separate rooms due to our differences in schedules.

The scary thing about this is that it happens slowly – you don’t even realize it. But one day you wake up, and suddenly, you don’t have a partner anymore, you have a roommate. 

To turn this situation around, you can try:

  • Scheduling regular date nights that involve more than just sitting in front of the TV.
  • Prioritizing intimacy, both emotional and physical, by setting aside time to connect.
  • Experimenting with new activities that you both enjoy to reignite the spark.

Now, if you’re not spending much intimate time together, it’s likely you’ve also lost the following:

2) Emotional support? What’s that?

You used to be able to turn to your partner for everything; a bad day, an argument with your dad, or stress over a work project. 

But that’s changed, and you can’t quite pinpoint why.

Regardless of the reason, one person’s struggle shouldn’t be an eye-roll for the other. 

If anything, a partnership implies a two-way street for emotional support. 

So, when the going gets tough, if your first instinct isn’t to turn to each other, something’s definitely off. 

To improve emotional support:

  • Practice active listening when your partner talks about their day or the issues they’re facing.
  • Offer genuine support and empathy, rather than solutions, unless they specifically ask for advice.
  • Open up about your own feelings and concerns, thereby encouraging reciprocity.

3) The scorecard game

Ever heard of the saying, “Forgive and forget”? 

If you find yourselves keeping tabs on who did what and constantly dragging old fights into new ones, you’re maintaining a scorecard, not a relationship.

“Well, you forgot our anniversary last year, so don’t even think about complaining that I forgot your birthday.” 

“Since I cooked dinner three nights in a row, I think it’s only fair that you clean out the entire house.” 

Let’s be honest, this sort of tit-for-tat mentality is draining and creates resentment.

If you find yourselves keeping score:

  • Address the underlying issues directly instead of bringing up past transgressions.
  • Practice forgiveness and allow the relationship to move forward.
  • Make an effort to resolve conflicts healthily, focusing on the issue at hand.

My partner and I committed heavily to speaking up whenever something bothered us. 

We’ve found this has helped us deal with issues quicker, so there’s no need to hold on to grudges or resentment later down the line. This would massively help your relationship too. 

4) You’ve got vastly different goals

When you’re in a serious relationship, it’s not healthy to only think about the here and now. 

You also need to factor in the future. 

And if one of you dreams of backpacking through Europe while the other envisions settling down and starting a family ASAP, you’re clearly on different life paths

Now, I know what you’re thinking…

“How on earth can we work through this?”

I’ll be honest, it’s a tough one. There’s a possibility it could work if you’re both extremely committed to each other, but it will require a lot of compromise and understanding. 

If you have divergent life paths:

  • As I mentioned above, have an open conversation about your life goals and see if there’s room for compromise.
  • Evaluate the relationship’s long-term viability. Sometimes love isn’t enough if you’re headed in opposite directions.
  • If needed, consult a relationship counselor to mediate the discussion.

5) Conversations feel like interrogations

You ask about their day. They ask about yours. Yet somehow, it feels more like an obligatory rundown than genuine interest. 

Sharing should be a refuge, not a chore. 

Remember when you first met? 

How you would stay up for hours, talking about everything under the sun? 

Somewhere down the line, that slowly changed. Perhaps you both stopped making an effort, or you allowed the routines and stresses of life to get in the way. 

Ultimately, if talking to each other starts to feel like a forced activity, it could be a sign that your relationship isn’t working out

To improve communication:

  • Be genuinely interested in your partner’s day and activities. No more autopilot!
  • Create a judgment-free space for sharing thoughts and feelings.
  • Engage in deep conversations about hopes, fears, and dreams to enrich your emotional connection.

In addition to the above, my partner and I have carved out an hour or two each evening where we sit together, chat, cuddle, and just generally “be” with each other. 

It might not sound romantic to have a schedule for this, but honestly, life is busy. If it saves a relationship, it’s worth it. 

6) Your social circles are poles apart

Now, this next reason is another tricky one. 

Your friends and family don’t need to be best pals, but they shouldn’t be at odds either. If spending time with each other’s social circles feels like a burden or a chore, it’s not just awkward—it’s a sign of underlying tension. 

Relationships are integrated into wider social networks, and discomfort there often trickles down.

If social integration is an issue:

  • Make an effort to get to know each other’s friends and family better.
  • Encourage low-stakes group activities that allow everyone to get comfortable.
  • Discuss openly why there might be tension, and seek to address these issues collaboratively.

Also, be willing to compromise. 

I get along with my partner’s best friend now. But it wasn’t always like that. I try my best to be friendly, and my partner does his utmost to accommodate both our needs (mine and his best friend’s). 

7) Manipulation runs rampant

Subtle manipulation can be hard to pinpoint but it’s poisonous. 

Whether it’s guilt-tripping, emotional blackmail, or passive-aggressive behavior, manipulation erodes trust and intimacy. 

I’m not going to lead you on with false hope – if there’s deep-set toxic behavior going on, the tips below may not help you. 

That being said, my partner and I have worked on several issues, such as being passive-aggressive or keeping score, and we’ve made it to a healthier place now.

So it is possible, depending on each person’s unique situation.

To deal with manipulation:

  • Identify manipulative behaviors and address them directly.
  • Set boundaries for what you will and will not tolerate.
  • Seek professional help if manipulation turns into emotional or psychological abuse.

And ultimately, if you don’t see any real progress or change, you should consider whether this relationship is worth fighting for. 

8) Constant criticism and lack of appreciation

And finally, if you feel unappreciated and always in the wrong, this could be why your relationship isn’t working out.

Here’s the thing:

Nobody’s perfect, but constant criticism from a partner can make you feel like you’re constantly falling short. 

In a loving relationship, partners build each other up, they don’t break each other down. 

Here’s the bottom line – if compliments have become rare or non-existent, and criticism is the main language, you’ve got a problem.

To combat criticism:

  • Make an effort to acknowledge and appreciate each other’s positive qualities and actions.
  • Discuss how the criticism makes you feel and its impact on your self-esteem.
  • Replace criticism with constructive feedback, focusing on specific issues instead of personal attacks.

Final words

For most of the points I’ve mentioned above, it would be beneficial to speak to a relationship coach or therapist. 

Because some habits are just too hard to change on our own. 

This is where a professional can work with both of you to find the middle ground and see if you can salvage your relationship.

I hope that for now, the advice I’ve shared will give you a starting point. 

Kiran Athar

Kiran is a freelance writer with a degree in multimedia journalism. She enjoys exploring spirituality, psychology, and love in her writing. As she continues blazing ahead on her journey of self-discovery, she hopes to help her readers do the same. She thrives on building a sense of community and bridging the gaps between people. You can reach out to Kiran on Twitter: @KiranAthar1

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